What makes a great teacher? Part 1

In the first part of a bumper two-part post we look at some of the things that a great teacher does, and courses you can take to develop your teaching skills.

In the first part of a bumper two-part post, we look at some of the things that a great teacher does, and courses you can take to develop your teaching skills.

A great teacher…makes every subject interesting

What makes a great teacher futurelearn 1

Keeping students involved and excited in what they’re learning can be difficult if the subject is complex or takes a student out of their comfort zone. Great teachers can turn even the most tricky subjects into engaging lessons that keep students motivated.

Transform PE lessons
Join the course Outstanding Physical Education Lessons

Help students fall in love with languages
 Join the course Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching

Make learning English easy
 Join the flexible program of courses Teaching for Success: Practices for English Language Teaching


A great teacher…uses creativity

What makes a great teacher futurelearn 2

The same old routines day in and day out can make school stale quickly. A great teacher can get creative with lessons to capture attention and help students rekindle their interest.

Learn how transform lessons
Join the course Filmmaking and Animation in the Classroom

Or you could try blended learning or explore topics like royal food, Hong Kong, Richard III or robots with your students.


A great teacher…gives everyone the chance to learn

What makes a great teacher futurelearn 3

Ensuring all young people have the chance to get an education is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2017. A great teacher works to ensure every person in their class has the chance to learn and creates an inclusive environment so no one misses out.

Learn how to help students with disabilities
Join the course Education for All

Learn how to help students with dyslexia
Join the course Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching

Learn how to help students with autism
Join the course Understanding Autism


A great teacher…knows how to manage behaviour

What makes a great teacher futurelearn 4

One disruptive student can stop a whole class learning. Great teachers know how to effectively use discipline to keep the classroom under control while still giving students freedom to learn.

Master classroom discipline
Join the course Managing Behaviour for Learning


A great teacher…is also a student

What makes a great teacher futurelearn 5

Keeping up your own learning whilst teaching is a challenge. That’s why FutureLearn courses are made up of bite-sized chunks of learning, so you can fit them around your timetable. Whether you want to develop a new skill or brush up on an old one, we might have something to help.

Improve your English
Join the course Teaching Your Subject in English

Learn about developing rigorous assessments
Join the course Designing Assessments to Measure Student Outcomes

Learn more about pursuing professional development
Join the course Becoming a Better Teacher: Exploring Professional Development


Not found a course for you? See all our teaching courses.

What do you think makes a good teacher? Let us know in the comments!

Category Teaching

Comments (146)

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  • Faith

    A great teacher is one who really LISTENS to children and really understands what children can do, not what they can’t do. A great teacher supports all children to be confident, resilient, creative learners by learning alongside them and really tuning into the children’s intrinsic interests and wondering together.

  • AYOKU Usman BOLAJI

    A great teacher must have passion for teaching and research in other to eliminate outdated ideas, thinking and methodologies in the process of imparting knowledge.

  • David Fernando

    A great teacher is the one that knows he doesn’t know everything and can learn with his/her learners or students.

  • huda

    agood teacher who is creative n inspire the students .make his/her students loves learning

    • Teresa Wang

      Yes. Love learning is the beginning of learning how to learn.

  • Juani García Bonillo

    A god teacher is some one who cares for their students. ..a good teacher is some one who can reach a student’s soul.

    • Juani García Bonillo

      Someone. ..corrector has it’s own mind!

    • Teresa Wang

      Yes.
      I am so lucky that I met several great teachers in my life, they really reached my soul and always live in my heart. They were/are using their life teaching me.
      Teaching is not limilited in schools or universities/insititutes. As well as learning.

  • Emily

    For me, a good teacher is a person can make students feel that everyday they go to school is a happiness

    • Teresa Wang

      I used to have the same thought as you.
      I used to think that peope who can go to the top universities are so lucky, I use to think the best thing of the world is to travel around the world and learning in one or several favourite univerties as long as you like. But learning is not always happy, sometimes it is suffering, or, torture.

  • Arowoile Olufunlola

    Leave a comment…A good teacher should have a passion for teaching. A good teacher should be able to manage behavior, be a learner and make sure that no child is left behind, because every child is unique and important.

    • Teresa Wang

      To manage behavour is very important. the circumstance of the classroom might be easily destroied by bad or unproper behavour. Sometimes teaching is tough.

  • henrietta

    A good teacher should encourage and boost the morals of students. Making every subject interesting and enjoying one.

    • Teresa Wang

      Good teachers have high moral standards in their heart and mind. They influence students instead of teaching.

  • Mathipurani

    A good teacher should inspire the students to learn and teach with more interactive pedagogy.
    Should be positive and enthusiastic, but at the same time ensure greater discipline for their personal and career progress

    • Teresa Wang

      Self-discipline is important for all jobs and careers. So it is definitely an important request for teachers themselves, for their students might work for different fields after they leave school.

  • tehsin

    live in the subject you teach.b humorous.change the method of teaching according to your class students.go with the flow.

  • tella musa Owolabi

    Leave a comment…a great teacher must be inclusive, all encompassing, allowed learner
    participation, ie learner centerd ‘”. a great must when and how
    to execute reinforcement both negative and positive

  • Patrick N.morris

    Leave a comment…a good teacher is one that has the passion to learn and teach.

  • Patrick N.morris

    Leave a comment…a good teacher reads all the time

  • Isaac Wajntraub

    A good teacher must enjoy teaching. Teaching should be a kind of a hobby. Teachers’ satisfaction should result in students’ satisfaction. A good teacher must prepare lessons very carefully and foresee students’ doubts or questions. A good teacher must be a good listener, not only to pay attention to students’ doubts or difficulties, but also to pay attention to their personal problems, which, certainly, affect their studies. A good teacher must be patient and punctual. Students’ are influenced by their teachers’ behaviour. Last, but not least, a good teacher must be updated on new trends and theories and be open to suggestions.

    • Teresa Wang

      ‘Teachers’ satisfaction should result in students’ satisfaction.’
      Can’t agree more. The work is meaningless if students couldn’t get progress in the class.

      • joseph sandamira

        Indeed each learner has to be given an opportunity to learn regardless to what they have….

        • joseph sandamira

          regardless of what they have