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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.

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

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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 (28)

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  • Angela Luchini

    A great teacher never stop Learning

  • maria indelicato

    teaching is a wonderful thing.
    you must love it,must be prepared, you must be always ready to change your beliefs and never be tired to find new approaches
    don’t give recipes but paths.

  • Iman Jandali

    Infront of all people, at the happiest time of his life, the time when he received his certificate,he said ; I grant this success to the greatest teacher I have ever met , to the person who has opened the doors widely infront of me to know where is my destination, to the leader who has guided my steps to the first ladder of success, without her I was not be able to write a well organized plan of my life, without her I will not learn how to be a human being . Every lesson was a an experiment of how to conduct in my life in a stormy night or in a nice day. She was like a star which lights my road to be the change she wanted to see in the world. I will immortalize her noble message through my conducts,where acts speak louder than speech.I will do my best to be like her a successful man in every field of his life. Reading this Text in the newspaper let me understand the role of great teacher ,when we pick up the fruit of the seeds she has planted.

  • Divya

    A teacher who keeps her door open to her quest of learning

  • Salma Begum

    A great teacher make him/her available to his/her students and s/he motivates them to have high expectations and teaches them as their learning demand !

  • Cinta Perdigones Tornero

    I think a great Teacher means lots of things : enthusiasm for teaching , confidence,
    commitment , to be fascinated by what you do . I think being a Teacher , is one of
    the most rewarding options in the world . As Education is the basis of everything else,, a great Teacher may contribute to society in many aspects . I have the extraordinary example of my father , who has been a Mathematics Teacher for more
    than thirty years . For me , he represents what makes a geat Teacher . He has always been a responsible person . He has spent half of his life studying at home,
    when he finished his classes . He also studied Physics , and he is in love with stars
    the moon . He has inculcated me the enthusiasm for learning . Apart from being an
    astrophysicist , he likes classical music , such as Verdi . On the whole , he represents
    what makes a great Teacher for me .