Singapore Report of Educator Effectiveness

Finding Shared Teaching Values

Singapore’s educational performance is widely regarded as one of the most successful in the world. But, recent educational reforms have strived to move to a more “student-centered, values-centric” education with a focus on holistic education, including moral development and citizenship.

With an increased focus on improving the quality of the teaching workforce, identifying the qualities of an effective teacher, and the accompanying competencies required, is a critical first step.

What does it mean to be an effective teacher? Pearson asked students, parents, teachers, principals, policymakers and education researchers in Singapore what they thought.

Top 10 most important qualities of teachers in Singapore:

  1. Ability to Develop Trusting, Productive Relationships
  2. Knowledge of Learners
  3. Dedication to Teaching
  4. Ability to Engage Students in Learning
  5. Patient, Caring and Kind Personality
  6. Managing the Classroom and Learning Environment
  7. Professionalism
  8. Subject Matter Knowledge
  9. Making Ideas, Content Clear
  10. Teaching Skills

Student-Teacher Relationships Matter Most

We found remarkable consistency in how the groups of surveyed stakeholders responded. Nine of the Top 10 most frequent responses for each group of stakeholders were shared by all groups.

All stakeholders most frequently cited qualities about the teacher’s disposition—being able to build relationships with students—as what makes an effective teacher. The greater emphasis placed on teacher dispositions such as relatedness, caring and kindness, reflect a strong focus on the dispositions required for effective teaching.

What surprised us is that few education professionals, like teachers and principals, cited factors that are well-known to make teachers effective.

Embedding Dispositions in Policy and Training

Given the emphasis among all stakeholder groups, it may be that teacher preparation and training initiatives should emphasize the development and foster these critical dispositions of care and character. Research demonstrates that teachers can improve in these areas through careful and purposeful training programs.

By focusing on improving the social relationship that is at the heart of student learning, it should lead to improvements in a wide range of student outcomes in schools.