SIX INDICATORS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE TEACHING:  Updating Qualities of Effective Teachers


[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Mary Ann Johnson



In the latest edition of The Qualities of Effective Teachers, this expanded 3rd Edition, by James Stronge, affirms the special value of an exceptionally effective teacher.  The dimensions he adds to his research shows what is needed to teach at risk students and high ability students (or students who are both), and the realities of 21st Century teaching, with uses and abuses of technology.

In this course you will learn the six vital indicators of effective teaching  which will give you the ability to orchestrate a vibrant learning environment that will delight your students.  You will also find resources for self-examination and formal evaluations and become aware of red flags, as something now required in many state requirements for Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

This course is appropriate for teachers K-12 and administrators, and would be beneficial in a group collaboration setting.  Course text is approximately $29 from Amazon.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

1.  Information to validate their own personal and professional strengths and goals.
2.  Timely information about the special qualities that help students at-risk and or high ability students.
3.  A summary understanding of both positive qualities and red flags in key subject areas.
4.  A powerful resource for ongoing inspiration and goal-setting.
5.  Checklists of the qualities for informal or formal assessment on a 5-part matrix. 

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Qualities of Effective Teachers, 3rd Edition, by James H. Stronge  is a 348 page, 7" x 9" paperback book, copyright 2018 by ASCD, ISBN 978-1-4166-25 86-5.  You will read assigned sections of the book, and complete the written responses you have selected, as you go.  

None. All reading is online.


Text book available at Amazon, used for approximately $29.



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: From Part 1:  Chapter 1:  An Introduction

There are 7 highlighted topics in this section., including 3 relating to At-Risk and High Ability-Students.   In a 2-3 page paper, select one key sentence or idea from each, elaborate on why it is important to you, and add one additional idea that you found most surprising or important in this chapter.

Assignment #2: From Chapter 2:  Professional Knowledge

Searching through this chapter about the four major components of "professional knowledge," what aspects of teacher knowledge, in your opinion, describe your own strong areas and what would you like to add to your own professional knowledge?  Respond in a 2-3 page pager. (We are not looking at deficits, just a self-assessment of current interest in knowledge development.)

Assignment #3: From Chapter 3:  Instructional Planning

There are many aspects of good Instructional Planning in this chapter.  Go through this chapter and collect what you believe are the 6 most important factors that describe your own beliefs and practices of what good planning entails.  In a 2-3 page paper, explain why they the most important to you?

Assignment #4: From Chapter 4:  Instructional Delivery

In the 9 factors described in this chapter, (use the Checklists for them at the end of the chapter), pick three that you think make the most difference in your own teaching experience (or if you are not currently teaching, what do you believe would make the most difference?)
While all of these factors are important, in a 2-3 page paper, tell why you have found these three to be so important in getting good results.  What changes did you have to make, or skills did you have to acquire, to be more effective?

Assignment #5: From Chapter 5:  Assessment

In this chapter there are four kinds of assessment purpose mentioned, including pre-assessment, formative assessment, summative assessment, and student or teacher self-assessment.  From all the tips on preparing these assessment experiences, write your own set of "10 Tips for Creating Effective Assessments," including something about each of the 4 kinds of assessments.


Using the information in this chapter, in a 2-3 page paper, describe how you have changed your own beliefs or practices about assessments in your career to be more like what the research shows is best practice.

Assignment #6: From Chapter 6:  Learning Environment

What are the differences between classroom management and student discipline?  From the information in this chapter, write out suggestions to mentor a teacher who is somewhat disorganized, unpredictable, overly-controlling and/or focused only on curricula coverage.  What would be your first priorities and how would you help this teacher? 2-3 page paper minimum.

Assignment #7: From Professionalism

The range of aspects of effective professionalism includes seven areas, some more associated with personal attributes than the usual list of professional practices.  Pick three areas that were most important in this chapter, define them and explain why you found them especially important.
What characteristics of professionalism were considered important for teachers of at-risk, high ability or 20th Century teachers?   Write a 2-3 page response.

Assignment #8: From Chapter 8:  Effective Teaching:  What Does It All Mean?

Some things about the qualities of effective teachers are universal across time.  Some require the acquisition of new skills because of student needs in the 21st Century.  In your view, how and why do some qualities of effective teaching stay the same across time? And how has the instruction you received as a K-12 teacher changed because of the new world of research and culture?

Assignment #9: Review Questions

Looking back at the information about asking questions in Chapter 4, find the answers to the following True/False Questions about using questions effectively:

  1.   T/F Questions should be prepared in advance to fit the goals and levels of difficulty in the lesson.
  2.   T/F Questions that are sequential are too boring.
  3.   T/F All student responses, whether correct or incorrect, are valuable.
  4.   T/F Enough wait time helps both teacher questioning and student-to-student interaction.
  5.    T/F While quality questioning can improve student thinking, it has limited value in increasing 
      teacher assessment of students.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #10: 400 Level - Section I: Teacher Skills Assessment Checklists

If you are doing the 400 oor 500 level course, choose two of the following assignments:

Part A:  Evaluating the "big picture" through the Checklists:  

  1. What are the 5 levels, or "Keys" to the observer's assessment of teaching ability on the Checklists?
  2. Do you like these labels and their descriptors?  Are there any descriptors you'd use instead? (Note the exception made on pp 264 & 265 for "Experience.")
  3. Could an evaluator use all the checklists in an observation visit?  Why or why not?  What might determine the checklist(s) used for an observation?
  4. What advice would you have for an observer in making use of the Checklist?

Part B: Prepare a tribute to a teacher who you believe is a highly effective teacher.  Using focuses in the book and on the checklists, in a paper of at least 3 pages, create a description of that colleague or former teacher, make a copy for this assignment, and, hopefully, make a copy for the teacher you are featuring. 

Part C: , Reflect on what aspects of your  teaching you would change as a result of taking this course.

Assignment #11: 400 Level

In addition to the 400 level assignments in Assignment #10, for 400 and/or 500 level credit,, also complete one (1) of the following assignment options.

Option A)
Create an annotated bibliography of five books or articles related to the subject of effective teaching or any of the topics in the book.  The annotation should include Title, author, publisher (or URL), length of the book or article, the new information you found there, if any, your opinion of the value or your criticism of the contents of each book or article, and rate the importance of the material in relation to the subject of this course.

Option B)
Write a paper in defense for or against these statements: Explain why you agree or disagree with both of the following two statements:  (There is no preferred answer.)

  1. This book should be required text for pre-service (student) teachers 
  2. This is a book that should be required reading for ALL teachers. 

Option C):
Another assignment of your own choice with the instructor’s prior approval.

Assignment #12: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one (1) of the following assignment options:

Option A)
You have a colleague who may be interested in knowing succinctly if you thought this book was a worthwhile resource.  Write, make a graphic organizer, a brochure, a Power Point, or some interesting way to pique their interest and give some important glimpse of what they might want to know.  Add your opinion of its importance. W.
Option B)
Write a  letter to the author about the value of this book to you personally and professionally.
Option C):
Another assignment of your own choice with the instructor’s prior approval.


Assignment #13: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Mary Ann Johnson, M.Ed Adm. has worked with students of all levels, from alternative high school to gifted classes. She has also been a junior high vice principal and is now working with teachers for continuing education in classes, distance learning and building leadership groups. She is a teacher emeritus who has led seminars for educators which focus on developing a quality learner environment for students and for teachers. Her courses are research-based and resonate with user-friendly and energizing content.


SIX INDICATORS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE TEACHING:  Updating Qualities of Effective Teachers

Alvy, Harvey & Robbins, Pam, Learning from Lincoln, Leadership Practices for School Success, ASCD 2010, pb, 192 pages, ISBN  978-1-4-166-102306. In a fascinating focus on ten qualities of Abraham Lincoln that would grace any leader, but especially a leader of a public service vocation, Alvy and Robbins bring anchor stories of Lincoln's key moments and decisions that inform and inspire anyone working to lead and improve the quality of life for others in his/her domain.  Primary source examples of Lincoln's personal trials and his compassion lead to personal reflections for the reader to consider in their own Leadership Story.  This is a powerful review of American history that leads to a personal exploration of one's own leadership style.

Erwin, Jonathan, Inspiring the Best in Students, pb, 210 pages, ASCD, 2010, ISBN-10: 14166 09792When you wonder what would be the greatest gift you could give your students, it would probably be the skills of social and emotional development, and in a classroom, it would include helping students meet their most basic needs.  Both are the focuses of this book.  The intrinsic needs defined as Choice Theory by William Glasser include survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.  Erwin translates that information into special lesson plans to teach student how to enjoy feeling good and emotionally safe, having friends and feeling accepted, feeling a sense of competence and importance. experiencing independence and being able to laugh and play.  The teaching strategies are specific and will guide you to the joy of teaching what really matters to students.

Gruenert, Steve & Whitaker, Todd.  School Culture Rewired:  How to Define, Assess, and Transform It, pb, 175 pages, ASCD, 2015.  The hardest  job for most administrators is to deal with a school culture that is not healthy.  In the process, there can be disappointment for leaders in managing the course corrections.  But with the directions given leaders in this book, there are many insights to avoid likely pitfalls and to point out a wide range of leverage points when changes are most easily made.  The book is encouraging and realistic  as a guide for the difficult job of requiring a school's negative culture without causing career and personal pain.

Whitaker, Todd, What Great Teachers Do Differently, 17 Things That Matter Most, 2nd Ed 6" x9," 126 pages, Eye on Education, 2012, ISBN 13-978-1-59667-199-7.  The author, a very popular and respected presenter and author, has added 3 more tips on what great teachers do from the first edition of the book.  He has participated in 9 research studies to prepare for this book, and his style is highly readable, practical, and fascinating.  His chapter titles include topics like these: ""The Ability to Ignore," "Random or Plandom?" "It's People, Not Programs."  There is a Study Guide available from the publisher as well.