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GT - The Exceptional Teacher

Characteristics & practices of the very best!

About the Course

Are you possibly Ireland’s greatest teacher?

Would you like to know some of the thought processes, principles and practices of the very best? 

In this course, we present, detail and explore the characteristics and practices which point to a teacher being on the exceptional scale.

On each metric, you can ask yourself, is this me?



The online format of this course enables you to study at a time and place that best suits your own needs. 

You can access your course anytime until April 17th 2020.

Within this highly interactive web based course, a dynamic learning experience awaits, where you can interact with your fellow course participants through the in-course chat forums and communication tools provided by the CPD College learning system. 

Our friendly and knowledgeable tutors actively support each course, providing expert interaction, guidance and feedback for all participants on chat questions and assignments which call for critical reflection, self-analysis and a reasoned response. 

On successful completion of your course, you can download and print off your CPD record and certificate of completion.

We look forward to welcoming you to your course.

Learning outcomes

This course aims to:

  • Set out the suite of general characteristics & dispositions, skills & practices, possessed of and deployed by the most effective teachers on a daily basis.
  • Equip all with the knowledge, understandings, skills and tips with which to both refine and empower their own teaching.
  • Familiarise teachers with the strategies and techniques which the most successful teachers consistently use.
  • Underscore the essential pre-requisite of quality planning, preparation and effective organisation for teaching, followed by regular assessment and reflection to determine learning.
  • Describe and illustrate the ‘dialogic teaching approach’, quality questioning techniques and other productive practices
  • Have teachers consider and reflect on a range of evidence based attributes, skills & high yield practices, particularly in relation to mathematics and literacy.
  • Provide a selection of research papers / readings on aspects of what great teachers consistently do; from which ideas and practices can be extrapolated and implemented.
  • Itemise some digital tools and software that can enhance teaching and learning in mathematics and literacy.
  • Look at, review and score one’s own ‘Teacher Practice in Literacy’ as part of the SSE 2016-2020 process.


01 - We look at the characteristics and dispositions of outstandingly effective teachers; they energise the day’s work, they surprise, they find the worth in every child and tap and grow that worth; they set high expectations, encourage, cajole and demand high standards; they unlock and unleash each child’s potential. They build, value and nurture positive classroom relationships, tapping into techniques and strategies to motivate pupils to learn and succeed. Great teachers do many things well, before ever turning their talent to the curriculum.
02 - In order for effective teaching and learning to take place the teacher must do many things well e.g. be fully prepared, have the classroom well organised, prepare resources ahead of time, produce strong lesson plans that have an inbuilt assessment for learning format, be proactive, inspiring, compassionate, caring and more. All this and a consistent focus on high-quality instruction.
03 - Teachers know the centrality of language, talk and discussion to their everyday classrooms, but we now must recast this talk into dialogues, a ‘dialogic teaching’ approach. We need to make even greater use of the productive practices of the best teachers that research has shown to be effective e.g. quality questioning techniques, foster higher order thinking skills, focus on Project Based Learning and Problem Based Learning etc.
04 - We look at what effective mathematics practice looks like and detail the successful practices of countries like Singapore who are atop the Pisa performance tables e.g. strategies and approaches that encompass the powerful ‘Bar Model’ method, the ‘Concrete Pictorial Abstract’ approach, quality maths questioning techniques and conclude with a suite of quality problem solving strategies. Along the way, we emphasise that mathematical concepts can be made more understandable when good software/technology makes them more explicit. 
05 - The most powerful improvement tool for either teacher or student, is the tool and process that is ‘self-reflection’. When teachers take time to pause and reflect, then they can identify areas for improvement and put strategies and actions in place to drive improvement e.g. in literacy teaching. It is through good regular assessment of and for learning, followed by reflection, that we know how well we are doing – both teacher and student alike.

"I felt the course was well presented with specific learning goals for each module. It will be extremely beneficial for improving my teaching going forward. I have a lot to improve on but at least there are steps to follow!" - Maria, 2018