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What makes a good teacher great? | Azul Terronez | TEDxSantoDomingo

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I've been asking the question: What makes a good teacher great? for 24 years. I have collected 26,000 responses from 8 different schools and patterns have emerged. For the last 24 years, he has repeatedly asked students the same question, "What makes a good teacher great?" Azul Terronez is the author of the best-selling book "The art of Apprenticeship" Azul has coached teachers and schools leaders around the world in Spain, Chile, Canada, India, United States and China and he is currently serves as a teacher coach at Shanghai American School. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
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Text Comments (638)
Davit Tskhomelidze (4 days ago)
What is very strange for this one it better if youhad problem to understand something and much more accidents about it
Sir Domz Domingo (5 days ago)
Wow,..its was so inspiring to be a teacher.
Brown Brown (6 days ago)
I have about 1year and a half before I become a teacher. My desire is to gain as much knowledge and skills to be the best that I can be. This video is very helpful, thank you!
Cikgu Bagus (10 days ago)
Good teachers will be remembered by students throughout their lives.
Roberto Baeza (10 days ago)
I had huge hopes for this Talk but it left me feeling a bit wanting more. The Talk felt more like a textbook on what makes a great teacher rather than a convincing expose of someone's actual experiences. I mean no disrespect as it perhaps is my inability to connect with the speaker but what I have shared are my initial reactions to this TED TALK.
Nick Miceli (12 days ago)
very superficial and uninformative
Nosy Rosie (12 days ago)
Lol. UN Latino thinks the students statement meant for him to sing and entertain the children.
Nosy Rosie (12 days ago)
Singing is how they learn to speak, and to learn new words.
Nosy Rosie (12 days ago)
Only an A
Nosy Rosie (12 days ago)
Huh? Teachers learn to teach.
Nosy Rosie (12 days ago)
The behavior of the teacher influences the child. That's why adults are bad to students, to UN influence child the behavior to be bad, and that's why those bad teacher's are removed, Latina.
Nosy Rosie (12 days ago)
My answer: being able to listen to students, shoe them respect, and teach and write for them to understand what is taught for them to learn.
Philip Buckley (15 days ago)
Montessori School system...
siti Naj (15 days ago)
A great one Azul!! 👍🏻
Azul Terronez (12 days ago)
Thank you Siti
Kim Katia yesung (15 days ago)
Wow i have been fired because i was a great teacher
Katerina Mast (16 days ago)
wtf ... he is so young and has grown up children .. Am I the only one shooked by that fact?!
W Ghost (16 days ago)
Agreed and Respect
Ara Santos (19 days ago)
I love teachers, i look up to them a lot. True passion for teaching is the thing that makes a teacher great. Atleast in my opinion. :)
Shinelle Vincent (24 days ago)
I am a prospective student teacher in the Caribbean....this is very informative and a great starting point for me personally.....thank you
Azul Terronez (21 days ago)
Shinelle so glad to hear you want to start a teaching career!
Why I didn't have such great teachers like you!!! Thanks!!! I even cried listening to you! God bless you!!!
Azul Terronez (1 month ago)
Thank you for the kind words. I hope more teachers are inspired to listen to server students like you.
iki (1 month ago)
honestly i'm not over reacting when i say that listening to some teachers can feel like straight up bullying and they just make you feel bad about yourself and like a disappointment or something like that
Azul Terronez (1 month ago)
I am so sorry that you have this experience. What do you think would make a good teacher great?
Rehannad Samara (1 month ago)
I love everything you said, l wish l could just put my ego aside and try to listen when they misbehave , that it has nothing to do with Me, its them trying to tell me something!
Azul Terronez (1 month ago)
That's a very good insight on your part. I know that this is one of the most difficult jobs there is and your willingness to listen is fantastic.
9 RedPanda (1 month ago)
I am a seventh grader. One day my class was writing poems. My classmate wrote one that compared school to a jail. He said that the teachers were like officers and the set schedules were like jail schedules. But I do not agree. Teachers can bring many opportunities to students. I believe that a great teacher appreciates the students abilities. I also believe that students should appreciate their teachers. but we aren't taught to appreciate our teachers like we appreciate our Presidents, persay. Maybe if we were taught to appreciate our teachers almost like presidents, we ,as students, can learn to understand teachers better since the presidents learned everything from some sort of a teacher.
Daniel Nyadanu (1 month ago)
Wow. great presentation on what makes a good teacher. I like the aspect great teachers chill. Need to take it easy.
hi (1 month ago)
hi (1 month ago)
I love this. With every bit of me. You know exactly what teachers should be like.
Princess Merida (1 month ago)
Mr.Terronez You were right about singing because I am a teacher and when I start singing my first grade students smile and look happily at me. They try to sing after me
Azul Terronez (1 month ago)
So glad to hear that you connected with your students!
Salwa Abuzeid. (1 month ago)
So touching! :)
Jackie Zou (2 months ago)
Jeez I wish some of my teachers would watch and take this seriously
antidepressant11 (2 months ago)
If I was a high school teacher I might tell them this secret. Your academic success is only a small part of life. Sure if you're smart enough you can go on and be a doctor or lawyer. But if you don't have other qualities that are more important like compassion and pragmatic skill, you will fail. So my job as a teacher is to help you with your academic success but not obsess over it. Im here to help you with being a better person, a decent human being with integrity. Im here to help you think outside the square sometimes. Im here to help you problem solve. To use your brain in different ways. To teach you not to give up easily. To learn how to stand up for yourself, assert yourself but also compromise with others. Im here to help you learn how to accept yourself and others.
antidepressant11 (2 months ago)
I ate apples and I was an awful teacher.
Azul Terronez (2 months ago)
It's not eating apples that are the chore but listening.
estivy monroe (2 months ago)
A great speech!!!
james jane (2 months ago)
What is this?
poetic instinct (2 months ago)
Great teaching knowledge friend thanks and take care, epic videos ted!!!
Azul Terronez (2 months ago)
Thank you!
Ahad Moeen (2 months ago)
I am in grade 7 and for me a great teacher is someone who pays attention in class. We students are much familiar with the phrase "PAY ATTENTION TO THE TEACHER" or "PAY ATTENTION IN CLASS" but a teacher should also be a person to pay attention in class, by this I don't mean that he has to keep his phone turned off at all times but it is that he has to ensure the student's learning, make a relationship with them which should be no more than a teacher-student relationship and not to make school a nightmare for them that they want to end it at any time.
Syed Shahid (18 days ago)
+Azul Terronez Not a nightmare he is asking u to be a clown do hehe haha
Syed Shahid (18 days ago)
+Azul Terronez U hvnt understood it in 1400 hundred years how I may school u in 14 seconds, teachers teach and students strive to learn that's it. This relation term has made today's teachers only company's facilitators, forget the word teacher now it's a bygone.
Mahnoor Awan (18 days ago)
Oye hoyye beta 😍
Azul Terronez (30 days ago)
+Syed Shahid What does this comment have to do with listening to students?
Syed Shahid (1 month ago)
Ask ur father , mother to build relationships with u
vaishali bharate (2 months ago)
very helpful
Geraldo GCR (2 months ago)
Me arruma um green card
Lam Nguyen (2 months ago)
Thanks so much for your video!
karannmite (2 months ago)
one of the beest ted talks i have ever heard,this is surely going to make me a better teacher....because from now i shall be listening more to their anger,frustaation,disagreement and crticism
workman hvacr (2 months ago)
Danny Hauger (2 months ago)
personally feel that a teacher's inspiration and passion is an important driving factor and how engage the students are and I started a podcast about it
Azul Terronez (2 months ago)
awesome Danny, what's your podcast?
법치서 (2 months ago)
I watched this show because of my English homework. I am not expected, but really really interesting opinion I think
Rina Lola (3 months ago)
I loooove the example with the bike❤️ so true!
Maria Velasquez (3 months ago)
Thank you for such an amazing speech! I totally agree.I have seen many teachers who want the kids to listen to what they have to say, yet they don’t have the time to listen to them or to even care about who the students are. I believe that if we get to know the children, we will learn what motivates them, what necessities they have, what their styles of learning are, etc . If we get to truly know them, we would more likely be able to meet their needs and they will actually not just learn, but become excited about learning, which I believe is the real point of school. Life is a learning journey. If we love to learn, no matter what we face in life, we will be motivated to keep learning. learning about life as a whole, helps us to discover how to solve problems and other things, to face obstacles, to understand ourselves and others, to reach our goals, and much more!
Azul Terronez (2 months ago)
Maria, thanks for the wonderful post. This is so true!
Madeha Akhter (3 months ago)
tbh , im a student and i feel like i had my teacher tell me that they didnt know what we where doing, it would just stress me out and feel like i have to teach myself.
Azul Terronez (3 months ago)
Solving complex problems that are in the world that do not have direct answers always have at their core a certain amount of uncertainty. If we could solve these problems with the answers, we would have done so already. You can choose to learn whenever you choose to, you are always the only one able to learn.
Great Ehien (3 months ago)
the dislikes are the teachers
Darlene Cartile (3 months ago)
This inspires me to be a teacher and to make the lives of kids in school more enjoyable an FUN!
Azul Terronez (3 months ago)
I am glad it inspires you.
Gérard Lefrançois (3 months ago)
A great learner is a great teacher as a great teacher is a great learner.
Gérard Lefrançois (3 months ago)
To teach is to learn as to learn is to teach. TEACHING/LEARNING. We only learn what we teach as we only teach what we learn..
future teacher (3 months ago)
iam going to become a teacher of english after three years and iam watching these videos to become a great teacher to my students
LC4u2 (3 months ago)
Not just for teachers but for people in general. Listen. I have a three year old daughter and a one year old son. Ever since I started teaching my daughter things I believe she should know, I've always told her to listen. It's one of the most important thing I told her to remember and that is to be a good listener.
babsywoman (3 months ago)
I am a teacher in Belgium. Thank you for your motivating speach. I cant wait to get to school tomorrow. But just so you know: we teach listening in Belgium. For example targeted listening.
rmbrugge (1 month ago)
That is fantastic
Marianne Wilson (3 months ago)
Montessori does everything you just chatted about...I wish we could bring it to public education.
Azul Terronez (3 months ago)
What do you mean, how do they do this exactly? I am thrilled that you listened.
Koketso Boshego (3 months ago)
thank you sir
kristi Perkins (3 months ago)
Awesome! I always ask the students to challenge me on math problems. I will work them out right along with them. Also, I sing all the time, and it is a great attention grabber. This is a great video I am going to share it with peers. Thank you
Azul Terronez (3 months ago)
Thank you Kristi. Keep singing!
Rifa Mahmood (3 months ago)
That's wonderful I really appreciate your kind effort
Victoria Dounis (3 months ago)
Child's life is like a piece of paper on which every passer by writes their name on it ... 26 years teaching primary school aged learners ...empowered by trusting interconnected relationships ...
Saliha Sisi (3 months ago)
We can day that A good teacher is a good actor .the Teacher tries to imagine his/her class as a theater stage he/she tries to perform in front of the learners.
xiao quing (3 months ago)
This is exactly how I also learned to ride a bike.
xiao quing (1 month ago)
+Derrick B yes, you are right . It's a great lesson. We fell and get up. This is how we grow.
Derrick B (1 month ago)
xiao quing me too! I didn’t realize my mom let go until i was doing it on my own for a little suspiciously too long lol..i turned around and she wasn’t there and i let fear take over and fell. But i was doing it!!! And i kept trying. Learning to ride a bike is a great lesson
Geraldine Gobrin (3 months ago)
Very informative for teachers like me. That is how a teacher should function inside or even outside the 4 corners of the room. Mostly, teachers tend to forget to understand their pupils. All they want is for them to be understood and heard...
Umar Musa (4 months ago)
give me a profile password fb
prakash nainwal (4 months ago)
Such a wonderful talk sir. The way you speak is really amazing. One of the best talk ever about teaching 😊😊😊
Faraón (4 months ago)
Yo sé más español que tú Gatito..
Cheshire Cat (4 months ago)
I'm totally not crying... these aren't tears
G.S. Mahalingam (4 months ago)
John Pepito (4 months ago)
Can someone who is antisocial teach?
Eldon Brown (4 months ago)
"Teacher" is a Germanic word that literally means "Instruct." That is the job of a teacher. Like contemporary parents, we have lost the ability to instruct our children. We are more concerned with being their friends or being liked by them...this puts our youth on an equal playing field and that leads to a very dangerous outcome.
Joy Bee (3 months ago)
Without relationship and trust, learning will not happen. That trust comes from all of the things shared in this video. I have now taught all over the world-and despite cultural differences, the uniting factor in my teaching practices was relationship. Thank you, Azul, for sharing this video! 😊
Azul Terronez (4 months ago)
I agree that there is a role of a teacher. The goal is success, to provide value and create moments of learning for students. When we see teaching as a job rather than a role to change the world through our work, we lose a bit of why we need to grow and change the profession. What harm comes from listening?
Sor Ynou (4 months ago)
Think you for talking about a good teacher
Justin (4 months ago)
Obviously anything in this video can only be applied to a certain country in a certain time period. When societies change the roles of teachers and schools change.
I liked the example of bicycle. It's so simple, but so true. And all was said could change so much if it was applied. Students would be much more interested in studying, if teachers listened to them - simple and true, again. I wish each teacher dreamt to become great.
Zain Z0S7 (4 months ago)
This should be shown to every teacher of every school globally
Sachin Vartak (4 months ago)
The last thing you said is the most important. A great teacher is good listener and this is one such skill which nobody can teach :)
Lauren Hyde (4 months ago)
The best teachers accept that students can learn just as much from each other as they can from the teacher. The best teachers make their class an environment that feels safe and comfortable. The best teachers teach students to be self advocates. The best teachers connect with students, and not just about school, sometimes what you need is just a conversation about a book or a favorite food. The best teachers accept that they have something to learn from the students. The best teachers focus less on being good teachers and more on being good people, because if students see that they will want to learn from you. The best teachers bend, but don't break (this one's so so important) The best teachers take a break from constant learning to do something fun, because sometimes that's just what a student needs. The best teachers individually challenge students, because it can make a difference. Those are some of the big takeaways I've had as a student myself.
Kübra Birgül (4 months ago)
great speech! thank you for sharing these, I'm a junior class student in ELT and these help me understand the value of teaching a lot more
test subject 009 (4 months ago)
i'm watching this because i really want to be a teacher in the future... now i wish time would hurry upppp
Azul Terronez (4 months ago)
We need great teachers!
JB P (4 months ago)
There's some good information in here but we're not supposed to believe these quotes are form actual students, right? I mean, it seems so painful obvious that it feels like we're supposed to know that it's just a way to frame the presentation. I mean, a 7 year old profoundly told him "a great teacher isn't a teacher?" That's a farce.
Azul Terronez (4 months ago)
JB - I appreciate you being curious about the responses from students. My goal in sharing these ideas is to inspire people to listen. I taught 7th graders and yes they often did say profound things that made me wonder. I hope we all keep the sense of curiosity. Thanks for the note.
Youla Pandazis (4 months ago)
Thank you Azul for your research and inspiration! I loved your approach! Your calm manner of speaking surely reflects your personality and it must be a pleasure to hear you teach. Please can we hear more of your work!
Youla Pandazis (4 months ago)
Happy Teachers’ for Friday! You change our world with your positivity and I am grateful!
Azul Terronez (4 months ago)
Thank you, your words Youla gives me encouragement to keep sharing.
abha Jadhav (4 months ago)
When a teacher goes to the level of child, understanding child's need as per his/her academic as well as psychological capabilities. Also when a teacher develops a craving to make her students learn the things in a creative or Innovative way, when a teacher allows her students to discover their own strengths, when a teacher welcomes her students with a smile,and knows each student by his/her name, when a teacher answers even a silliest query of her student, and above all, when a student remembers his/her teacher even after years passing school,and tells the teacher how she made a difference in how s/ her life .. I think ...at that moment a good teacher moves towards being great.
apexinternational school (4 months ago)
Sir its ABHA. Thanks for the reply
Azul Terronez (4 months ago)
Adha thanks for the comment.
Poy Han (4 months ago)
Thank you this was inspirational!
Azul Terronez (4 months ago)
Thank you Poy
stop just stop stop it (4 months ago)
A great teacher is someone who the student can relate to. Highschool kids don’t give you respect unless they see something in you that they relate with in some way. For example, my school is in the inner city and the kids were just totally dismissive, uncooperative, and obnoxious in class. They didn’t let the teachers teach at all and midway through, our original math teacher quit. But then, a new math teacher came in who also came from the inner city and he told us something on the first day that resonated with everyone. “You guys are set up for failure. It’s not your fault, but if you don’t try and dig yourself out of this hole now, then you are going to be stuck here for the rest of your lives. You guys will have nowhere to go and god forbid you get robbed, jumped, or shot and end up as a statistic. This isn’t the life that you deserve, but you can change all that. You just have to take the opportunity that is presented to you.” To my surprise, everyone went quiet and listened. I saw one of the worse students who got into trouble into the streets go up to him after class one day and ask “How do I get out of here. I don’t want to be here anymore.” They respected him and for the rest of the year, there wasn’t any disruptions in the class. The students got the opportunity to be taught. I will never forget that teacher because one of my friends who I thought was destined into the ghettos was so impacted by him through the year that he improved his grades and graduated with a B average, got a partial scholarship, and is now studying to become a pharmacist.
Ericka Stenger (10 days ago)
That's awesome 😊
Ericka Stenger (10 days ago)
+Elessar Elfstone you have missed the point 🤦
stop just stop stop it (2 months ago)
Elessar Elfstone Well obviously not everyone’s grades improved greatly, but everyone who used to be disruptive started to sit down and *try* to learn. That is what I think makes a great teacher. Kind of taught a little bit too slowly, but some students thought the slow pace helped them learn. The friends I had saw their grades improve just because they started listening, so yeah they did learn math.
Elessar Elfstone (2 months ago)
Okay, but did they learn math? Anyone with half a brain can deliver an inspirational speech, but not everyone can teach math. It takes a teacher to do that.
andthenifellinlove (4 months ago)
Well spoken! I need to step up my game. 😊
Azul Terronez (4 months ago)
Too Kind!
Francis Dobbin (4 months ago)
Dear Azul, I very much enjoyed your talk and agree whole heartedly with your sentiment and words about teaching. I have been a teacher myself for some 15 years and although always learning, reflecting and changing, I am very much like you in my approach. Especially with the humour and being very approachable. I love my students to think for themsleves and try to inspire. I evaluate syllabus and course material and create as much choice and creativity as I can to fit multiple styles of learning. Everyday they inspire me and my passion for my job is relentless. Students really feel it. I would like to use some of your examples in a presentation in Russia I am giving to teachers, so I am asking if it is ok for me to use some of your material to inspire others. Thanks again for the great talk.
AstroPhysicsGuy (4 months ago)
What makes a good teacher great is non-industrial revolution style teaching
Anita Sharma (4 months ago)
Great talk!!! I can feel the each word!!!
We do need to listen to students enough. I like this, there is so much we can do outside of the classroom unfortunately our schools are not constructed that way. We have a long way to go.
tishko namiq (5 months ago)
v.good ....
Cayapas (5 months ago)
Eats apple, 'cause the apple is THE teacher's apple. Used to kids gave apple to the teacher they found great. So a good teacher has loats of apples given by kids as apreatiation of his work...
Jiwon Lee (5 months ago)
I wish he were my teacher. The teachers of my school don't listen to what we say. One of them even said that "stop asking questions. You are interrupting other students!"
I wonder why the school is making me wait for my daughter to join the art club..... Favourites much? Also, why in the world would a child get a C for missing a few steps on one problem in Math knowing that her answer was correct? America is now a joke for killing a child's self esteem.....
Selena May (5 months ago)
mình thích quá cơ
Florence Hepburn (5 months ago)
Bogdan Dumitru (5 months ago)
It was boring..
Kirstie Barton (5 months ago)
“What if we hired teachers to be deep understanders of students?” The world would be a different place
Bulelwa Majiza (5 months ago)
As a student teacher, this really helped me know wat learners might think and how I should respond
nada ah. (5 months ago)
I want to be a professor :)
liana tobias (5 months ago)
Steven Devecchio (5 months ago)
Right on the head!!!
Azul Terronez (5 months ago)
Thank you Steven
Lakshmanrao Banana (5 months ago)
really a good contribution Azul... Thank you very much on behalf of Indian teachers community.
Azul Terronez (5 months ago)
Cheers thank you.
李愚 (5 months ago)
great talk
Viki Gregory-Smith (5 months ago)
If you're a teacher, you should definitely view this!
Azul Terronez (5 months ago)
Thank you Viki, for the kind words!

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