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4 Points
The Contender
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The 3 necessary qualities for a 'good' teacher.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/9/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,032 times Debate No: 15260
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (12)
Votes (4)




Ok, this is my first debate on here, sorry if I screw this up in anyway.

The topic here is, what does it take to be a good teacher? I figure everyone has some slightly different view of the necessary requirements.

My view is this:

A teacher is to present the information, to present it in a way that the student(s) can grasp, so as not to teach 'over their heads'.

In order to do this I feel 3 things are necessary.

1. The teacher must be aware of their own limitations.
A teacher must know exactly what they can and can't help someone else to learn. Otherwise they risk getting in over their head and poorly presenting information and misguiding their student. An example being a drama teacher opting to fill in for the astro-physics teacher...probably not a good idea.

2. The student's limitations.
A teacher must be aware of what a student already knows, in order to meet them at their level. For a college level algebra class to go over basic addition, would probably be a waste of time for the students. At the same time, the teacher must know what a student can't learn yet. To know what is going to be too much for the student to grasp at that time. If someone doesn't know the difference between a Solar System and a Galaxy then this person is probably not going to be able to grasp something like 5th dimensional 'brane-world' theories.

3. A teacher needs to remember their station.
A teacher must remember that their role in the teacher-student relationship is to provide the student with the information they need. This includes the actual information of the subject material, along with any tips or tricks that the student may find helpful in grasping the information. A teacher can find one of their greatest mistakes in trying to 'force' a student to learn something. If one grabs a young tree and attempts to 'yank' it up and make it taller, they will probably find they have instead uprooted the tree completely. The same applies to students, they must be allowed to grow at their own pace, in their own way, at their own time. To attempt to force a particular mold upon a student, or to force certain information upon them even if they cannot understand it at the time, will instead lead to resistance, and confusion.

This is my feelings of what it takes to be a good teacher. I am interested in what anyone else has to say on the matter. Look forward to an intriguing, respectful discussion.

Again, I apologize if this is of poor quality, I am a student of this site xD.


Hello to my opponent, and thank you for such a debate as this.
I will stand on the opposing and represent the Con in this debate. So based on what the Pro has outlined in their constructive there three necessary qualities for a teacher to be considered "good" Therefore the burden of the Pro is to push and advocate these points, and the Burden of the Con is simply to disprove the pro (If I'm off-base please let me know in the next round) Simply put if by the end of this debate you still agree with the Pro, he wins If not the Con wins.

Therefore I offer this opposing view to my opponent's stance-

A teacher is something much more than a simple instructor. Teachers give up their lives (and a good portion of their potential pocket book) in order to invest in younger generations. And while these teachers do so much in this regard, they get no substantial monetary gain nor any kind of real benefit other than getting to know their students and watching them grow. Therefore When we try to consider what makes a good teacher, not only are there many more than just three points we must consider; but when evaluating the Pro's arguments we see that these three points do not describe a quality teacher.

For example in their first point they claim a teacher must know their own limitations. This is stoutly wrong on so many levels. Why? Because in order for a teacher to "know their limits" they must first evaluate themselves- thus causing them to lose the ability to teach and make their students grow. Instead at this point their focus in now on themselves, they worry and stress "Am I a good teacher?" "Maybe I shouldn't teach this lesson after all." "Class today we're just going to watch a movie" So in the end when we think teachers must know their own limitations there are many loses. Firts the teachers looses out because they are less able to teach, the students lose out because their ability to learn in inhibited, and society loses out because their next generation is lessened.

Also on the argument regarding a Drama teacher becoming an astro-physics teacher, who's to say they couldn't do it? Drama teaches you the abilty to act, so even when the teacher didn't understand the material they would be able to act like they do. and as long as they just continue to refer back to their own material the students will learn.

Now let's go on to the second point my opponent advocates, that teachers must know their student's limitations. To this point I cannot disagree more! It is not a teacher's job to see what a student's current potential could be and nudge them there, but it is a teacher's job to see more in that student than they could ever see in themselves, and push them to that extreme! one awesome examplet would be the movie "stand and deliver" While this man's student's could barely do basic math, and they where in a situation where rising above their status seemed impossible he taught them advance calculus instead of remedial addition. Another great example (and personal favorite) would be "freedom writers" here we see the exact same thing, a teacher who is not satisfied with just meeting their student's limitations; but instead takes them to a whole new level. While her freshman english class came to her barely literate; by their graduation they understand both interpretation and execution of the written word.

Now finally my opponent claims that A teacher must remember their role. Now to this we must ask several questions, for now I will suffice with two. First what is a teacher's station? to teach and help their students grown. Second, how should the teacher do this? However best helps the student grow! Refer to my prior examples in my attack on my opponent's point 2. of course the student must and will grow at their own pace, but that doesn't meant a teacher shouldn't continually challenege a student. A teacher must absolutely do such a thing as this.

And so in conclusion, I end with this. Teachers are so very much more than just simple instructers; they give their lives to their students and help them to grow. and so while being considered "good" really isn't even possible (there are just too many variables) the points my opponent offers definately do not meet the criteria.

I'll hand it back over to Pro now!
Debate Round No. 1


To begin round 2. I will first admit my following statements will probably be poorly suited for a 'debate' though I prefer simple honesty. Thus, in posting this debate I hoped to have my paradigm challenged respectfully, and to be enlightened as to possible points of view that I myself had failed to recognize. I can honestly, and gladly say my opponent has offered me just what I so desperately sought in this debate. So, I offer you my sincerest gratitude for a wonderful first round!

Also, as I believe you've already perceived, when I refer to 'teacher' I use it in this debate as an all-encompassing word for anyone that is involved in helping someone to improve their skills in a particular field.

Now, onto my rebuttal. As for the argument to my first point. I disagree, what sort of person can grow without self-evaluation, and what sort of teacher can perform well without growth? Have we not all witnessed the older generation's handicap of not being able to properly utilize modern technology. We see many among the older generation quite capable of utilizing technology for wonderful benefits to mankind, while others are completely illiterate in the subject. I attribute this primarily to failure to evaluate, to evaluate both the environment, and the self. Those older ones whom are skilled in technology obviously evaluated it's increasing usefulness in society, and their own uses for it. This required evaluation of environment, and self. A teacher likewise must evaluate the environment, to see what new problems their students are facing, and what new materials are available to teach, and to teach with. Then to evaluate themselves to see if they have within themselves the necessary knowledge to properly guide others with these materials, or if they themselves need to grow. Can a history teacher help their student with a history question from a newly updated text book, if the teacher themself is still relying on knowledge from an outdated twenty year-old text book? No, of course not, they must evaluate themselves, to see that they are not familiar with the knowledge contained in the new text book, and then grow by studying and gaining that knowledge. So that they can answer their student's questions aptly.

Leading back to the case of the Drama teacher in the Astro-Physics class. If a student points out a particular paragraph of the text book and asks the teacher to explain it, how will this teacher untrained in Astro-Physics, and never before looking upon that text book be able to explain the paragraph? Thus, this teacher, while being able to 'act' like they know the material, truly does not know it, and cannot help the students in their quest to learn it. Truly one cannot teach, what one does not know.

As to point number two, fine points for the con side of this debate! Though, I must point out that these points in fact validate my original one. Let's use the "Freedom Writers" example: what good would teaching them to interpret, and formulate beautiful works of written word do, if the students did not know their 'ABCs', or how to write at all? Obviously, they would need to learn those things first, then, learn the art of formulating beautiful writings. Could Shakespeare have become such a famous play write, had no one ever taught him how to read and write at all? Thus, if a teacher attempts to teach what they believe a student 'should' know regardless of the student's ability to actually learn it, then they are not only failing the student, but insulting the student by making them feel inferior. Yes, a teacher should challenge their students, but challenge them at their own level. Using martial arts as an example. It is fine to teach someone to perform an amazing flying kick, but if you have failed to teach them how to, along with the importance of stretching first, then your student will snap a ham string, and you have, in turn failed the student.

Concluding this round, I will offer this: while a teacher's quality is indeed more than mere numbers and words can measure, it is universally true that certain qualities simply must be adhered to, should a teacher actually teach someone. These qualities include the ability to know what they already know, and therefore can teach, and to know what subjects they are ignorant of, and therefore what they cannot teach the student. To be willing to meet the student at their level, to help the student overcome any current weaknesses, through careful instruction, considerate observation, and compelling challenges, to help the student see, and be their best. Concluding with the quality of remembering why they are there, as the con has stated, to help the younger, less knowledgeable to grow, and become better.

I will now return this debate to you, my very worthy opponent.


First of all, I thank my opponent for their rebuttles, and before I actually set in to my own refutations, I would like to inform my opponent that they are doing just fine int this debate, their thoughs are highly thought out and backed up with sincere logic. You are not making bad arguments, but I am simply tryinmg to debate them as is my purpose in this round.

Now on to the round (p.s. this is off the flow)

Now let's just tak a minute and look to my opponent's first two paragraphs. In their second paragraph we understand the consenual idea that teachers come in all shapes and sizes. we do not have to look at them simply in the term of say a high school english teacher, or algerbra teacher. now cross-applying this thought with their first paragraph, in this sense I am their teacher for this site. And I assure you none of the three principles noted in my opponent's prior speech apply to me. For example if I "knew my limitations" I would not be able to grow as a debater, if I knew my "studen't limitation" then my opponent would not get better as a debater, and if I "Knew my station" then I would be unable to win this debate. However through this very debate we see my opponent's stance is untrue.

now going onto my own refutations,
first my opponent asks the rhetorical question, "how can a person grow without evaluation"? look at the illustration of an artist. If an artist relied on their teacher to know their limitations they know nothing for themselves, instead it is not the teacher's job to know the artist's limitation, but the student's responsibility to know where they stand so that they can grow as an artist. So please, do not mis-interpret my thoughs, I do not thing evaluation is a bad thing, I think that a teacher evaluation the student is a bad thing

and on the example of the Drama teacher, they might not be able to pop the answer off the top of their head, but they can research the answer; ask their collegues, and give the student an appropiate answer. Thus by not knowing either their own limitations nor their students' they both grow. And all the while when the drama teacher Acts as though she completely understands what they are doing the student's will have confidence in their teacher and they will learn.

Going on to the second point, this does not disprove my point. If the teacher in freedom writers knew "her student's limitations" she would have never pushed them to the point she did, and they would have never moved past their current position. And maybe if Shakespear's teacher had pushed him past the point he did, the great literatures we have from him would have been even better! In fact who's to say his teacher didn't push him like that?
And I personally love my opponet's martial arts example. Look to any great Kung Fu movie, before the main character becomes a great fighter he usually has his butt whooped by some-one way beyond his level.

Finally going on to my opponent's conclusion. They claim that there are "Universal" qualities that must be adhered to. well for this I have two arguements, first there is no warrant for why we must accept these as the universal points. my opponent never explains or expands on these points, they only further their claims and offers expansion on them. more so secondly, this is still putting teachers in abox and sayign there are certain qualities.

Now also my opponent dropped many points in my last speech, this only proves my tance that we cannot define a good teacher in only three qualities.

For these reasons I urge a Con vote

I now hand the debate back over to my very capable, and humble opponent. :3
Debate Round No. 2


Yet again, my opponent has delivered a mouth-watering, logical argument to my theory. With each passing round my knowledge, and excitement grow. Now, onto the rebuttal.

Wonderful use of my point concerning the knowing of limits, and our very roles in this website! Though, can we completely erase the concept that the opponent is unaware of my limitations, or his own? Perhaps a more thorough definition of 'limitations' is in order here. I define the concept of 'knowing limitations' as in knowing current ability, perhaps to word it as 'current ability' would even be a better option. I will now formally warn, and apologize on the chance that I may accidentally report my opponent's argument whilst travelling to the "post argument" button, as I almost did on the way to this rebuttal, ha ha. In this case, I know that my current ability at this site, has me so unfamiliar with it, that I may very well click the wrong button without realizing it, until it's too late. Likewise, I believe my opponent would be willing to accept my mistake, as a novice error, due to inexperience, and lack of current ability.

The matter of knowing, and gauging current ability is one humans use everyday. When one is new to a job, they gauge their current ability to perform the assigned task, and their employers do likewise, a 'good' employer by the general consensus of the term, will forgive novice errors, and offer constructive advice to the novice employee. So too should a teacher do likewise. Leading to a primary goal of this debate, for the pro to prove that indeed it is necessary for a teacher to be able to properly gauge current abilities, among themselves, and their students. That lack to do so, will hinder the learning process in such a way as to be highly noteworthy.

Using my opponent's wonderful art example. What drawing ability I have now began when I was taught by the elementary school art teacher. She knew that I was unaware of 'warm' or 'cool' colors, and taught me what they were. She was aware that I did not know what shading was, or how to perform it, and she showed me how. In order for me to learn this, I had to evaluate myself, and realize I did not know these things, and in order to meet the requirements set before me (by the teacher, as my opponent has so astutely noted is becoming of a teacher) I needed to learn what she was showing me. As a result, I can now teach someone how to perform the art of shading, along with the differences found in 'warm' and 'cool' colors. My teacher, likewise had to, at some point evaluate herself, and realize that she did not know what this term 'shading' meant, and then seek to learn that art.

It is true that when my art teacher later asked, and upon my permission displayed one of my drawings in an art show, she was challenging me to go beyond my perception of my own limitations. Though, in order for her to offer me this rewarding experience, she had to be able to properly gauge the quality of that drawing, to know that it would indeed be comparable in quality to the other drawings being judged. Thus, she was required to know her current ability in order to strive for greater mastery, through which she was able to teach me, by knowing my current ability and helping me to surpass that.

To add the final 'nail' to this proverbial 'coffin' one could also return to the Drama teacher's dilemma in Astro-Physics class. Yes, the teacher could, and indeed would need to do research to gain the necessary knowledge to help themself, along with the student to grow. Though, this would first require the evaluation of current ability, and then upon seeing the inadequacy of their current ability, seek to gain more ability, to thus teach with.

As to my opponent's second, and quite beautiful point. Indeed, a teacher should seek to push their student forward, to greater heights. Though, how can one push upon someone's back, if they do not even know where this someone is? The student, therefore must find their student's current ability, their current need, and then from there push their student onward, and without knowing their student's current ability, such pushing is not possible.

Concluding with a refutation of my opponent's conclusion. Is it not true that certain universal qualities must be adhered to in all things? Thus, is it not true that every particular 'station' in life must in turn have it's own 'box' of sorts in which it's practitioners reside? While no two Olympic runners are exactly alike, not even in the way they run, they do have striking similarities, and certain qualities are 'universally' required in order to be an Olympic runner. One must be, among other things; physically healthy, mentally focused, fast, and well hydrated. While indeed each runner is unique, and notably different than any other, they still have a great deal of striking qualities that anyone following in their 'station' would also require.

So too for teachers. While some teachers may be laid-back, and others strict. Some willing to act simply as an adviser to their student, others choosing to take the wheel. They must all meet certain criteria, lest they fail in their assigned duties of helping others to gain knowledge, and ability.

I know nothing of the sport Football. Would I make a good Football coach? No. Why? Simply because as a coach, it would be my job to find the strengths of each player, help them to build upon those strengths, as well as finding their weaknesses, and helping them to overcome those weaknesses. I would need to know which position to assign each player based on their abilities, and what plans to carry out, along with what training regimens to instil.

In order to meet those 'universal' requirements to be a Football coach, I would first need to find my own current ability, my own limitations, as it were. Then from there build upon those abilities, I would need to learn the different positions in Football, the roles of each. I would need to study up on effective Football strategy. I would need to find appropriate training methods. I would then need to see what each player's current ability was, to know which one needs to work most on speed, which one most on strength, which one on finesse, etc. All the while, remembering that my position in this relationship is as their coach. The one that guides, instructs, and disciplines them accordingly. If I fail in any of these areas, I have failed to be an effective Football coach.

So, while indeed many more qualities, a good teacher makes, these three still hold firm as core components to successful teaching.

This concludes my stand for round 3.

Thanks to a very wonderful, thought-inspiring opponent, whom is a true pleasure to debate. :D


A big thanks to my opponent for his rebuttals!

First of all I ask you to really review the line of logic my opponent has been making throughout the course of this debate, what you will notice is that his logic is incredibly well-formed and he makes stunningly on-target arguments. While his knowledge and navigability of the site may currently be benign; he is not at a loss for logic. So now consider his rebuttal to my prior statements in which he gave us this clear example of his supposed lack of apptitude. Point being I still cannot evaluate my "student" especially on such a benign weighing mechanism such as him being new to the site and not quite grasping it's functions completely yet.

Now going on, my opponent claims that the ability to weight certain situations is something we have and use everyday. But point is we are not talking about gauging a situation, or evaluating our own ability. We are debating the teacher evaluating the student. So extending my arguments from the last paragraph we can never do this.
Also I would like to extend my example in my prior argument about the artist and his art teacher, while the artist themselves can most definately weight their skills and know their limitation, if the teacher did this it would halt education. The teacher would see where they were, what they where capable of, and only give them what they where capable of; or even worse, the teacher would not properly gauge where the student was at, and give them work below their level. Now the teacher could do exactly as my opponent is advocating in their argument here, but that would not make them a good teacher, it would only suffice for mediocre.

and as for my opponent's illustration of his own art teacher, look to the later example when she asked his permission to display his art. let's talk about moderation for a moment. I do not contend that a teacher is to constantly push their students beyond their limits, but because this teacher was willing to do both in moderation she is a good teacher. whereas on the opposition my opponent would have you believe she must only stick to what my opponent could have handled (was that wording understandable?)

now again on the Drama teacher teaching astro physics, yes there would be evaluation here, but not in the sense that my opponent advocates in round 1. This is something obvious and necessary, again we must take everything in moderation.

And as for the second point, I content that a teacher doesn't need to know where a student is to take them to the next level, but instead should think about their maximum potential. To be a good teacher, they should be able to recognize potential in this student that they could never dream of! Where there is a mutual faith among people, the teacher believes in the student and vice versa they can grow even without knowing their current status.
When I was in middle school I suffered from a learning disability know as dysgraphia; I could hardly hold a a pencil, let alone write. However my wonderful teacher didn't do what others before me had done and give me less work, or not have me do writing assignments, instead she pushed me beyond my capability, exercising both determination and kindness. Even today I will tell you she was the best teacher I ever had, she taught me a confidence I could have never grasped myself simply because she saw more in me than was actually in me.

Again carrying the argument on the conclusion just a little bit further, I still say there are no universal qualities that must exist, at least not in teaching. My opponent offered you the illustration of an Olympic runner, something very precise and tangible. However the nature of being a teacher is not like this, unlike these two athletes of the same sport two teachers of the same profession can vary immensely. How could you even begin to cross-apply this logic between say, a Home Economics teacher, an Ag teacher, and a Seminary professor? and extending my own point made in the last speech, my opponent's proposition could only even be possible if the teacher where only a teacher. What about say, and athletic coach, or a Sunday school teacher being you dad, or parents teaching their child how to drive?

Point being the Pro stance is not even possible
And while I agree that ever teacher must meet a certain criteria, it does nothing to further my opponent's stance. Now also, my opponent is beginning to change his stance here, instead of arguing my opponent's three points this has become a debate over what the alleged universal requirements for each activity would be.

there is none, whether a debate coach, tennis coach, football coach, or any other; as long as that drive to teach and expand the minds of students exist they will be a good teacher.

I now hand the debate back over to my highly capable opponent.
Debate Round No. 3


Absolutely wonderful argument from my opponent!

Beginning this debate I did feel that in some form those three qualities were indeed 'core' qualities for teaching. I must now, and contradicting the nature of a debate I suppose, admit that I have been clearly, logically proved wrong.

My opponent's last argument left me with even more examples of my own life, in which I myself have assumed a teaching role, and I was forced to concede that I indeed did not adhere to those three qualities.

I began this debate launching a theory, hoping for a logical, valuable contradictory theory to be placed against it, in order to test, and prove, or disprove my theory.

My theory has been quite aptly disproved, and I am very impressed!

I would love to argue the points further, though honestly, even as much as I enjoy playing 'the devil's advocate' in a debate, I must admit, I'm at a loss for any worthy, logical rebuttal at this point.

I congratulate my very impressive opponent, and thank you for a wonderful debate, I do hope to debate with you in the future.


My opponent is extremely kind, and I too hope to have many more debates with him in the future :3

So since my opponent has forfeited, I'll just take this opportunity to extend all of my prior arguments and ask for a Con vote :3
Debate Round No. 4


I am grateful for a gracious, welcoming opponent! Indeed, such fine arguments as the Con's side are worthy of vote. I feel it'd be beyond rude to tarnish such fine points with anything but the finest of logic, and reason, and in the Pro of this debate, I see no adequate way of providing such an argument.

So, indeed, I forfeit, and gladly so, having gained insight, and entertainment, as I had hoped.


There you have it, Vote con :3~

And a big thanks to Azure for an equally stimulating debate!
Debate Round No. 5
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by BangBang-Coconut 5 years ago
You definitely earned the conduct points, and I suck in terms of grammar and spelling.

You really did fantastic Azure, had you not forfeited you could have definitely won!
Posted by azureblue00 5 years ago
Yeah..I'm assuming as a debater I'm not allowed to vote..I was going to cast one in Orange's favor. Though, whatever the reader's choose to do is their choice alone...I admit I was quite shocked, though flattered to be voted for under the circumstances. xD
Posted by Cobo 5 years ago
Okay.I can't vote, but how could anyone vote for someone who has verbally forfieted?!
Posted by BangBang-Coconut 5 years ago
Oh that's completely fine :3

Just keep in mind that if you don't post by the end of the alloted time (right now the timer says you have 2 days and four hours) that round wioll have been automatically forfieted.
Posted by azureblue00 5 years ago
Considering your polite heads up as to potential delay, I will offer you a similar notification. I'll probably be a while with my reply as well. I haven't read all of your rebuttle yet, but have enjoyed what I did read.
Posted by azureblue00 5 years ago
That's fine, I understand. I'm currently in the midst of a two-day hiatus, I have about lost my mind trying to keep track of everything this week xD.
Posted by BangBang-Coconut 5 years ago
It will be a little bit before I can finish my next speech.
I have a little more than half fleshed out, but I am currently unable to finish it.
Posted by azureblue00 5 years ago
Also, in Round 3, when I said "The student, therefore must find their student's current ability" that was meant to read "The teacher, therefore must find their student's current ability". My apologies lol.
Posted by BangBang-Coconut 5 years ago
Nah, five rounds is fine!

I'll admit I do prefer three rounds; but more rounds only means more debates.
Posted by azureblue00 5 years ago
Also, I would like to note, that 5 rounds probably is far too many for this debate. Again, a newb error, sorry. Also, I plan on mentioning this in my rebuttal, but when I say 'teacher' I don't confine that phrase to any particular field. Whether it be academics, martial arts, or even a sports 'coach'. For the sake of this debate a person who's position is to help another person learn a particular field, is a 'teacher'. My apologies for the poor clarification.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Rockylightning 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: pro forfeited
Vote Placed by Marauder 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: pro verbally gave up. nuff said.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit by Pro
Vote Placed by THE_OPINIONATOR 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I liked PROs argument very good for his first debate