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The Five C’s of Effective Teaching

The Five C’s of Effective Teaching

The most successful teachers dream of reaching every student by tapping into what makes him or her tick, and then leading all students to successful outcomes. There are as many definitions of a successful teacher as there are teachers because each is unique. Commonly shared traits by the most successful teachers are found in the 5 C’s: Caring, Compassionate, Cooperative, Creative and Challenging. Explore them in this educational blog as you reflect on your qualities and consider which ones you would like to incorporate into your teaching.


Starting the list is the quality of caring: caring about students, their learning and the teaching process. Caring means the teacher is going the extra mile to make certain that all students succeed. It involves paying close attention to how well students are learning, based on the premise that teaching is a caring profession.


The teacher is focused on strong social connections with an awareness of the needs of students. He or she treats students with kindness, understanding, fairness and is concerned with an improved learning environment. He or she shows concern for the well-being of all the studentsand believes that compassion is contagious.


The teacher who displays cooperative qualities works effectively with administrators, students and other teachers. He or she is ready to work with others and thinks of students as a team, not a classroom of individual learners. He or she fosters working together for a common purpose and benefit.


The creative teacher needs to be able to take a concept and shape a lesson that’s unique, engaging and dynamic. He or she wants to be able to create lessons that grab the students’ attention and make them want to keep coming back for more. He or she generates new forms for teaching and learning and keeps it exciting and engaging.


This quality is sometimes overlooked because it requires the teacher to really put extra effort into teaching. This teacher challenges his or her students to do more than what’s expected of them and also demands of him- or herself to deliver more than what’s expected. The challenging approach is intended to convince students to perform actions they would not otherwise do and achieve new levels of success.

In Other Words…

The 5 C’s – Caring, Compassionate, Cooperative, Creative and Challenging – define the teachers who make the difference in students’ lives; it’s the teacher who dreams big about the successes of his or her students.  This is the teacher who shows the students where to look, not what to see.

In this short video, Esther Wojcicki, a teacher in California, shares what she’s learned about making classrooms successful, using her acronym TRICK. It stands for: trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness. Watch to see how she used these qualities (and more) to transform her classes into highly successful and engaging places of learning.