A good teacher ...

un bon prof. ...

builds on the passion of their students to help them get the most out of the class.

cares about their students' well-being and future and goes above and beyond for them; knows their subject well and continues to learn and contribute to their field; inspires their students to be interested in their subject

communicates ideas effectively.
engages students to take initiative in the learning process.

encourages self expression, questions, and makes the student think from other perspectives.

Explains topics well, can adapt to many different ways of learing and is available outside of class for extra assistance.


inspires her students, is knowledgeable, is willing to answer questions, and is excited to about the subject she is teaching.

is open to feedback from students,
makes students want to learn outside of the classroom,
cares about the students' learning as much as they care about the subject their teaching.

is passionate about the subject

is patient with all of his or her pupils.

makes his/her students want to go to class.

prepares class materials in advance, is constantly learning and is truly concerned for all his or her students.

provides facts, interpretations, and other sources.

smiles a lot

thinks about what helps students understand. is fair.

Understands the material to be presented, presents it in a logical, comprehensible format, and is able to answer questions or, when unable to, researches the actual answer.

wants his students to succeed, and therefore, puts a lot of effort into teaching the material. A good teacher also ensures the students understand the material and have fun while learning.

a une connaissance approfondie de son domaine d'enseignement

aime transmettre son savoir et s'implique.

écoute ses élèves
est compétent
se fait respecter

écoute ses élèves, ne donne pas trop de travail,

captive l'attention des élèves tout en leur apprenant ce qu'il faut.

donne envie d'apprendre.
donne envie de venir en cours.

est à l'écoute de ses étudiants.

adapte son rythme à l'environnement de la classe.

est impliqué dans son cours (il ne fait pas son cours juste parce qu'il y est obligé).

Est à l'écoute des ses élèves, il doit être compétent

est compétent dans la matière qu'il enseigne, est pédagogue, aime sa matière et le contact avec les étudiants

est pédagogue, patient et maitrise son sujet

est préoccupé par l'avenir de ses élèves

fait tout pour que tous ses élèves aient compris en sortant de classe.

s'investit dans la matière qu'il enseigne, respecte les élèves et motive sa classe.

sait donner envie d'apprendre sa matière,
comprend qu'il n'y a pas que son cours dans la vie de l'étudiant,
sait respecter l'étudiant tout en restant assez autoritaire

sait prendre en compte les critiques de ses élèves

sait transmettre durablement et efficacement son savoir à ses élèves.

un prof qui sait comment rendre ses étudiants attentifs


The French stress that teachers must listen to students and be competent, but the American answers do not mention that a good teacher must listen to students. This is a very foreign concept here. Why is listening to students an important characteristic in a good teacher? 

Je pense que le métier de professeur est un métier où, à la fois l'enseignant et l'élève, apprennent des choses. Le professeur est là pour nous transmettre des connaissances. Il est parfois difficile de les transmettre, peut être parce qu'elles ne sont pas simples à comprendre, mais peut être aussi, parce qu'il ne sait pas les transmettre. Il les connait, certes, mais il ne parvient peut être pas à faire comprendre à ses élèves comment les choses marchent. C'est alors à ce moment qu'il doit savoir écouter ses élèves. Les élèves qui ne comprennent pas posent des questions. Le professeur doit comprendre ces questions et aider ses élèves.

Egalement, un professeur doit être critique envers son enseignement et la manière dont il enseigne. Il doit savoir écouter les remarques des élèves sur la façon dont il tient ses cours, afin de les perfectionner, et d'évoluer dans son métier. Ici à l'ENSEIRB, plusieurs professeurs nous ont demandé notre avis sur leur cours, sur la façon dont ils enseignait. Je trouve ça vraiment bien.

Les professeurs du MIT s'inquiètent-ils de la façon dont ils enseignent ? Vous demandent-ils votre avis sur leurs cours ?

Désolé pour la faute ... "Dont ils enseignaient !"

Dans votre école, les profs ont quelle formation ? Ce sont en général des enseigants chercheurs qui ont fait de longues études dans le domaine qu'ils enseignent et qui proposent souvent des cours très théoriques, ou alors ce sont plutôt des personnes ayant une expérience professionnelle et forcément une vision plus pratique et plus appliquée? Tous les profs ont-ils reçu des cours de pédagogie, ou alors leur niveau d'expertise dans un domaine les dispense d'une telle formation ?

Quel est votre avis ? Êtes vous satisfait de vos enseignants ? Que voudriez vous changer ?


Professors are very interested in how the students react to their courses. At the end of the semester, we do evaluations that can involve heavy criticism of the workload, the time commitment, the teaching assistants, and the professors themselves. I know from my friends that when they want to be critical of a professor, they write long commentaries about how they teach. Sometimes one can see improvements of a course based on the responses to these evaluations. Some things, like really bad handwriting or a heavy curriculum, cannot be fixed. 



I am unsure as to any specific training for the professors, although I'm sure that some type of teaching experience is considered. Most professors are pretty elevated in their fields and if I'm not mistaken, teaching is part of their tenure requirement if they have it. 

In general I am very happy with my professors. I think this is largely due to the fact that they are very experienced in my feel and I always get lucky with professors that show a lot of enthusiasm for the knowledge they want to share with us. This enthusiasm is what keeps me awake during class and gets me interested in the subject! 

I noticed that a lot of American responses mention that a good teacher "inspires" or makes the students "want to come to class." This inspiration-factor implies, to me, the idea that a good teacher is also a mentor of some sort. 

Do French teachers sometimes take on this greater role of mentoring/inspiring their students? Or do they simply stick to their subject and encourage learning within the class?

For me, a good teacher is someone who is always available to answer your questions. If they don't know how to respond, they help you to find an answer. I don't neccessarily feel inspired by the teachers I like the most. I think this is because I find it hard to be inspired about a subject I'm not particularly interested in.

How does one determine what field they want to study in France? 

Benjamin -- I agree it is very important for teachers to ask for advice and feedback from students. But it takes a very secure person to do so! You have to want to improve and feel confident enough in your own skin that you can hear constructive criticism rather than feel threatened by it. But of course it really helps to recieve constructive criticism that is delivered in a polite, upbeat way! So students have a responsibility to weigh the tone of what they are suggesting in terms of improvement.

Do most of your teachers offer constructive feedback to you when you don't do well on an assignment? Grading tests isn't all that helpful if teachers don't back it up with some helpful advice and tips! Do you agree?

My impression of the professors here is that most of them are academics, men and women who have devoted their lives to research and teaching, without much actual work experience. This is only my impression. It is very possible that I am wrong, especially considering the fact that I have only seen about 9 professors here.

I would agree with Meghan. If a subject is interesting, I will be motivated, regardless of the teacher. Vice-versa, if I find a subject distasteful, the best teacher in the world would not be able to excite my interest.

The best teachers fully understand the material, are able to present it in a clear, logical, simple manner, and are not afraid to say, "I don't know," but then go, find the answer, and let the student know later what the correct response is.

Jonathan, Professors at MIT do not have to take pedagogy courses. As Judy has said, they do worry about the way they teach, as there are course evaluations in the end of the semester. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon to have classes with 400 or more students per class, and the style of classes here are lecture format, with the Professor doing all the talking. The students can ask questions during recitations, smaller, 15-30 students classes to complement the lecture material. Maybe that is why we do not think that a good teacher must listen to the students, because not many students talk during lectures. 

At research universities like MIT, most professors don't undergo any teaching training before becoming professors, which can definitely be a problem sometimes. However, I've found MIT professors to be generally pretty engaging, patient, and obviously very knowledgeable about their subject. I've had several professors who are actually legends in their teaching style (one of them was French!). MIT tries to incorporate feedback from students, and I think positive feedback is helpful for getting tenure here. I've also found that sometimes professors who don't communicate as well in a large lecture-style class do much better one-on-one, and many professors are open to students' questions outside of class.

As for non-teaching experience, it varies depending on the department. In engineering, many professors are very involved with the field from an industrial perspective, not just academic. Several of my professors either formerly held positions in biotech/pharmaceutical companies, or have started their own companies and been very successful. However, there are certainly a significant number who went straight down the academic path, from grad school to a postdoctoral position to professor. Most of the professors in biological engineering, however, have a more applied focus in their research - few do very theoretical work.

In the technical field, I find the professors who are tenured to be more welcoming, more laid back, and more willing to spent time to ensure that their students understand the material. Excellent professors are also able to anticipate students questions, as they know where the tricky concepts in the course materials are, but that skill usually comes with experience. New professors or those not yet tenured tend to be more concerned with their research and publishing paper. 

I agree with what everyone else has said, ive had a lot of different types of classes ranging from large lectures to smaller classes of about 10 people. No matter the size of the class the professors are still willing to meet with you outside of class or after class to answer any questions you might have.

Susan, tu as raison, il n'est pas évident de poser des questions quand on est 400 élèves pour un professeur. Nous sommes une centaine dans les cours et 20-25 dans les TD (travaux dirigés, qui nous permettre de faire des exercices pour mieux comprendre les cours).