Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

The ‘Nev Mars’ effect: Great teachers instill a love of learning

Who do you remember with more fondness: the teach­ers who got you good grades or the teachers whose subjects you loved?


Monday 18 March 2019, 11:00AM

Teachers are not robots. Photo: BISP

Teachers are not robots. Photo: BISP

Teachers are not robots, neither are students. No two teachers are the same or teach in exactly the same manner. No two teachers can deliver the same les­son in exactly the same way. And, even if by some fluke they did (maybe two identical twins who had planned the les­son together?), the learning outcomes in those two lessons cannot possibly be the same if you take into account the other confounding variable: the students! Twenty-five different human beings with different DNA, different fam­ily backgrounds, different amounts of bouncing hormones, each having had a different experience that morning in the lead up to the lesson, each having had a different bowl of cereal and a different trip to school, each with a dif­ferent set of concerned parents.

Over the years I have been asked by many people, “How come you teach Spanish?” For some reason, based mainly on prejudice, people find it strange that a man from Liverpool should end up speaking and teaching a foreign language. The answer is quite simple: the ‘Nev Mars’ effect. He was my Spanish teacher for the last four years of my secondary education.

Nev (bless his soul) wouldn’t have known what a learning intention looked or sounded like if it landed in front of him on his plate of paella, but he made me love Spanish and want to know and learn more about the cul­ture, the people, the food, the music, the language and everything else.

He was a great and effective teacher be­cause he had that human bond with his students. He made his lessons in­teresting and amusing and engaged us. He did that because he was Nev Mars, Manchester born and bred. He was not programmable. He was not a robot.

Parker J. Palmer puts it so well in the preface to his book The Courage to Teach: “...good teaching cannot be reduced to technique but is rooted in the iden­tity and integrity of the teacher. Good teaching takes myriad forms but good teachers share one trait: they are au­thentically present in the classroom, in community with their students and their subject.

QSI International School Phuket

“They...are able to weave a com­plex web of connections between themselves, their subjects, and their students, helping their students weave a world for themselves. Connections made by good teachers are held not in their methods but in their hearts – the place where intellect, emotion, spirit, and will converge in the human self.”

So, what is it that makes an inspir­ing and effective teacher in this day and age? (To be continued.)

– Chris Greene

Chris Greene is the Head of Modern Languages at British International School, Phuket – BISP. For more infor­mation, visit them at or call +66 (0) 76 335 555.



Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Welcoming HMAS Canberra: Australian Navy head to Phuket for training and community activities

Pascale one wonders why the cereal is allowed. Emails to the Editor get no reply. I think Mr Cereal ...(Read More)

Tour boats blamed for widespread reef damage

Yup, the greedy, selfish locals are moving on to destroy the next beautiful island. They only care a...(Read More)

Phuket residents flame Governor over water shortages

Reservoirs that are empty. PWA having to pump water from private sources. Water pressure so low that...(Read More)

Phuket residents flame Governor over water shortages

A resident said: 'W have not had enough water since March 21! We have spent all our money on buy...(Read More)

Phuket residents flame Governor over water shortages

"“We are holding a meeting right now here at Provincial Hall about solving this problem and f...(Read More)

Mains water supply outage announced

""No water supply,no electricity,by temperatures around 37 degrees....."Silly,couldn&...(Read More)

Hunted seastead couple ‘traced to Tarutao’

If all the thai constructors/builders, and Officials did not acted so heavenly against any thai law ...(Read More)

Hunted seastead couple ‘traced to Tarutao’

Pulling out the big guns over what appears to be the "Mother of all Misunderstandings". Gr...(Read More)

Welcoming HMAS Canberra: Australian Navy head to Phuket for training and community activities

There are those people willing to join hands for a clean up and there are those who prefer to sit on...(Read More)

Tour boats blamed for widespread reef damage

These damages were not caused during the past Songkran, but over years of ignorant and reckless tour...(Read More)