How to teach like a pro
“The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see”—Alexander K. Trenfor.
Teacher isn’t a title for just those who teach in a school environment but even every leader in whatsoever organization. Teaching is definitely quite different from giving a speech. Telling people what to do doesn’t make you a teacher either.
Who then is a teacher and what does it take to be a great teacher? A quote says: “a teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart.
A teacher is one who is able not to just give knowledge but to impart a passionately life-time changing knowledge. And not everyone achieves this. Because to be a great teacher takes an extra and conscious effort with a willing heart. Are you a teacher in a learning environment? Be it within the four walls of a classroom, at home, in an organization; wherever you may find yourself, be the difference!
And to help make that difference happen, scan through these to-do list below:
1. Know your learners.
Who are your students? Where are they coming from? What do they know? What are their needs?
A great teacher don’t always assume he’s coming to meet student with no prior knowledge. Knowing the answers to those question as above not only saves you time and energy from teaching what your students probably already know. It gives you a sense of direction and purpose. You know where to start and where you should be headed.
However, be careful to ensure you start from where the least of your student know from so they don’t feel left out. To engage those that seem to know more. Let them teach what they know to their peers while you give further clearance on points noted. That way, no-one is being left out, everyone can contribute and you get to know the personality of your students.
2. Communicate complex topics in clear terms.
Teaching goes beyond you passing across much information. How much of what is being said makes a difference to your learners? Beyond hearing you, are they understanding even your most complex ideas. People tend to learn easily through their sight than what they hear. You have a complex idea to pass across, try relating it to an everyday event or object around. Perform a little theatrics if need be, engage all of the senses of your learners with the sole aim of passing your information across.
Repeat yourself if you have to, then ask them to relate what you have taught in the way they understood it personally. Ask questions. Engage their minds, bring up instances and let them give responses in line with the idea you have just explained. Doing this will leave a lasting imprint in their mind and keep them innovated.
3. Teach to raise thinkers not puppets.
The objective of a teacher is not to raise people he can always tell what to do. But people with capable judgments. Great teachers don’t tell you what the answers are, they point you in its direction and wait for you to match the clues together. They are not so much concerned with what you got but how you got what you got. This shows how effective their teaching have been and how much open-minded the learner have become.
What leaders have to offer is a “teachable point of view,” says Noel Tichy, a professor at the University of Michigan Business School and author of The Leadership Engine: How Winning Companies Build Leaders at Every Level (HarperBusiness, 1997). It’s how they look at the world, interpret information, and think through problems.
Having your students wait on you for every course of action can become really hectic for you as a teacher/leader; what that would keep implying is they need your brain to think; hence raising liabilities rather than assets. Let your students call the shots when necessary and do well to point out when they got it right to boost their confidence and creativity.
4. Adopt person-specific mode of teaching.
A teacher must be quite creative because he is involved with more than one individual but has the same goal. Trying to achieve that goal through just one approach of teaching would only hinder the teacher and student progress. Every student can learn but definitely not at the same pace. Some understand better with abstract teaching, some by what they see and some by reading. That is why it is of utmost importance that the teacher knows his students to know what works best for who.
Assuming all your students comprehend everything you are saying would turn out to be a great folly. Which is why there’s the need to spend more time with others after the general teaching. Evaluate your students by asking questions and hear their response. Let them correct one another or even share points you might not have mentioned. Put them in pairs for peer-teaching and assign projects.
5. Build Quality Relationships.
Teaching is not just about imparting knowledge but also building quality relationships with your students. Put the books aside and communicate with one another. Share their thoughts and concern, maintain an open-door policy and discuss challenges you can with them as well.
Let them know beyond what you teach, you also care about them. Let them find you relatable, be flexible but know to draw the boundaries as well so as to maintain a cordial relationship.
Check out our post on effective classroom management