Teaching can be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, but it’s not always an easy one. It takes patience, creativity, and commitment to teaching a classroom full of students—especially if your goal is to help them master the material you’re trying to teach them so they can become responsible and effective learners. Here are some teaching tips for you to improve your teaching abilities and achieve your goals as an educator.
Step Back and Think About What You Have Learned
When you are ready to start teaching, you must take a step back and think about what you have learned so far. There are two reasons for doing so. The first reason is that it can help you put yourself in your students’ shoes. Remembering what you had difficulties with when learning a subject can help remind yourself of what it was like being in your student’s position, as well as give an insight into where they may be struggling.
Break up Longer Goals Into Short-Term Objectives
There’s no doubt you have a lot of big goals for yourself, but sometimes breaking up those big goals into smaller and more manageable pieces can be an effective way to stay motivated and on track. When you break down larger projects into smaller chunks that are easier to manage, they seem more obtainable and less overwhelming—and that means you may be able to finish them!
Prepare Before Class
Make sure you have all of your materials ready before class. It is incredibly frustrating for your students when you don’t have what you need when it’s time to teach, so prepare early. Get a plan together beforehand and stick with it. This will give them confidence in you and build trust in your relationship with them from day one.
Use Visual Aids
Visual aids help your students retain information more easily, so don’t be afraid to incorporate visual components into your lessons. The key is using them at appropriate times in your presentation. If you use visual aids too early, you might lose their attention before introducing relevant material. If you wait too long, they may become distracted by other thoughts and forget some of what you said earlier. As a general rule, consider putting them on display within three minutes of starting a lecture.
Say What Is Most Important First
Students are taking in a lot of information at once. If you can communicate what is most important first, they are more likely to grasp that information and take it with them throughout your presentation.
Repeat Yourself (for Key Points Only!)
As you’re developing your lesson plan, be sure to repeat key points more than once. While it might feel redundant, repetition is incredibly effective for learners and helps them better retain information. And don’t forget about visuals! Visuals are not only helpful for learners who may have a difficult time processing words on a page; they’re also worth another run-through of key points.
Design Your Learning Material Around Learners’ Needs
Before creating anything, think about what your learners will need to best understand your material. What might they be missing that could impede their understanding? Which aspects of your topic will require more explanation than others? What examples can you use that relate directly to students’ life experiences and needs? Although designing learning materials can feel overwhelming, keep in mind that most people love sharing personal anecdotes and experiences with others—your learners will appreciate it if you allow them to do so.
Keep Things Interesting
Whether you’re a student or teacher, your study sessions need some life. Try not to do all of your studying in one place, like at home in front of your computer. Instead, mix it up and try going to a local coffee shop or library. Take breaks while studying and maybe do something fun instead of just sitting there trying to figure everything out. This can get you motivated again! Plus, it’s easier to focus on something when you enjoy doing it!