I was cleaning out some files this weekend and ran across an article I’ve used several times in training sessions called Attention, Class!!! 16 Ways to Be a Better Teacher. It was published a couple of years ago in Fast Company, an excellent business magazine that barely survived the dot-com meltdown.
The premise of the article was that business leaders also need to be good teachers. But I used the article when I was working with groups of people who would be training teachers. The advice here seemed ideal for them as well. Read the whole article and I think you’ll see there is a certain universal quality to teaching that is independent of age, subject matter, or any other factor.
- It’s not about you; it’s about them.
- Study your students. It’s not enough to know your material.
- Students take risks when teachers create a safe environment.
- Great teachers exude passion as well as purpose.
- Students learn when teachers show them how much they need to learn.
- Keep it clear even if you can’t keep it simple.
- Practice vulnerability without sacrificing credibility.
- Teach from the heart.
- Repeat the important points. Repeat the important points.
- Good teachers ask good questions.
- You’re not passing out information. You’re teaching people how to think.
- Stop talking — and start listening.
- Learn what to listen for.
- Let your students teach each other.
- Avoid using the same approach for everyone.
- Never stop teaching.
Number eleven is especially important to remember, especially in this day of near-constant standardized testing.