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.

  1. It’s not about you; it’s about them.
  2. Study your students. It’s not enough to know your material.
  3. Students take risks when teachers create a safe environment.
  4. Great teachers exude passion as well as purpose.
  5. Students learn when teachers show them how much they need to learn.
  6. Keep it clear even if you can’t keep it simple.
  7. Practice vulnerability without sacrificing credibility.
  8. Teach from the heart.
  9. Repeat the important points. Repeat the important points.
  10. Good teachers ask good questions.
  11. You’re not passing out information. You’re teaching people how to think.
  12. Stop talking — and start listening.
  13. Learn what to listen for.
  14. Let your students teach each other.
  15. Avoid using the same approach for everyone.
  16. Never stop teaching.

Number eleven is especially important to remember, especially in this day of near-constant standardized testing.