Teaching is an exciting career. It is fulfilling. It gives a teacher joy to watch their learners transform into useful people in the society. I have been teaching for three years now and would gladly give my insight into effective teaching.
The measure of the quality of a teacher is more often than not based on students’ progress or success. Student success, however, should be attributed to effort and not ability.
I have written down a few techniques that you can use to become an effective teacher.
Passion and a positive attitude
As a teacher, do what you love and love what you do. A good teacher just teaches but a great teacher is highly passionate about what they do. A positive attitude breeds creativity, which in turn breeds success. Have an upbeat mood, a lot of vitality and ooze energy! Great teachers see setbacks as a means to success, and a tool to develop and improve.
Know your learners; know your subject
The best teachers have a deep knowledge of their subject. They keep learning because successful educators stay curious. They equally have a deep understanding of their learners. Each learner has his/her own specific needs and a great teacher will effortlessly deal with each learner differently.
Create a warm learning environment
Often, learners thrive in an environment structured with expectations. This helps with equipping learners with self-determination and a sense of responsibility. It is only right for a teacher to create a warm relationship with learners by being approachable and paying attention to the needs of each learner. A personalised relationship between a teacher and learners creates a friendly learning environment. Let the opinion of your learners count, or dismiss it in a nice way to avoid messing with their self-esteem. Have a sense of humour and have wit. Students find humorous teachers interesting.
Good teacher-student relationship
A good student-teacher relationship helps to affirm a student’s self-worth. A strong and thriving connection between a teacher and his or her learners ensures constant progress. You can maintain the relationship by giving your students enough time to practice new skills. Also, introduce learning progressively, in a step by step manner to boost learners’ understanding. On some days, your students will need your emotional support more than learning. Taking care of your student’s emotional needs, makes it more likely that they will listen to your counsel and take your advice to heart. Teachers are the ultimate mentors to their learners. Basically, create a good classroom ‘climate’ as a teacher.
Good teacher-teacher relationship
Have a lasting working relationship with your colleagues by supporting them when necessary and sharing helpful teaching ideas. These relationships observe high levels of professionalism. A good teacher- colleague relationship may also help in opening up new teaching methods through continued interaction among teacher.
Good teacher-parent relationship
Involve parents in the learning journey of their children. Ensure timely communication with parents on learners’ academic as well as behavioural progress. Keeping parents in the know helps with the overall development of learners because all relevant parties are involved. While at it, keep it purely professional and friendly. Collaboration between parents and teachers is crucial to a student’s success. Create an open path of communication so parents can come to you with concerns and you can do the same. When a teacher and parents present a united front, there is a lower chance that your student will fall through the cracks.
Know when to listen to students and when to ignore them
Right on the heels of the above tip is the concept of discernment with student feedback. A great teacher listens to the opinion of his students. Otherwise, not listening to your learners will be cause for failure. Sometimes, the teacher has to draw the line. It is no simple endeavour to know when to listen and adapt, and when to say no.
Proper behaviour management
Proper behaviour management applies to both the teacher and the students. A good teacher ensures good behaviour by making good use of lesson time allocated and also using the teaching and learning materials provided appropriately. At the same time, teachers must ensure good discipline among their learners both inside and outside the classroom.
Be open to new learning/teaching techniques
Technology has taken over the world to improve functionality in the classroom and curriculum. Most learners today are tech savvy and probably know more than the teacher does. Incorporate technology in the classroom and readily learn from your student too! Each learner has their own style of learning. As a teacher, adopt different teaching techniques for different learners.
Appropriate assessment and feedback
Variety of teaching techniques allow students to demonstrate mastery of the content they have learnt, which is a good source of feedback for teachers. However, avoid assessment, methods that encourage memorisation and regurgitation. Offer encouragement to students who feel inadequate after assessment. Students need someone to believe in them; a wiser and older person to put stock in their abilities. Set the bar high and then create an environment where it’s okay to fail. This will motivate your students to keep trying until they reach the expectation you’ve set for them.
Take time to reflect on your method of delivery, results and the relationships you have with students, fellow teachers and parents. Reflection helps to identify weaknesses that need to be strengthened with resolve and understanding.