What really makes a great teacher? If you’re looking to get into teaching or are already an educator, this definitely a question that has crossed your mind at least once. Unfortunately, there is no single straight answer, which means that different educators take different teaching approaches. Furthermore, results from studies and research into effective teaching only create confusion and contradicting ideas in the field of teaching.
However, through the chaos, some useful attributes and behavior of a good educator sometimes emerge. Some teaching styles come and go, but there are still a few teaching practices that seem to stick around. Below is a list of some of the main factors that contribute to effective teaching.
How Well You Know Your Students
Before deciding on a teaching style, you should make an effort to know your students. Doing this will help you prepare for the challenges along the way and also understand the kind of students you’ll be dealing with.
First, you need to identify their academic weaknesses and strengths; nowadays, there many different ways you can do that. I-Ready, for instance, is a convenient and effective way to gauge each of your student’s academic strengths and struggles. The i-Ready answers that you get from having every student take an i-Ready test can provide you with valuable insights into the classroom, helping you formulate and customize a result-oriented teaching plan.
In addition, learning about your students’ academic needs can help you personalize some of your teaching processes to reach every student. It’s also essential to appreciate and acknowledge that every student is unique and may need to be taught differently.
Knowledge in The Subject
It’s much easier to teach a subject that you’re already familiar with and know a great deal about. If whatever you are teaching is entirely new to you, make sure you learn the material extensively before showing it to the students. The point is, you should not be learning new things at the same time you are teaching a class.
If you’re not familiar with what you’re teaching, you’ll probably have trouble with your delivery. There is even a chance that you might relay the wrong information. And it gets even worse if the students realize that you don’t understand the subject, which may come as a shock to them. Besides, you’ll be more confident when teaching ideas and concepts that you know very well.
Level of Engagement with Students
Teaching is an involved process, and it helps to involve the students themselves as well. Engage with your students in and outside the classroom to ensure that whatever you say or demonstrate gets through to them. Ask questions, and encourage suggestions and feedback during every lesson or class session. Create a friendly and safe atmosphere where students feel motivated to participate in the lesson.
Engaging with your students also helps create meaningful relationships with the class. This means that the students won’t shy away from openly discussing academic or even personal matters affecting their learning abilities, which is one sign of a progressive classroom.
Your Enthusiasm and Passion
If you’re going to take on the role of teaching or educating, you need to be passionate about it from the very start. Although some teachers may see their roles as just another job, there is a lot more to teaching than the occupation. If you love your job, you’ll probably be good at it and will not be deterred by the challenges you may face; the same is true for teaching. A teaching career can be very challenging at times; it helps to have the heart to see things through.
You’ll come across many practical tips for improving your teaching skills, but keep in mind that it mostly comes down to the students in question. You’ll probably have to define and reevaluate your teaching style depending on the qualities of the students.