Teaching Skills – The Great Skills of the Best Teachers

Posted on July 2, 2013 · Posted in General

Teaching is an entire combination of challenging, frustrating, wonderful, infuriating, demanding, time consuming, exhilarating, and rewarding occupation.  Sometimes, it’s all of these feelings in the same day, but teachers who love teaching do this year after year because of this roller coaster of frustration and reward.  The feeling on seeing the “understanding” come on in a student’s face for the first time is possibly the greatest reward of this profession.  For teachers who have made a positive impact on a student’s life, well, learning when a difficult student has become successful down the road (and attributes it to a specific teacher who “made the difference”) makes all the negative aspects negligible.  Teaching Skills are learned to some degree, but most of the great teachers have many of these skills in their very nature; it’s part of who they are and it’s why they are an exceptional teacher.

Teaching Skills – The Great Skills of the Best Teachers

Teaching Skills – The Great Skills of the Best Teachers

Great Skills of the Best Teachers

There are a lot of Teaching Skills that teachers have developed over the years, some by experience and others came about by watching other teachers who were very successful with their classes.  Here are some of the best skills that teachers should exhibit:

  • Preparation – Be completely prepared on the material.  Teachers with excellent Teaching Skills know the subject backwards, forwards, sideways, and upside-down must be prepared for some of the most off-the-wall questions ever imagined – because the students will come up with them.  Certainly teachers can’t be the expert on every topic and saying “I don’t know” too many times may diminish their credibility, but making up an answer that turns out to be wrong completely destroys their credibility.
  • Rules – One of the most important Teaching Skills is to establish the rules of the class.  The students must know the rules of the class from the first day in order to establish authority.  Remember, the intent is to “teach” not to be their best friend.  All teachers want their students to like them, but being their “buddy” is not necessarily conducive to ensuring they all learn.  Discuss the rules of the class, discuss expectations, and ensure that they know they do not get a “pass” for infringement of the rules and that there are consequences.  This doesn’t mean be a tyrant, but they must know the rules and respect the authority of the teacher.  Be sure everyone understands the consequences of disobeying the rules – a little embarrassment never killed anyone, and it’s always been an effective lesson for children (certainly one they will remember the rest of their lives).
  • Listening – Another extremely important Teaching Skill includes listening skills are of utmost importance.  Model good listening skills when the students are asking questions.  Listen to the whole question, repeat the question to be everyone in the class heard the question and understood it, and then answer the question.  Repeating the question is the best tool because it ensures the student asked the question you are prepared to answer.  (Don’t tell them the history of the world when they just wanted to know what time the assembly program was that afternoon.)
  • Humor – Know when to be serious and know when to have fun.  It’s much like driving a team of horses; they have to be let loose to run for a bit (although that is what recess is for) then they have to be reined in.  Having a sense of humor helps and knowing the right times to apply the humor makes for a very enjoyable class.
  • Enthusiasm – The display of enthusiasm for the material is essential to getting the students excited about the subject matter.  If the teacher approaches it that this is an incredible piece of material that will help them throughout their lives, and get them excited.  The in the enthusiasm for the subject will be contagious and everyone will be excited about learning the material.
  • Flexibility – Have a variety of “tools” to be able to teach the material.  Using visual aids is a great help, and remember don’t every sacrifice learning for a time schedule.  If the students are particularly interested in one topic and getting deeper into the information about the topic, be flexible enough to continue on with the material to ensure understanding – remember the intent is for the students to learn, not to be on a rigid schedule.

Continuous Improvement

Teaching Skills are honed over many years time and the greatest teachers are the ones who exemplify these skills.  Knowing the students, having a love for teaching, and enjoying the subject matter are all very important and create the best teachers.Natural memory enhancer