Top 6 Tips for Teaching

Teaching is not just something for the classroom. It can be applied to any scenario. Personally, I am a high school teacher, but I have also taught a little at the graduate level, and a little at our church and in Bible studies. I just completed my third master’s degree–all this to say, I have teaching experience and I have experienced the teaching of a lot of really good teachers, as well as that of some really bad teachers. The following is a list of what I think are the Top 6 Tips for Teaching. This list is not a comprehensive end all, this is more of my teaching philosophy than anything else.

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  1. Teach students, not the subject per se. If your goal is to teach the subject, you have failed. Your goal should be to teach students. They are people first and foremost, and you have been given the opportunity to help these people succeed in life. When students know you care about them, they want to learn. If they don’t think you care, then you could teach the best lesson in the world, but it will not mean a thing to them.
  2. Teach multiple viewpoints and allow the student to come to the conclusions themselves. Not only is this good teaching, it is allowing other people to grow and discover. To simply give one viewpoint is arrogant. If you are dead-set on teaching one viewpoint, you have failed to teach students (cf. #1), and you are simply trying to create a mini-me.  You want to help creative thinkers, not clones of yourself.
  3. Allow the students to grade themselves for at least 25% of their grade based on the effort they have given. By doing this, they will realize that you respect them as people (cf. #1), and chances are, they will actually grade themselves lower than what you would expect.
  4. Relate the material to life. Every class should present some challenge to go further, learn more, search more diligently, study harder, etc. If there is no action step, the lesson will be forgotten. If they talk about you or the class during other classes, lunch, dinner with their family, etc., then you have succeeded.
  5. Don’t punish when they fail, give them the opportunity to try again. Life is this way, so allow your teaching to reflect this. Don’t label your students as “trouble makers,” rather, call out their true identity, they are “children of God.”
  6. Recognize your students’ dreams and coach them. Dreams without actions are just wishful thinking. You are there to help them succeed in life. God has given you this opportunity, now it is your turn to go help your students find their opportunities.

How do you feel about this list? I would love to hear opinions from students and teachers alike.