How to Teach Anyone Anything - The 3 Most Powerful Professional Techni
Jun 17, 2010 Teaching Methodology 3795 Views
You already know your subject better than anyone else, and you are ready to share your knowledge. Have your knowledge respected, and your instruction remembered.
You likely have a favourite teacher that you remember from your past. I have had an interest in what makes an excellent instructor for over 20 years. I wager that you liked all of the following about your favourite teacher: "She or he really cared about the students; he or she was strict but kind; she or he made us work, but we learned a lot; the course was hard but easy because we understood!" 90% of the people I have discussed their most memorable instructor with have agreed that this pretty much sums it up. We appreciate great instruction.
How can you be remembered, and provide excellent instruction? How you can teach anyone anything. There are three major steps.
1. Good Design. Great instruction only LOOKS like it doesn't take any effort. It is the same as the professional golfer or performance artist or anyone else who is highly proficient. With instruction, you must begin with your outcomes in mind. What do you want to have accomplished by the end of your session or course? These are called 'exit-outcomes' and they are extremely important. It is like this: if you know where you are headed, getting there is much easier. Also, when your students (and it doesn't matter what age they are) know you are heading somewhere, they get comfortable and ready to receive your wisdom. Decide where you are heading towards, then work backwards and figure the most important steps to take in order to get to the exit outcomes. In order to play soccer for instance, you need to learn a great number of individual and group skills, and a great coach breaks down and explains the parts of the game to the players then slowly build piece upon piece until a cohesive whole is achieved. This is the same for small engine repair, sewing instruction, or hang-gliding (you really better get hang gliding right the first time!).
2. Use Proven Approaches and Techniques. There are four key domains to use in your instruction and they are: relate, question, state, and actuate. Very briefly, lesson design should 'relate' the new idea with an older or familiar one - very powerful for building understanding and memory. 'Question': develop questions that relate to the material; question the material; search for questions... also, very powerful. This is a more typical approach; you 'state' something to the class. This is the least powerful yet most used technique available. It has excellent uses, but should be used least. Finally, get the students doing something. No one likes to sit and listen all the time, and you will lose them quick if that is how you teach. You get them working, and they will thank you. This is part of the 'actuate' domain. I use a simple one page table available free online. You can use it as a guide to build any and all instruction you do.
3. Think Systems. Everything exists in or as part of larger systems. We live in cities and towns that are in countries. These are all systems. We have social and educational systems. Recreational systems are popular; systems of thought, systems of government. Systems are everywhere and they can be utilized to concentrate attention and show the strength of your knowledge. This is an area of some skill that you can discover and benefit from quite easily. It is all about seeing the connections between things. Cause and effect, interdependence, relationships... these are how the brain and our world works, so of course you must use them in instruction that makes a difference. There are a host of simple tools out there on the net that can help you, or you can find a distilled group of education specific tools. You will be glad to discover these simple yet effective ways of having your knowledge respected and remembered.
Instructing others is one of life's most rewarding and powerful experiences. Sharing your knowledge well is beneficial to yourself and your students. You are a top performer, one of life's stars when you know how to get your message across effectively with specific, professionally designed systems. All the best in your educational journey as you teach everyone through excellent techniques.