Teaching Skills – Basic Tips

  • Speak Slowly – This is the most important thing. Speaking slowly allows your students to understand your pronunciation more clearly and it allows for easy note-taking by the students.
  • Look at your students – Don’t teach to the board or transparency. Eye contact is an important non-verbal teaching tool with students.
  • Learn your students’ names as soon as possible.
  • Give and repeat information in more than one way (example: While lecturing, show visuals, use transparencies, use colored markers to highlight). If you use a transparency, have a pointer, pencil, or ruler to point instead of your fingers.
  • Give examples – it helps to give ‘real life’ examples (rocks in Geosciences, models of atoms in Chemistry, newspapers in Management, etc.)
  • Ask specific questions – Always check to be sure your students are following your information. Check to be sure they can see the board and transparencies. Always finish your lesson by asking if anyone has any questions.
  • Teach male and female students with equal respect. The same holds true for people from differenct ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.
  • Be prepared for each class. Have a lesson plan ready. Have additional activites or lessons prepared if there is extra time.
  • Have your lesson plan or notes on a small piece of paper (1/2 letter size is good). Don’t wave around large notes. This can be very distracting to students.
  • Remember to write your topic on the board every time. This helps students to focus. It allows latecomers to class to get an idea about which you are talking.
  • Speak loudly and clearly in a large classroom.
  • Walk around, but don’t pace! Often you can inhibit disruptive student behavior if you are closer in distance to them.
  • Avoid distracting, nervous habits. Examples are clicking your pen, jiggling change in your pocket, or chewing gum.
  • Dress professionally. No hats, or t-shirts with sayings on them. Again, you want your students to focus on what you are saying, not what you are wearing!
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