Do we teach for others or for our own self? Professional teachers might consider their vocation a privilege to help shaping students’ worldview and character. If you’re a coach, a mentor, or a trainer, then you are a teacher too, naturally. And all teachers teach for both others and themselves.
That’s what I love about teaching.
To be able to teach, we must continuously upgrade our skills, knowledge, and things outside the field that are related to the topics we teach. As a teacher, we also observe others who are our students, our subjects of teaching, and ourselves as a purveyor of messages and an idea generator.
Teaching is also a form of self-therapy. While the acting profession is hypothesized as the chosen profession for those with overconfidence and having a tinge of narcissistic tendency, those who teach for a living may be trying hard to prove that we are worthy to others. Teaching also means re-learning every time we convey our knowledge to the students (or coachees or trainers). This process is a reaffirmation of what we have, thus it reinforces our subconscious need for recognition.
Human beings are thirsty for recognition and acceptance. Our survival instinct may have landed us to this teaching profession.
Whatever the actual and conscious or subconscious reasons of our teaching is, it is irrelevant, however. What matters is how both our students and ourselves can benefit from both the re-learning and the interactions. Thus, optimizing learning process is key to progress.
Five tips to improve both the learning and the teaching process are:
1. Match the teaching style with the student’s learning style. If you only teach a small group of people, it is easier to match teaching style with students’ five learning styles: reading, writing, listening, watching, and acting upon (kinesthetic style). If you teach a large group, combine all styles with various activities. Use visual cues, such as slides, videos, and drawings. Use audio, such as radio segments, songs, and jingles.
2. Repetition would help with retention, but do so with fun and with variety. Repeat with variety, such as group discussions, role plays and working on quizzes or topics in a few minutes. Ask the students to be as creative as they can using materials inside and outside the classroom.
3. No question is “stupid” question, encourage questioning. If possible, ask the students to play “asking as many questions as possible” game. Encourage by creating a safe environment where students can ask without being judged or asked back.
4. A relaxing atmosphere and soothing colors help with learning process. Feel free to use soothing music from nature or easy listening smooth jazz in the background to create an inviting ambiance.
5. At last, find at least 3 positive things in a student that make you like him or her. Likability in someone is reflected in our subconscious, which later is projected in our actions toward the person. A student who feels accepted by a teacher would learn better because of the safe environment.
Have a great teaching (and learning) session.