I have been thinking over the last few days upon my return from
Toledo just how to explain my teaching methods.
This might be slightly detouring from the topic, but as an ex high
school teacher, I thought it was worth mentioning something I
identified as the essence of good teaching. That is the ability to
"get" what a pupil/student doesn’t “get”, and be able to step back
and explain it at the correct level for their understanding.
When teaching a new topic to an individual or a group of students,
you have to gauge where to start and at what pace to go. A good
teacher must learn to read facial expressions and body language to
ascertain whether what you’re teaching is too basic and stuff they
already know, and if that’s the case, move onto the next stage.
However, once the pace has been established, it’s vital that you can
read the situation so that when you introduce and explain a new
concept/word/phrase, you can identify if your student/s don’t
understand what you’re teaching - as they often won’t tell you, as
they often don’t like to admit it and they end up hoping they’ll pick
it up later on - so you need to read the body language/facial
expressions which tell you to take a step back and go into more depth
until they understand the concept, before moving on.
I’ve seen teachers who can’t read the signs, and you see them losing
pupils in the class because they didn’t realise the pupils weren’t
understanding what they were teaching - and you can lose them for
good if that happens. A good teacher will see the "light bulbs"
switch off and be able to switch them on again. Obviously it’s more
complex in a group situation, but it’s possible if you momentarily
’lose’ one student, to set the rest of the group going on some brief
activity so that you can take some time to give a little one-to-one
tuition to that one student until they understand the concept and
they’ve caught up with the rest of the group - then you can move on
with the whole group.
It doesn’t matter what subject matter you’re teaching, but as long
as you can pick up on the signs and keep your student/s learning at
the correct pace, and teach them in a way they can understand it
well, then you’re an effective teacher.