Listen! Engage! Inspire!

Joan’s Principles for Effective Teaching

These are my ideas. What are yours? Send me your principles for effective teaching for possible inclusion on this page.

Know your audience.

Invite everyone into the dance of learning.

You can lead a learner to knowledge, but you can’t make him/her learn.

Share the responsibility of learning with your learners.

There is no one right way to teach. Learners have a variety of ways to learn and think and so do teachers.

Teach for transfer of learning and the development of lifelong learning skills, abilities, and attitudes.

Less is more. It is better to teach a few things well than to overwhelm learners with so much information that they become frustrated, anxious, and unable to retain anything from the instruction.

You win or lose your audience in the first five minutes. Talk to your learners as they enter the room. Provide them with something to do and/or think about as people are arriving. Engage them from the start.

Active learning is better than passive reception for retention and transfer of learning.

The instructor’s voice should be the one heard least during teaching.

What your learners say and do is more important than what you say and do.

Teaching for diversity is just good teaching.

Variety is essential to effective teaching. One way of teaching is never enough. People begin to lose interest after about 10 minutes of doing one type of thing. MIX IT UP!!!

Check for comprehension frequently. Don’t move on to the next thing without making sure your learners are still with you.

Always include a way to assess your outcomes. Otherwise you will have no idea if your learners have attained them.

Overthrow the tyranny of the one-shot session. Use handouts, web pages, and pre and post activities to extend your contact time with your learners. Offer ways for learners to keep the conversation going after instruction is completed — through email, blogs etc.

Two (or more) heads are better than one. Consider team teaching. You can take advantage of each person’s strengths, learn from each other, and provide a more interesting and varied approach for your learners.

Form a peer appraisal team with a colleague. You will each get helpful advice and feedback. You will also have the opportunity to see how someone else does it and maybe be inspired to try something new.

Become a critical observer of other teachers and presenters. What did you like? How would you use it yourself? How would you change things you did not like?

Habit and complacency is the enemy of effective teaching. Take risks. Get out of your rut and out of your comfort zone. Try new things. You will maintain interest for yourself and your learners.

Remember: a bored teacher is a boring teacher.