Advertising
Advertising

How to Teach Anything

How to Teach Anything

Since the Chicago strike, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to become a teacher. Although I do training seminars and keynotes all the time, I’m not sure I could be in a classroom day in and day out. It must be especially difficult with young students who would rather be somewhere else!

I once heard a saying:

“Those who can do, do.  Those who can’t do, teach.”

I don’t think it’s true.

Good teachers require a complex skill set from time and project management to interpersonal communication and public speaking, and as they’re juggling dozens of balls day in and day out, they have to always wear a game face. Wouldn’t you rather just go to your office and type away on your laptop for nine hours?

There comes a time, however, when even we office folk have to teach. Whether you’re an IT person instructing some clients on a new piece of software or a consumer marketing executive serving as a mentor to a group of young professionals on etiquette, your moment will come. And if you’re a manager leading a team, that moment might be sooner rather than later.

Advertising

Doug Lemov, who recently sent me his new book Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better, specializes in the subject of teaching. Here are a few of Lemov’s ideas for teaching anything to a group. By wielding these techniques as appropriate, you’ll likely find yourself less intimidated and more effective at the task at hand:

Use a strong voice

Command a room by waiting until there is silence before you begin. Be clear and crisp with your language. If you want people to listen, stop moving and don’t engage in other tasks at the same time. Don’t engage in off-topic conversations. Feel like you’re losing control of the room?  Exude poise and calm.

Get 100 percent compliance

Establish eye contact with off-task students while teaching the others. If you’re going to correct someone, do it quickly as not to draw too much attention to negative behavior. Emphasize compliance you can see, like “pencils down.”

Advertising

Cold call

Call on people regardless of whether they’ve raised their hands. This allows you to check for understanding, decrease the time spent asking for volunteers, and send the message that you care about your audience’s opinion.

Use “right” judiciously

When people hear that an answer is correct, they will stop striving, so only say something is “right,” if it really and truly is. If an answer is three-quarters correct, tell students they’re “almost there”. Make sure they’re answering the exact question you asked.

Give specific directions

Focus on what to do instead of what not to do, using manageable and precisely described actions that students know how to take. Make your remarks sequential, easy to remember and solution-oriented.

Advertising

Motivate with positive framing

Assume the best of your students and zero in on what they can do well right now as opposed to what might have been wrong in the past. Build momentum by calling out successes. Talk about who students are becoming and where they’re going.

Pay attention to format

Even if your relationship with your students is informal, use correct syntax and grammar while in teaching mode. Insist that students speak audibly so everyone in the room can hear.

Featured photo credit: Composition of Books, Stationary and an Apple via Shutterstock

Advertising

More by this author

How to Cope with Rejection at Work Do You Unnecessarily Point Out Flaws? 5 Keys to Building Networks Over Time Is Flex-tirement the New Retirement? Does the Y Chromosome Inspire Confidence?

Trending in Communication

1 Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself 2 Feeling Like It Might Be Too Late To Pursue Your Dreams? Think Again 3 How SMART Goal Setting Makes Lasting Changes in Your Life 4 10 Things Happy People Do Differently 5 4 Ways Physical Touch Helps Your Relationship

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 18, 2019

Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

The ability to reinvent and redefine yourself is a bold, daring and purposeful choice. It doesn’t just happen. You have to make a conscious, intentional choice and then follow through.

If the thought of forging a new path, changing habits, thought patterns and your inner circle of friends scares you – you’re not alone. Change can be a very scary thing. It takes courage, fortitude and a bit of faith to decide to shed your old self and don a new persona. However, it is one of the most critical processes one must repeatedly endure in the pursuit of destiny. Change unlocks new levels of potential.

The Need for Change

Everyday when we wake up, we make a decision. We decide to follow our routine or we decide to go off script and shake things up a bit. For those who are creatures of habit, routine is comfortable, easy and produces very little stress. The problem with this is, after a while you stop growing.

Advertising

We all reinvent ourselves at some point in our lives. It is absolutely necessary to achieve certain levels of success.

Reflect back on who you were as a teenager and then who you were at 25. Those are two very different people. Most of us are completely different. Your thought patterns changed, your appearance, job, level of education and even your friends– changed. We like to refer to this as “growing up” or maturing and consider it to be one of life’s natural progressions. However the changes you made were purposeful and deliberate.

This process must be a lifelong and continuous cycle. You are never too old to refresh yourself.

Advertising

Happy_old_man

    Signs It’s Time to Redefine

    “Just as established products and brands need updating to stay alive and vibrant, you periodically need to refresh or reinvent yourself.”– Mireille Guiliano

    So how do you know when it’s time for a system upgrade? There are signs along the way that alert you that it is time for an overhaul. The first sign is the feeling of being stuck. If you feel like you are in a rut, you’re bored with life or you need some newness and excitement, a self reinvention may be in order. Re-evaluate your life vision and your goals. Is that vision still valid and are your goals consistent with your vision and–are they achievable? If you are off course, it’s time for a change. If you are not moving forward and making progress, it’s time for a change.

    Advertising

    In life, there’s no such thing as neutrality–you’re either moving forward or you are moving backward. Time constantly moves forward and if you are standing still, you are actually losing ground. No matter your age or stage in life– there is always room for improvement.

    “You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” ~C. S. Lewis

    The second sign that you are due for a change is the occurrence of major life events in which change is forced upon you. Getting married, starting a new job, being promoted, ending a relationship, becoming a parenting or relocating are all prime opportunities to completely overhaul your life.

    Advertising

    When these major shifts occur in your life–you have to shift with them. You can’t have a single mentality and have a successful marriage. You can’t remain selfish and irresponsible, and raise a healthy, well-adjusted child. You can’t be promoted to a supervisory position and keep the same subordinate attitude. Each level of success requires something different from you.

    Aronld in Predator

      Consider, for a moment, Arnold Schwarzenegger. People may have different opinions about his character and some of his life choices, but he is a master at reinventing himself. He achieved the ultimate success as a professional body builder by earning the title “Mr. Universe” three times. He then earned a tremendous amount of fame and fortune in the entertainment industry making action/adventure films. And in his latest role, he served two terms as the Governor of California. He succeeded as a professional body builder, a film star and a politician. Each role required massive amounts of change, commitment, strength and hard work.

      And if Arnold can do it…so can you!

      Featured photo credit: BK via flickr.com

      Read Next