3 Teaching Fundamentals for Effective Learning by James Padlock
For coach and educator James Padlock, teaching isn’t about showing your students who’s boss or making them feel inferior by way of developing lessons that make the subject harder than it is. There is no place for power-tripping (ore ego tripping) inside the classroom, insists James Padlock; and the first person to show this to students through example is the teacher.
Over the years, James Padlock had developed his own teaching techniques or strategies; some of these were developed in collaboration with other teachers, while some he developed through his own experiences inside the classroom. Each teacher has his or her own set of personal techniques, but at the root of these personal strategies are fundamentals—key teaching principles upon which personal classroom techniques are based.
Of these, there are three that are (or should) always be included, says James Padlock. These are the following:
1. Clarity and interest
When just one student has a questioning look or seems confused, you’d know immediately that somewhere in the middle of the lesson, you’ve lost him or her; not for lack of interest in the lesson but more of not comprehending what is being said and taught. Teachers need to be clear about the lessons, says James Padlock. And by this, you should look at the lessons from the perspective of your students—people who may not have a clue at all about the topic. James always says that in order to be clear, you’ve got to learn to explain the lessons in a way that you would to a five-year-old. In other words, be as simple as possible—use simple words and terms, and explain lessons in a way that will inspire awe and wonder.
2. Recognize students’ learning pace
It’s unfortunate that teacher’s favorites are often those who always raise their hands and those who always know the answers. For James Padlock, this becomes counter-intuitive to effective teaching because playing favorites, even unwittingly, can make the other students feel inferior to their peer, which can then cause them to shy away from discussions for fear of being embarrassed. Teachers need to recognize that students learn at a different pace, and they may also have different learning styles. If you want to engage every single one of your student in your discussions, then you should make them all feel welcome to speak up, to ask questions, and to posit their own arguments.
3. Be a mentor, a friend, a teacher and an equal
There are lessons best taught by sharing your own experiences, connecting the lessons to real-life situations. In this regard, you become their mentor and friend as you teach them lessons in the manner that you learned them. There are also times when you need to get off the podium and sit among them; be their equal. You teach and learn alongside them.
Encouraging their individuality and assigning tasks according to their grasp of the lesson/s also encourages active participation and engagement.