While preparing an outline, workbook, and PowerPoint slides for a workshop this month for the Center for Nonprofit Management I have been reminded about the four things I know about effective teaching.
Photo Credit: Learning Executive
1. A teacher’s methods of teaching are only as good as his preparation.
If a teacher is well prepared and knows exactly what he wants to teach, then it allows him to have teaching materials that assist him. For example, we recently had a guest preacher at church and he was able to display the Scripture text and a few of his main points on the screen because he was prepared enough to have typed those materials. (In addition, he probably gave his slides to the person who does the PowerPoints at church early so that she too could prepare them and reformat them if needed.)
2. Video is a great instructor.
Because American culture loves and places a high value on TV most people are drawn into videos. The use of a visual medium along with character dialogue and music moves people’s emotions and feelings in a way that very few teaching methods can. For example, our pastor recently showed a relevant video introducing a new message series titled, “Breathing Room.” (Here’s the link to the fantastic video, http://vimeo.com/56946399.) The video uses pictures and music to convey the way many people feel. It was a great lead in to his topic. He could have tried to convey the same message by reading some statistics or telling a story, but a video such as this captured people’s feelings about the issue in an effective way.
3. Group discussion does not always instruct.
I know some people say they love to participate in group discussion, but the truth is that we are not learning when we are talking. Yes, when a teacher asks a question and students respond by sharing with the class it helps that specific student to share and think. But students can still think and reflect on what they are learning without having to verbally share with the entire group. Group discussion can be an effective means for teaching, but not always.
Question: What is one thing you know about effective teaching?