Stephen Covey said that there are three constants in life; change, choice, and principles. This couldn’t be any more true. The world is changing by the minute, the only way to survive and succeed is by adapting and making the right choices. Everything and anything around us is guided by one principle or the other. What are principles? Principles are the basic guidelines or foundation within which things must operate.
Teaching is a complex profession and it would be chaotic if it works without taking into account the major principles of teaching and learning. Having said that, more principles get added every day because of the changes that happen around us. Holding on to a particular set of principles of teaching might backfire. Hence, it is important to shake and alter the list every now and then. Today, we will be discussing the basic principles of teaching and how to teach effectively.
Principles of Effective Teaching
What are the principles of teaching? As mentioned, the principles of teaching are the basic guidelines or foundation that say how teaching should be carried out and how it must be catered. The principles of teaching include and are not limited to:
1.Creating an Active Learning Environment
A classroom must never be monologed in nature. It should be a platform for dialogues where the students and teachers are equal participants. In order to foster an active learning environment, teachers can incorporate activities. If they are teaching online, before beginning the online class, they can post a trick question or assignment and then discuss it in the class later on. An active environment is essential to make learning effective and efficient.
2.Establish a Rapport Between the Students and the Teacher
One of the most overlooked things when it comes to teaching and learning is the rapport between the teacher and student. Imagine you are strapped into a chair with a plaster on your mouth and someone hands you a book. If you were asked to memorize or learn what is in the book, would you be able to do it? Running a tight ship is not a principle of effective teaching. The students must feel at ease and they should feel comfortable. They shouldn’t feel as though they are strapped to the chair.
3.Feedback and Communication
Communication lies at the heart of effective teaching and learning. It is impossible to talk about the principles of teaching without highlighting the importance of communication and feedback. How would you know if the students have understood a concept or not without gathering feedback? Evaluations and assessments are different. That encompasses a lot of other things like learning ability, capacity, and likewise. To ensure that your teaching methods are effective and the approaches are appropriate, teachers must talk to their students at regular intervals. This can happen only if you follow the first two principles.
Every kid is different. The type of learning, the pace at which they learn, their understanding, everything varies from one person to the other. It was also found that the previous learnings and understandings of the students affect their studies. Accepting all kinds of learners and catering to each of them is one of the principles of teaching that cannot be sidelined. The last thing that a teacher should be is judgmental and it is beyond criminal to make a student feel as though they don’t belong in the classroom. Make everyone feel welcomed and as mentioned in the previous points, try and make the classroom a safe space where every student feels heard and valued.
5.Helping Students to Manage Time
Assignments, tests, notes, homework, examinations, evaluations, attendance, there are a lot of things that the students have to take care of and not just for one subject. While all this is for the betterment of the students, the teachers should understand that the day is just 24 hours. Teach your students the importance of time management and how it can be implemented to make them stress-free. More often than not, teachers use statements like “we were also students and we managed to do all this.” Refrain from making such statements because it makes the students think as though everything they do is trivial. Use more affirmations like “I understand it might be difficult, who don’t you try doing it this way?”. Such statements will help the students and make them believe in themselves.
6.Motivation and Inspiration
More often than not, students feel demotivated. They don’t feel like studying or doing the work. Teachers must reaffirm their faith and inspire them to do better. This is another important principle of teaching. When it comes to principles of teaching, motivating and inspiring students, makes it to the chart because one of the primary concerns of teachers is to shape the future generation. Motivating the students even when they fail and fall down must be the crux of the concern for teachers
7.Adaptability and Betterment
The education landscape is ever-changing and ever-evolving. If a tree refused to spread its roots as it grew, it would be uprooted before we know. The same would happen if the teacher stops learning. No matter how learned you think you are, there are still things that you are unaware of. Be informed about the changes that are happening in the field and employ what you can in your classroom. If you are teaching online, use innovative teaching methods and approaches and cater to your students accordingly.
Teaching is a profession with a lot of layers. It is not just about subject knowledge or presentation skills. A good teacher knows how to make the classroom think outside the four walls of the classroom (be it virtual or traditional!). Online teaching is the new normal and it looks like it is going to be the reality. Since it makes quality education more accessible and brings ease and efficiency to the table, this alternative is here to stay. Keeping one of the main principles of teaching, adaptability in mind, teachers should opt for a good online teaching app and start educating.