–Robert Heinlein said that “When one teaches, two learn.”
Teaching is a learning and unlearning process in itself. Every day, a teacher goes through a seesaw of emotions as they get ready for their class. Needless to say, a teacher has an impact that lasts an eternity, they have a very strong influence on their students and it is of paramount importance for teachers to polish their skills, update their teaching skills list and to be on their feet.
What are the skills needed to be a teacher? Or rather what makes a good teacher? If you were to name the best teacher that you have ever had, who would you choose? What were the qualities that they possessed? For me, it is my English teacher who always listened to us and instilled confidence in us. Each of us have at least one teacher that we look up to and that’s most likely the place from where one can understand the skills needed to be a teacher.
Without further ado, let’s delve deeper into the topic and let’s start by understanding what are teaching skills:
Teaching skills are the necessary set of actions or behaviors that makes the learning process easier for students and facilitates the smooth functioning of a classroom. These can vary from communication to classroom management to conflict resolution. Today, we will be looking into 10 effective teaching skills that a teacher should have.
10 Key Teaching Skills that Every Teacher Should Have
- Communication and Interpersonal skills
- Organization and Alignment
- Time management and Multitasking
- Conflict Management
- Creative Thinking and Innovation
- Control and Leadership
- Technological Skills
Let’s examine these skills one by one:
1.Communication and Interpersonal Skills
This might sound very basic but communication skill is one of the most significant teaching skills to have. When it comes to communication, a lot of things can go wrong. When the teacher assumes an authoritative role and the communication becomes one way, there’s not much learning involved. Neither for the student nor the teacher.
A classroom must be a platform for two-way communication and a teacher must listen to what her students are feeling. Communication need not always be verbal, the teacher has to pick up non-verbal cues and that’s where the real teaching skills of a tutor gets tested. It is important for teachers to have strong verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
For example, some students might need special attention. This scenario calls for a mix of non-verbal and verbal communication. The teacher has to look at them, and re-emphasize that they are listening to a simple handshake, pat at the back, or a head nod would do, but the tutor should know who needs it and when to do it. This comes with experience and adds essence to the teaching skills list.
How to Develop Communication and Interpersonal Skills?
Here are a few tips to improve your communication and interpersonal skills:
- If you are apprehensive about how you sound, practice in front of the mirror
- Be self aware and note the areas that need improvement
- Listen to your surroundings, the people around you and most importantly your students and colleagues
- Be open to feedback and try to get feedback from students regularly
- Have an approachable attitude and be positive
- Talk more to overcome inhibitions and believe in yourself
- Prepare and practice what you want to talk in class a day in prior
2. Organizational and Alignment Skills
Imagine a big bag with all your things like wallet, keys, cards, makeup, etc. Now, what if the bag does not have compartments? It will all be mixed, chaotic and you won’t get what you are looking for immediately.
At the same time, if the bag had separate compartments and you had organized your things, it won’t be chaotic or take up time. The same applies to the classroom. The importance of teaching skills goes beyond words and this particular skill, especially, is pivotal.
How to Develop Organization and Alignment Skills?
How messed up would it be if you didn’t know who has submitted the assignments and who has not, what portions have been covered from the syllabus, etc?
- To stop that from happening, always have a plan and schedule ready.
- Divide the schedules and lesson plans, have a proper system in place and remember to communicate this system to your students so that everyone is on the same page.
- If you teach multiple classes, have different folders for each class.
- Use colour codes and number codes
- Use templates available on the web
- With classes moving online and online teaching becoming the new normal, it is mandatory for teachers to up their organizational skills. With online teaching platforms providing inbuilt LMS features, it has become easier for tutors and teachers. Choose your online teaching platform wisely.
3.Time management and Multitasking
It goes without saying that time management is one of the things that makes a teacher exemplary. Multitasking comes tagged with a teacher’s role. In the long list of tutoring skills, time management is one that will surely change the game.
It might seem tiring in the beginning but once you have figured it out, everything will fall into place.
Have a routine in place and take inspiration from the previous point.
How to develop Time Management Skills?
- Be organized. Once you have a schedule and plan, time management is not difficult.
- It is always advisable to have a daily routine.
- A five-minute meditation before you begin the class.
- a lesson plan to keep a check,
- a feedback session towards the end of the class so that you can ensure that your communication skills are tidy.
There’s a common misconception that time management is difficult for teachers. The only point where it gets difficult is when there are disagreements from students and other conflicts. That’s when managing to finish lessons on time might be a little hard and this brings us to our next point.
When you are in a classroom set up, there are bound to be conflicts. There might be issues that spring up between the students and you, between students and students, and so on. As discussed above, teachers have to be quick on their feet.
Conflict resolution falls under the list of effective teaching skills that makes a teacher efficient. A tutor should know how to tackle difficult situations within the class or school and minimize the gravity of the issues.
The kind of influence that a teacher has on the students is large, the rapport and connection that you have with them will help you in handling conflicts, no matter the intensity. It might be a silly catfight or a grave issue, but as a teacher, you are in a position to impart wisdom to your students.
How to Develop Conflict Management Skills?
To ace conflict resolution skills, here are a few things that you can try
- Read up on it
- Meditate and find peace within yourself so that you can further pass it on to your students.
- Now, more than ever, there are chances for misunderstandings since everything is online. Ensure to keep this at bay with interactive sessions and activities.
- Make sure to choose a platform that provides two-way interaction and communicate with your students on a daily basis to avoid any confusion or issues.
5.Creative Thinking and Innovation
Hands down, teaching is not an easy job. Depending on the grade that the tutor is teaching, they could use a lot of creative ideas to take their lessons across in the most effective way.
Nowadays, primary teachers and tutors dress up as birds and animals to increase attention and engagement. In higher classes, creative activities and discussions can be employed to ensure that a lesson is carried across efficiently. The right mix of creativity with the curriculum will help in increasing the attention of students. Creative teachers inspire students. For all this, creative thinking is necessary and that’s why this makes it to the list of skills needed to be a teacher.
How To Develop Creative Skills?
It’s okay if you are not naturally creative. Here are a few tips for you:
- Observe what others are doing and take inspiration from them.
- Take a break from tension and do things that you love, this will help in relaxing your mind and increasing creativity
- Expand your horizon by reading, talking to more people and observing
- Brainstorm with your colleagues
- Keep a journal mapping your progress and ideas
Creative practices in the classroom, regardless of which class you teach, will help both students and teachers alike.
6. Control and Leadership
We have discussed types of classroom management in one of our previous blogs and have spoken in detail about how different teachers take control of the classroom.
Regardless of how teachers do it, they must have a strong say and control over their class. Good leadership skills are necessary to ensure that the class functions smoothly and efficiently. This is needed to mold the behavior of students and to shape them for the future.
Teachers are often role models that students look up to and teachers with strong leadership skills achieve greater heights. To polish your leadership skills, you can take up added responsibility and work on yourself. As discussed, teaching is a learning and unlearning process in itself. Each day you get an opportunity to become better, utilize it to the fullest!
How to Develop Leadership Skills?
It is important to keep in mind that a good leader always listens and leads by example. Here are a few things that can help you develop your skills
- Don’t be afraid to take new responsibilities
- Practice daily affirmations
- Talk to more people and listen to understand what they need
- Challenge yourself everyday
- Take risks and accept failures
- Be open to criticism and learn from mistakes
Now, more than ever, there’s a need for tutors to know their way around technology. Times are changing rapidly and with teaching going online, knowledge about technology has become one of the key tutoring skills that a teacher should have.
As classrooms have become virtual and there’s more inclusion of technology, tutors need to be comfortable with it. Online teaching platforms that are simple to understand and easy to navigate through are a boon for tutors and students. In times like this, that’s the need of the hour. With the inclusion of technology, teachers can use visual aids, interactive games, animations, etc to make their classes more interesting.
- To develop your technical skills, the only thing that you have to do is learn. Once you commit yourself to learning, there’s nothing that can stop you from it.
A teacher must be able to work alone as well as in a team. While teaching, students must feel a sense of belonging and that they are a part of the team. Only then teaching will be effective. Teachers will also have to work in harmony with other teachers and the management to ensure that the strategies are working and that the proceedings are smooth. A teacher should also inculcate this skill in the students.
How to Develop Teamwork Skills?
Every job, and every profession demands teamwork. And as people who shape the future, teachers have the huge responsibility of nurturing teamwork and that can be done only when the teachers themselves are team players. To develop this skill:
- Be understanding
- Be a good listener
- Participate in group activities
- Conduct/ be a part of ice-breaking activities
It is often said that patience is key and when it comes to this profession, one has to take it seriously. Patience is a virtue and a skill that falls under the long list of tutoring skills. As mentioned earlier, every kid is different and every student’s capacity is different. It might take longer than expected to take a lesson or portion. As a tutor, you cannot lose your calm when students come up with doubts. This will extinguish the fire in them and can even kill their curiosity. A teacher has to master the skill of patience and hit the right balance between lenient and strict.
- Be mindful
- Try and empathize with your students and colleagues
- Relax and think for a second before doing anything
- Practice yoga
10. Self Evaluation
You are your best critic. It is totally human to make mistakes. What's not acceptable is when you refuse to grow from them. As a teacher, you must evaluate yourself. Take feedback from your students and later change your methods or strategies if required.
Learning is tied to teaching and it is absolutely fine to accept that some of your means were wrong as long as you decide to change them. Self-evaluation will also give a window to understanding what works and what doesn’t. Be open to criticism and see if there’s any truth to it.
- Keep a journal
- Reflect on feedback
- Set goals and objectives
- Understand that no accomplishment is small
Quite ironically, the art of teaching is one that cannot be taught but one to be learned. The importance of teaching skills has been discussed in the blog. There’s no formula to be a good teacher. It’s a blend of a lot of things. Some come with experience and certain others with observation and hard work. What according to you are the skills that a teacher should have? Let us know in the comments section. We” ll be back with yet another interesting blog. Until then, happy teaching, happy learning!
If you are planning to teach online and are in search of a good online teaching app, Teachmint is the best choice. With this one-stop solution, you can manage live classes, there’s real-time student-teacher interaction, automatic attendance marking, and more.