“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” –Albert Einstein
Educational institutions today have to cater to the needs of students who have massive exposure to a very wide variety of subjects and are definitely a lot smarter today as compared to even 10 years back. The professional skills of a teacher have to keep up with the changing trends and their role has never been as important as it is today. Multi-tasking skills are a must as teachers have to be competent in planning lessons, organising and scheduling, meeting with parents and students and keeping their professional expertise updated. All this, while trying to maintain a work life balance.
Students today have their brains rewired by technology and teachers require a new level of instructional strategies and types of teaching skills. Teachers have to constantly learn and adapt to changing educational requirements to overcome the gaps in learning. Planning and delivering a lesson is a challenge today as you have to create a supportive learning environment and manage the classroom while attending to diverse needs with different types of teaching skills. These are the 6 key skills of a teacher to develop your understanding of various techniques.
Planning is one of the fundamental professional skills a teacher needs to have because it helps to ensure that the lesson is progressing towards the learning objectives. A teacher should also be able to preempt the needs of the students and adapt the lesson plan to meet those requirements. If the students take longer than expected to master a skill, the teacher should be able to plan more lessons for that particular skill. Also, consider which learning objectives hold the most importance for future learning and prioritise them when structuring lessons. A teacher today has to have foresight and be able to look ahead, identify where things can go wrong and prepare an action plan. In case things don’t go as planned, the teacher must come up with a solution and deliver it. Students are always consciously or subconsciously observing the teacher and learning from what they see.
A classroom needs to be exciting, enriching and dynamic and exciting and by creating a conducive classroom environment and providing clear and effective instructions, learners are more likely to stay focussed throughout the lesson. Rules and routines need to be very clear and positive and should be discussed with them openly right at the beginning of the year. As a teacher, you should have clear goals for learning behaviours which is one of the key skills of a teacher. When students are distracted how you manage the classroom is vital as it is all important for effective classroom management.
Being able to harness any negative energy and making it positive is an essential skill as it encompasses compassion, empathy and trust. You should be able to trust students and colleagues with responsibilities and help them to see it through.
Communication is one of the fundamental teaching skills in education and it is essential to ensure that it produces the desired result. As a teacher, you have to ensure effective two way communication in class to build the right kind of relationship and make learning effective. There are various ways to improve learning and it’s important to provide opportunities for students to process new knowledge. You can give them time to think or ask some questions to reinforce their learning.
By answering questions, learners are able to articulate their thinking which goes a long way in enhancing their confidence in the classroom. Encourage them by acknowledging and praising correct answers and ask them follow-up questions that challenge them to think deeper. Always keep in mind that learners may have different levels of understanding and you need to ask questions differently depending on that.
There are countless active learning techniques which all aim to engage learners as active participants. Encourage learners to be curious and its importance in their lives outside the classroom. When learners are actively engaged in the learning process, they feel a greater sense of ownership. Try to include time for discussion at the start or middle of each lesson.
Creating a Supportive Environment
A positive relationship between learners with their peer group and their teachers is important for them to feel supported and encourage more learning. Learners should have ample opportunities to interact with each other during lessons as that does wonders in building essential skills like empathy, collaboration and communication. As a teacher, it is important to create an environment where learners feel comfortable sharing their opinions and asking questions as this really hel[ps to extend their thinking.
Learning is an ongoing process whether it is the teacher or the students and it is vital to have the mindset and ability to readily adapt when necessary. Observing the learning environment and creating a supportive environment so that the students get maximum benefit helps in this and your success as a teacher depends on these traits.
As a teacher, you should be able to adapt to diverse intellectual and learning capabilities among your students. When there are diverse voices in the classroom, the teacher evolves without even realising and is a catalyst for dynamic learning. Once the teacher is open to accepting diversity in the classroom, students automatically learn the value of acceptance, empathy and tolerance.
Assessment for Learning
Assessment of learning goals is very important to get a clear picture of how the students are moving towards the learning objectives so that you can give them relevant feedback on how to improve. The information you gather from assessments goes a long way in improving your teaching practices.
As a teacher it’s important to know which aspects of the lesson the learners found enjoyable and why, whether there are any issues that may have contributed to misconceptions among a number of learners for effective teaching skills in education. Use this data for planning future lesson plans, identify areas where further clarification is required and make lessons as enjoyable and fun as possible with effective teaching skills.
Being a Leader and Team Player
The best teachers are those who can put aside hierarchical privileges and interact confidently with students and colleagues. When there is a mutual support system among colleagues, it translates into strength and support in class among students. Students are always watching a teacher closely and this has a positive influence on them.
Essential skills of a teacher involve inspiring and motivating each and every student to reach their full potential. That’s why teachers require professional development programmes to constantly update their skills and latest instructional methods in their subject areas. A teacher can make or break a student’s life and must equip themselves to do justice to each student with effective teaching skills. For more information on this topic, you can touch base with the EuroKids website to update yourself.