Our teachers at Shady Oak are committed to effectiveness. Parents—the first and most consistent teachers their children know—can cultivate like qualities in themselves.
Mediocre teachers present practically everything in lecture form. Star teachers see themselves as training facilitators, giving everyone opportunity to fully participate in the learning experience.
Whether you’re teaching a school class, an office training session, a book study group, or your own children, everyone will get the most from it if you employ the knowledge and skills of business-training facilitators.
Start by Communicating Clear Goals
Some “leaders” don’t even know what goals they’re aiming for: they just follow “the way it’s always done.” Then they wonder why no progress ever seems to be made.
Even if you know the whats, whys, and hows of a subject, your kids won’t unless you tell them. No matter how young they are, they deserve some explanation of how what they’re learning has a higher purpose than getting straight A’s or making Dad happy.
Take a Systematic Approach
Whenever you can, organize goals and projects into step-by-step instructions. And leave adequate time for each step—if you try to cram two weeks’ worth of instruction into an hour, kids can hardly be blamed for retaining little of it.
Keep in mind that a first-time learner can’t be expected to master a procedure in the same amount of time it takes you to carry that procedure out. Observe your kids carefully for individual and typical learning speeds, structuring the practice of skills accordingly. When teaching several kids, avoid racing ahead of slower learners, and encourage everyone to help each other.
Earn Respect by Giving Respect
It’s dangerous to take an “I’m the authority figure and you’ll do as I say” attitude. They may do it, but they won’t learn anything that will help them make future contributions on their own initiative.
Respect each child as an individual. As far as is possible, avoid insisting that anyone learn in a format that runs counter to their natural abilities. Ask everyone, on a regular basis, what they think and recommend. Great teachers are great learners—and open to learning from everybody.
Appeal to All the Senses, Plus the Imagination
Most trainers today understand that the best teaching includes a visual, as well as an auditory, element. But have you considered including opportunities to smell, touch, and taste? What about asking the group to brainstorm new ways a subject might be learned, or new applications for new knowledge? The more aspects of the whole self are involved in learning, the better the learning is retained and valued.
Give Everyone Active, Hands-On Opportunities to Participate
To appeal to all learning styles, provide active and creative opportunities as well as open discussion. Give everyone regular chances to contribute according to their talents. If you have a shy soul who rarely participates, find out what they really enjoy and use that to ease them into a larger contribution.
Remember, even small children are intelligent people. Help them become even more intelligent by bringing them fully into the learning process!