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Teaching Tips


Contents :-

Core Abilities for a Teacher

Core abilities are essential workplace skills that cut across occupational and academic titles.

Although educational institutions typically reflect the core abilities in their mission or philosophy statements, and although good teachers recognize the importance of communication, employability, information management, interpersonal, and problem solving skills, "core abilities are not stated at the course level and therefore not planned into the curriculum. ... As a result, these essential skills, which may be the most important educational targets, have been overshadowed by content-specific competencies and objectives."


Core abilities are different than course competencies in that they are not course-specific. They are not taught in "lessons." Instead, they are broader skills that run through courses and lessons. They "enable learners to perform competencies."

• WORKING PRODUCTIVELY -- "an individual possesses and applies effective work habits and attitudes within an organizational setting."

• LEARNING EFFECTIVELY -- "an individual possesses necessary basic skills in reading, writing, and computing; applies skills in acquiring information; and uses learning tools and strategies."

• COMMUNICATING CLEARLY -- "an individual is able to apply appropriate writing, speaking, and listening skills in order to precisely convey information, ideas, and opinions."

• WORKING COOPERATIVELY -- "an individual is capable of working with others to complete tasks, solve problems, resolve conflicts, provide information, and offer support."

• ACTING RESPONSIBLY -- "an individual recognizes an obligation to self and others for his or her decisions and actions."

• VALUING SELF POSITIVELY -- "an individual applies the principles of physical and psychological wellness to his or her life."

• THINKING CRITICALLY AND CREATIVELY -- "an individual applies the principles and strategies of purposeful, active, organized thinking."

Preparing a Lesson Plan

Lesson planning involves much more than making arbitrary decisions about "what I'm going to teach today". Many activities precede the process of designing and implementing a lesson plan. Similarly, the job of systematic lesson planning is not complete until after the instructor has assessed both the learner's attainment of the anticipated outcomes and effectiveness of the lesson in leading learners to these outcomes.


The lesson plan is a dreaded part of instruction that most teachers detest. It nevertheless provides a guide for managing the learning environment and is essential if a substitute teacher is to be effective and efficient. Three stages of lesson planning follow:

Stage 1: Pre-Lesson Preparation

1. Goals

2. Content

3. Student entry level

Stage 2: Lesson Planning and Implementation

1. Unit title

2. Instructional goals

3. Objectives

4. Rationale

5. Content

6. Instructional procedures

7. Evaluation procedures

8. Materials

Stage 3: Post-Lesson Activities

1. Lesson evaluation and revision

One final word. Even teachers who develop highly structured and detailed plans rarely adhere to them in lock-step fashion. Such rigidity would probable hinder, rather than help, the teaching-learning process. The elements of your lesson plan should be thought of as guiding principles to be applied as aids, but not blueprints, to systematic instruction. Precise preparation must allow for flexible delivery. During actual classroom interaction, the instructor needs to make adaptations and to add artistry to each lesson plan and classroom delivery.

Teaching Techniques

To provide a focus for their work, we offer seven principles based on research on good teaching and learning in colleges and universities.

1. Encourages Contact between Students and Faculty

Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involvement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep on working. Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students' intellectual commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and future plans.

2. Develops Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students

Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort that a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one's own ideas and responding to others' reactions sharpens thinking and deepens understanding.



3. Encourages Active Learning

Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just by sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing pre-packaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.

4. Gives Prompt Feedback

Knowing what you know and don't know focuses learning. Students need appropriate feedback on performance to benefit from courses. When getting started, students need help in assessing existing knowledge and competence. In classes, students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement. At various points during college, and at the end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to assess themselves.

5. Emphasizes Time on Task

Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time on task. Learning to use one's time well is critical for students and professionals alike. Students need help in learning effective time management. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty. How an institution defines time expectations for students, faculty, administrators, and other professional staff can establish the basis of high performance for all.

6. Communicates High Expectations

Expect more and you will get more. High expectations are important for everyone -- for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when teachers and institutions hold high expectations for themselves and make extra efforts.

7. Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning

There are many roads to learning. People bring different talents and styles of learning to college. Brilliant students in the seminar room may be all thumbs in the lab or art studio. Students rich in hands-on experience may not do so well with theory. Students need the opportunity to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them. Then they can be pushed to learn in new ways that do not come so easily.

Effective Questioning

Plan key questions to provide structure and direction to the lesson. Spontaneous questions that emerge are fine, but the overall direction of the discussion has been largely planned.

Example: a "predicting discussion"

1. What are the essential features and conditions of this situation?

2. Given this situation, what do you think will happen as a result of it?

3. What facts and generalization support your prediction?

4. What other things might happen as a result of this situation?

5. If the predicted situation occurs, what will happen next?

6. Based on the information and predictions before us, what are the probable consequences you now see?

7. What will lead us from the current situation to the one you predicted?


• Phrase the questions clearly and specifically. Avoid vague and ambiguous questions.

• Adapt questions to the level of the students' abilities

• Ask questions logically and sequentially

• Ask questions at various levels

• Follow up on students' responses

• Elicit longer, more meaningful and more frequent responses from students after an initial response by -

  o Maintaining a deliberate silence

  o Making a declarative statement

  o Making a reflective statement giving a sense of what the students said

  o Declaring perplexity over the response

  o Inviting elaboration o Encouraging other students to comment

• Give students time to think after they are questioned (Wait Time)

• The three most productive types of questions are variants of divergent thinking questions

1. The Playground Question

  o Structured by instructor's designating a carefully chosen aspect of the material (the "playground")

  o "Let's see if we can make any generalizations about the play as a whole from the nature of the opening lines."

2. The Brainstorm Question

  o Structure is thematic

  o Generate as many ideas on a single topic as possible within a short period of time

  o "What kinds of things is Hamlet questioning - not just in his soliloquy, but throughout the play?"

3. The Focal Question

  o Focuses on a well articulated issue

  o Choose among a limited number of positions or viewpoints and support your views

  o "Is Ivan Iliac a victim of his society or did he create his problems by his own choices?"

Motivating Students

It is difficult to motivate students to invest the time and effort necessary to succeed in the course. To meet this challenge, we have assembled a list of eight simple rules for keeping students focused and motivated. These rules are not original, and they aren't just for those of us who teach accounting classes. Indeed, most of these time-honored suggestions apply to any course students find hard and boring, and we think that makes them broadly applicable.

Rule 1: Emphasize the most critical concepts continuously. Reiterate these concepts in lectures and assignments throughout the course. Include questions relating to these critical subjects on every exam, thus rewarding students for learning, retaining, and, hopefully, applying this knowledge in a variety of contexts.


Rule 2: Provide students with a "visual aid" when possible to explain abstract concepts. A significant proportion of today's’ students are visual learners. For these students, a simple diagram or flowchart truly can be more valuable than a thousand words in a text or a lecture.

Rule 3: Rely on logic when applicable. Point out to students which information is merely "fact" that must be memorized and which course material is based upon "logic." Show students how to employ logical thinking to learn and retain new information. For example, in the double-entry bookkeeping system, "debits" equal "credits," and debit entries cause assets to increase. These are "facts" or features of the system; they are not based on logic. However, once the student accepts the system, logic can be used to operate within the system. Continuing the example, if debit entries increase assets, it is logical that credit entries will cause assets to decrease.

Rule 4: Use in-class activities to reinforce newly presented material. After a new concept or subject has been presented via text reading, lecture, or class discussion, allow the students to put the concept into action by completing an in-class assignment. These assignments can be short, but they must be developed to ensure that the students understand the critical concepts underlying the new material. Typically, the most learning takes place when the students are permitted to work in small groups, to refer to their text and notes, and to ask questions of the instructor while completing the assignment. If these in-class assignments are part of the course grading scheme, class attendance also improves.

Rule 5: Help students create a “link” when teaching something new. If the student can “link” the new material to something already learned, the odds of learning the new material are greatly increased. Examples of possible “links” include: prior material learned in this course (e.g., the critical concepts described in Rule 1), material learned in prerequisite courses, and “real-life” experiences of the students outside the classroom.



Rule 6: Recognize the importance of vocabulary in a course. Students often struggle with new vocabulary in many courses, especially introductory ones. To succeed in these courses, students must become comfortable with the new terminology. As subjects are presented, new and/or confusing terms should be identified and introduced to the students. Present “real-world” definitions and alternative terminology, in addition to textbook definitions. One way to help students assimilate the course vocabulary is to create a “living” glossary on the instructor’ website where new terminology is added, explained, and illustrated throughout the course.

Rule 7: Treat students with respect. Patronizing behavior may be expected in primary school teachers, and “drill sergeant” strategies may be effective in military book camps. However, most college student will not respond well to these techniques. Give students their dignity, and they will give you their best efforts.

Rule 8: Hold students to a high standard. If students are not required to maintain a specified level of learning and performance, only the most highly motivated students will devote the time and effort necessary to learn. In contrast, maintaining high standards not only will motivate student learning, it will also be the source of student feelings of accomplishment when those standards are met.

Each of these rules can help motivate even the most lethargic student, but Rule 7 and 8 are the most important. If students are not treated with respect and held to a high standard, scrupulously following the first six rules will have much less impact and might end up being an exercise in futility.

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