How to Teach Just About Anything

This wikiHow article will teach a few tips on being an effective teacher (and how to be likable while you're at it). At first it may seem challenging, but this article makes it easy.


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    Make it clear that you're the teacher and you'll be doing the teaching (for the most part). That means that you start with purpose and strength, then relax your "grip" on the class/students.
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    Don't make constant reminders of your power to them; this will only serve to make them dislike you and they'll spend more time hating you than listening to you.
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    Once you've established that you're in charge, make them forget that; treat them like your equals as much as you can without losing control. Give them some free rein. So, if a side-conversation breaks out that's relevant, let it go and pay attention to it (this will clue anyone who's waiting for you to talk to listen as well). This shows you care about your students' opinions.
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    Be clear and consistent. If you've made a mistake, own up. Say everything that's really important twice: This gives anyone who lapsed the first time around a chance to get back into it. (The exception: If they never listen and you're trying to get them to, tell them you're only explaining it once and that after that they have to figure it out for themselves.)
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    Positive reinforcement is always more effective than punishment (i.e. rewards for good work over punishment for bad)
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    Make them understand; instead of plowing through everything, start each new topic/idea by having them tell you what you should be teaching them. This will get them thinking. Ultimately, you want them to continue to learn and understand when you're gone.
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    Make it fun. Be one of the crowd, if possible. You can direct conversation and discussion while it works, then stop it and put your own comments in (try to do it as if you're just participating in the discussion.)
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    Make sure you're confident. That means when you're imposing order, you are loud and very clear that you're imposing order. When you're not, make it clear that you're ready to loosen up and joke around if they want.
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    Make the teaching detailed. Ask your students do they understand. If they don't understand, rephrase or/and repeat your lesson. After all, the job of a teacher is to teach their students.


  • If you're likable, then your students will want to like your classes, too. They'll respect you for it even if they don't, and they won't disrupt you.
  • If you have to lecture, let tactile learners (and anyone else who wants) fiddle. Provide appropriate "fiddles": a bit of play-dough, colored pipe cleaners, etc. Any corporate-oriented training materials catalog will have an array of options, and a bit of creativity will let you supply your learners with similar fiddles without paying for professional materials. Look for things that keep the hands occupied without requiring real concentration or problem-solving.
  • Using peer pressure to your advantage can work, but don't overuse it; you don't want to turn them into a complete conformist.
  • Let your learners take the very short--and free--learning style and multiple-intelligences preferences assessments located at . Have them print their results, and keep the stack handy. Now you have a big hint about how to reach each individual learner.
  • Know your material inside out, so you can focus on your learners' needs, not on your own recall. Present the material in a variety of ways (Google [Howard-Gardner]and/or [multiple-intelligences] for ideas).
  • If you have a trouble-student (see below) make it your personal goal to improve their studies (or whatever it may be). Talk to them personally about what they don't like or what they should be doing. Make it clear that their behavior is unacceptable and that perhaps they don't fully understand their image among their peers.


  • Don't let them run too rampant. Some behaviors have to be reined in when they start, because they're impossible to staunch once they've gotten going. Recognize these early (there will almost certainly be a trouble-student in your class, keep an eye on him always - but as much to compliment him as to stop him from doing something bad)
  • Don't patronize.

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Categories: Teacher Resources | Teaching