Have you ever been in a class or seminar where the students seemed uninterested in learning? How did the teacher or presenter behave? Did they simply keep going through the material or did they do everything they could to engage their students?
A Teacher's Primary Responsibility is to Cause Students to Learn
Unfortunately, many teachers believe that learning is largely the responsibility of the student. They approach teaching as a responsibility to cover content in a systematic way. However, that’s not real teaching! A teacher’s primary responsibility is to cause students to learn. If a student is not learning successfully then they are not being taught well.
5 Simple Ways to Ensure Your Students are Learning
So how do teachers cause students to learn? Here are some simple ways to ensure that your students are learning.
- Be prepared. Knowing your content is crucial. The better you know your material, the easier it is to be aware of your students and observe who is paying attention and who is not. If you’re having to refer to your notes constantly then it becomes difficult to really engage your audience.
- Be willing to adapt. There will be times when your carefully planned lesson simply doesn’t work. At that point, you need to be able to throw the plan out the window and try a new approach. Change teaching styles, take a break, or add in a new activity to switch things up. It’s okay to differ from your original plan! As long as you are prepared and comfortable with your content, this should be fairly easy to do.
- Engage your audience. If you notice a student who is not paying attention, do something to engage him! Tell a personal story, make a joke, ask them a question. Chances are they might not be focused because you’re not addressing their learning style, so throw in an element that will get his attention.
- Reteach if necessary. Too often teachers keep covering new content, even if their students fail to master concepts. Your assessments (they can be formal or informal) should be guiding your instruction. If you realise that your students are not grasping the concepts you teach after assessing them, then reteach or clarify.
- Reflect. It is good practice to “grade” yourself after the end of each class or seminar. Think about what went well and how you can improve next time. Remember, your job as a teacher is to enable your students to learn. If your students are struggling, then you need to change what you are doing to ensure success.
Students that learn better will return for more education again and again. More investment in your students will pay huge dividends to your training business or internal training department, so make sure you don't skimp on this important responsibility!