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|Teaching 101; July 19, 2009|
|Topic Started: Dec 24 2009, 05:00 PM (176 Views)|
|Salavoir55||Dec 24 2009, 05:00 PM Post #1|
Official Team Rater
Here is some stuff I've learned from teaching and tutoring in real life. Some of it is more or less obvious, but hopefully, this will help some of you to learn how to teach well. Of course, part of teaching is natural ability, but there are a few pointers I can give which anyone can do.
1) Be honest. This is such an important point. If you are not completely honest with your student, how can he or she improve? Part of improving involves criticism. Part of criticism, though, is noting both the good and the bad. Make sure your student knows when he or she has done something right as well as when he or she has done something wrong. However, you're more than a critic; you're a teacher. This leads to...
2) Be encouraging. This one is harder and takes some getting used to. How can you mix criticism with encouragement? Well, for one never deride your student. Do not flame or insult your student. Try to avoid negative sounding words and/or sentences. For example, instead of, "You're wrong." try saying, "Not quite right." There are many other phrases, but you'll have to find them. This 'non-negativism' is more important for younger students then older ones, but it still helps. Being encouraging is so important that the next two rules deal with it. One rule of thumb which can help with this is to be your student's friend while teaching. Of course, there is a time to be bluntly negative such as if your student starts becoming arrogant, but in most cases, it isn't necessary to be negative. Also, part of being encouraging is not being arrogant yourself.
3) State the good news first. This one can be extremely difficult to accomplish, especially when it seems your student has done nothing right. However, chances are that there is something right the student did amidst the wrong. Part of being an encouraging teacher is to state the good first, then state what the student did wrong (after which, of course, you give suggestions to your student for improvement or tell your student how to avoid that wrong again). For some strange reason, humans seem to remember what you say first more than what you say later, so if you praise your student for what he or she did right first, he or she will not feel as discouraged as when you say what he or she did wrong first. Not to mention, that humans will often forget the good they did amongst the bad if you state the bad first.
For example, let's say that in a battle your student uses Bullet Punch twice in a row with CB Scizor despite knowing that you have CS Magnezone--the Scizor is obviously outsped and KOed by the Magnezone switch-in to the second Bullet Punch. In the same battle though, your student conserves his or her lead Starmie's health which prevents you from sweeping with MixMence in the late-game. You win the battle anyways. After the battle you would say something like, "Great job on conserving your Starmie's health! If you had not done that, then the battle would have been over very quickly. Not everyone remembers to save his or her lead Starmie for later, and it isn't always an easy task. However, you could have won if you hadn't left Scizor in against Heatran. You could have easily Bullet Punched my endgame sweeper and won the game otherwise. Remember that you need to be careful with your Scizor--or any steels for that matter--when you know your opponent has a Magnezone, especially if your steel cannot handle it. You shouldn't have left Scizor in so long on a not-very-effective move for Magnezone. You probably should have U-Turned."
4) Praise what your student does right. I already gave an example of this in #3, so this should be obvious. Don't point out faults all day; compliment your student for his or her strengths too! Being encouraging while being honest is one of the things which separates a teacher from a critic. In doing this, it is helpful to prevent monotony by gathering a list of words for praise and vary them. That way, you don't sound like a robot. If your student does something right, don't say "Good job" over and over again. But "Good job", "Cool", "Excellent", "Well done", "Good show", "Great", "Awesome", etc. The same goes for when you must point out your student's faults, but this was implied in #2 with an example, so I won't go into it more here.
5) Be patient. This is potentially the hardest of all. Whatever you do, no matter how hard it is, make sure you do not lose your patience. Fortunately, because this is the internet, it is possible to lose your patience but not show it. So do not show that you are annoyed or frustrated. That will just annoy or frustrate your student and discourage him or her. Being patient includes tolerating your student's potentially slow progress. Remember that all students progress at different rates. Being patient also includes answering any honest questions your student asks until he or she understands it, no matter how simple it may seem to you.
6) Be alert. This one is not for everyone and takes some practice. You need to be alert and detect your student's needs whether it is a kind word or starting a team from scratch. If your student is getting frustrated, it might be a good idea to have him or her do or think about something else for a while. It is important that you always are aware of your student's advancement in learning and to know how your student learns so that you can teach in the best manner possible. Some students need more attention then others. Some need to battle more while some need to read more. Also, be alert to see if your student understands what you are teaching. A simple, "Do you understand?" is often sufficient. Good communication is important and so...
7) Do not repeat yourself too much. This means that if your student is not getting something one way, don't say it again. Try using an example or analogy. Try explaining it in a different way. Try starting off simple and build on that to your original explanation. However, if you're student doesn't understand what you said once, chances are he or she won't understand you at all no matter how often you repeat yourself. It's like shouting slowly to a native Spanish speaker, "DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?" No matter how loud or how slow you say "Do you speak English", the speaker will not get it unless he or she speaks English. The trick is to say it in a way he or she understands, "Habla ingles?"
8) Be communicative. Use proper grammar and spelling. Use examples and analogies where appropriate. Good communication is transferring what you're thinking through words so that the other person thinks the same thing. So use what you know your student knows to help communicate properly. This includes vocabulary. And of course, do not be the only one talking. Give your student some time to respond and to speak. If your student goes off topic, let him or her do so for a while before bringing him or her back to what you were talking about.
9) Be creative. Part of this was covered already, but the main thing is to keep your teaching from being dry and boring. Vary the words in your writing, and try to keep your student from doing something standard. For example, when EV practice comes, instead of having your student find a spread for standard CB Scizor, have him or her find a spread for Claydol =p. The possibilities are endless for creativity, but it is harder than being monotonous and boring.
10) Be knowledgeable. A simple statement, really. You shouldn't be teaching if you don't know enough to teach it! And I don't mean know a little, you should show a lot. That is hardly a quantifiable statement, but you should be knowledgeable enough that your sentences drip with knowledge. When explaining something, you should not just be able to explain the bare bones, but you should be able to explain so much more than that. For example, instead of just telling your student what a jump point is, you should tell that, tell how and why they work mathematically, tell a little history about them, and tell how relatively useless they are. And that should come natural to you. If it doesn't, then you shouldn't be teaching.
However, there is one thing anyone can do to be knowledgeable: do research. This is knowledgeable in a different sense than before and anyone can attain it. Instead of saying, "I don't know" say, "I'll look it up and tell you later." Of course, make sure that you do actually tell your student the answer later! Also, you should do research to be prepared for your lessons and chats with your student which may contain questions like those I mentioned in rule 5 as well as plain obscure questions. Make sure that when you say "Standard DD Mence uses Outrage" you know that and know that you know it is true (In this case, a combination of Smogon and Shoddy Statistics would constitute your "research."). Note that a paradoxical thing about teaching is that the teacher learns too.
Hopefully, all of these will make you better teachers, and perhaps, if you know a lot but did not know how to teach, this will allow you to do it.
Credit to Rezon for the banner.
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