Friday, November 21, 2008



The article highlights basically about effective teaching and motivating and inspiring students to learn well. It speaks of the role of teacher like how many hats the teacher dons during this profession, various styles of teaching and the skills involved in teaching. It also focuses on the teaching methodologies and strategies by which a teacher can motivate and inspire students. Ability to provide feedback to the students and the ability to evaluate the teaching process is explained. It concludes with a message that a student has the breadth of knowledge in all disciplines and a teacher has the depth of knowledge of a particular domain or discipline and that makes the difference between the both.


Introduction, Role of Teacher, Teaching Styles, Teaching Skills, Teaching Methodology, Motivating Students, Teaching Evaluation & Conclusion.

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." - William Ward


Teaching is an art and it is not a child’s play. It requires passion to teach students. Having mere knowledge to impart is not enough. What is needed is the ability to understand the role of teacher, the styles of teaching, teaching methodologies and strategies, correct usage of evaluation techniques, the psychology of the students and the ability to motivate the students. When a teacher knows all these things properly he or she can become not only an excellent teacher but also a great leader thereby transferring the knowledge, experience, skills and abilities from one generation to another generation through students. In this context, let us first see the role of teacher.


Every teacher dons many a hat. He teaches the subject or topic and imparts knowledge to the students. That is the primary role and responsibility of the teacher. He also acts as a friend, philosopher, guide, parent and facilitator. He is a continuous learner and an excellent listener. The more he listens the more he learns and the more he learns then the more he teaches. That is why it is said that the teachers are life long learners and their learning is from cradle to grave.


Teaching styles can be categorized is as: formal authority, demonstrator or personal model, facilitator and delegator.

In the Formal authority, the prepared content is delivered by the teacher to the students according to the syllabus. In this style the interaction is the least, delivery of the content is the most. No bridges are built with the students. It is just delivered formally by the teacher.

In the second style of Demonstrator the teacher demonstrates to the students empirically so that students can comprehend and learn easily. For solving any mathematical problem the teacher just uses the formula and solves the problem and asks the students to solve other problems. Similarly the technical students can learn in the laboratory the methodology by way of demonstration by the teacher so that the students can learn and apply the same.

In the third style of Facilitator the teacher encourages the students to involve in their activities like role plays thus facilitating learning environment. Here the students learn themselves and the teacher only facilitates in the learning environment. This is often meant for independent learners. The trainers usually apply this style so as to equip skills and abilities to the trainees.

In the fourth style of Delegator, teacher gives tasks to the students and asks them to execute their tasks either individually or collectively by forming groups. The students are provided with various options to choose of their own. The students learn by themselves as the teacher has given freedom to learn by delegating.

We can not rush to conclusion that particular teaching style is proper and appropriate. It all depends on the nature of the teacher, then the profile of the students, the discipline and the situation and occasion that makes sense of a usage of a specific style of teaching.


Teaching is a skill not a talent. Anybody and everybody can cultivate this skill. Before teaching in the class it is necessary to profile the level of the students and find out what are their requirements, expectations and aspirations. Once this is done effectively then the content has to be created keeping all those points in view.

First and foremost it is essential to have clarity of the concept. Once it is formed and framed properly then look at the suitability and relevance of the same for the students. All efforts should be made to ensure that the content is relevant and appropriate to the students.

Structuring and sequencing the content should be proper with chronological order with key concepts and examples and anecdotes. It all comes under organizing the course content in a methodological manner.

It is aptly said, “People remember 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50% of what they hear and see and 80% of what they hear, see and do”. While teaching, the teacher’s oral language should be supported by the usage of blackboard or power point presentations, or cue cards. There has to be effective coordination between these two for effective teaching. It makes the students to concentrate effectively. If students fail to understand the oral language then the black board writing material will come to their rescue for better understanding and retention. The teacher while using the black board should not spend too much time towards black board as it loses the touch with the students. There has to be a fine balance between these two elements.

After ensuring the right combination between these two the third element is the involvement of the students into the teaching process by questioning and by interacting with them. Once the students are involved then it helps in better retention. Role-plays or demonstrations will have far reaching effects towards better teaching. Story telling is an art and if the teacher narrates good stories which are message oriented and theme oriented then the students will pay more attention and listen effectively. Besides giving the subjective knowledge it also helps them develop good character. Socratic Method as a tool of teaching is very interesting for the students. When students pose any questions the teacher should teach them by providing answers usually generated from their questions by way of introspection and deep grilling. It also helps the students to unlock their hidden potential.

To put it succinctly the teaching skills vary from person to person depending on his or her style, nature and also it depends on the domain, topic and on the profile of the students. There is no fixed or regimented teaching formula in teaching skills.


'It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts... it is to teach them to think, if that is possible, and always to think for themselves.' --- Robert Hutchins

During teaching the teacher should adopt various tools and techniques towards effective teaching. The teacher can start the topic with an interesting or shocking or an inspiring events or happenings. It is also good if the teaching process is started with a short story to arouse interest among the students. If the teacher takes the class for the first time, breaking the ice by asking about the profile of the students is better. If the classes are conducted routinely then it desirable to question the students by asking them about what was discussed in the previous sessions thus linking the previous sessions with the present sessions. It helps in breaking the ice and helps in connecting the students naturally to the present thereby making a smooth move.

Once the ice has been broken then gradually the teacher should deliver the content by maintaining equal eye contact with all students. It helps the teacher to gauge the body language of the students. If any unfavorable signals are noticed then the teacher need to explain the same once again and again gauge their body language. If it is favorable then the teacher can proceed further. If the body language of the students is still not favorable then the teacher has to revise his style of teaching style to suit the students. Once it is okay then the teacher should pose questions intermittently to draw the attention of the students. Giving adequate pauses during teaching helps the students understand better as they can paraphrase the delivered contents and the teaching process should go on in this way.

The teacher should keep reserve stuff ready incase if the content is dried up or if the teacher is run out of content. The reserve stuff will help the teaching process go on smoothly and it does not affect the students. If the reserve stuff is not ready then the teacher should involve students more by way of questioning and interaction. The teacher should encourage the students to shoot questions related to the topic. It helps students to be active in their learning process as well as it helps them to think deeper and better.

During the teaching process the teacher should be cool and composed and should ensure that the students are aroused with enthusiasm and interest. It is the students who should get excited with teaching not the teacher himself or herself.


A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron. ~Horace Mann

Motivating students is not a child’s play and it is indeed a Herculean task. The teacher has to motivate and inspire the students by being a role model and through various innovative and creative teaching methods. Here is the way how a teacher can motivate and inspire the students:

First of all, it is necessary to know the names of the students as it creates a type of affinity and bonding with the students. Everyone loves to be recognized by his name and called. The sweetest thing in the world is to be called someone by his or her name. This is just the beginning of building bridges and rapport with the students.

Find out what motivates the students and what are their aspirations and expectations from the teacher. Every teacher is knowledgeable and is strong in his domain. But that alone does not work out. What works out is the ability to find the needs of the students and deliver the same. In this process it is necessary to gauge the pulse of the students. The needs of every student are different. The knack involved is to find out the same and cater the same effectively and efficiently.

The teacher should have energy levels and demonstrate the same during teaching. This helps the students to get interested in the topic and encourages being involved in the teaching process.

During the delivery of the content the flow has to be lively, smooth and natural filled with real life examples and the rags to riches stories. This helps them to think in a big way, enhances their imagination levels and then they try to touch their upper points. The thought process has to be chronological interconnecting various ideas with smooth transitions. It helps them to understand the content better and there will be least possibility for raising doubts.

Set goals in such a way that the goals are realistic and achievable. It helps them to attempt the goals and move further thereby building their confidence levels. Once they reach their goals appreciate them and set bigger goals where they find the same challenging and stimulating.

Giving feedback continuously helps the students to improve themselves. It is necessary to offer praise immediately and instantly when they achieve something and that too in public as it boosts their self-esteem. In case if the feedback to be given is negative it is proper to call privately and offer the same. And while giving negative feedback it is essential to depersonalize the same. The intention is to attack the issue not the individual. The object is to attack the behavior of the individuals not the individual themselves as it offends them. Even in this, it is proper to provide sandwich feedback. That is start the sentences with positive then in the middle attack the negative behavior and then close the sentence with positive words.

Writing on the blackboard daily with a motivational quote will help the students to break the ice and to get motivated. When such quotes are given daily to the students it sends right signals and fills their mind with intellectual and inspirational inputs and it will help in having everlasting impact in the minds of the students.

Start the class with a motivational story as it conveys morals and also inspires them. We humans love to listen stories and story telling is an art every teacher has to master so as to cater to the students. Along with the story the topic can be discussed. Often storytelling breaks the ice and initiates the teaching process.

Conduct quizzes, debates and brain storming sessions depending upon the profile of the students. It creates informal learning environment and also promotes healthy competition among the students. It brings you closer to the students. It gives extra knowledge and information apart from the knowledge related to the curriculum. Giving small prizes to the winners and some consolation prizes to others will encourage other students to participant in such activities. All these activities will help in creating binding and bonding with the students forever.

The teacher has equally challenging role in motivating the dull or shy or introvert students. The teacher should regularly put in the extra efforts that are needed to focus on these students especially. The teacher should encourage this segment of students to talk and then listen to them fully. In this world there are few people who allow others to talk and the majority of the people talk about themselves. When the teacher encourages such students to talk then they would be happy to open up their minds and gradually streamlined along with other bright and active students.

Empathize with the students by stepping into their shoes. Understand what their needs and wants and drives and motives. Listen to them carefully and then proceed towards motivating and inspiring them.

Be warm and friendly and go extra mile. Call them personally to your personal cabin and talk to them closely what they want and what else extra they would like to learn. Despite constraints give them your best so that they revere you forever.

It is improper to compare one student with another as it creates divisions among the students. It leads to ego clashes among the students. Everyone is unique in this world. Even twins are not alike. Then how can we expect all students alike or how can we compare one student with another?

The teacher needs to sympathize the students who fail in the examinations. The teacher should encourage such students by helping them in realizing their hidden potential. There is a need to diagnose the reasons of failure and help the students to avert such failure and to overcome the drawbacks in their learning methods.


Teacher can evaluate either by observing the body language of the students or by asking informally the students outside the class. Instead of posing how the teaching style and process the teacher can ask the students whether they are any suggestions for improvement or if there are further requirements. It helps in finding out the gaps existing the teaching process or methodology. If the same question is posed in the class the students may not respond in the presence of all. For effective evaluation it is always better to mix up with the students informally and take their feedback. Even if the students come out with negative feedback it should not be taken personally but should be taken for professional improvement. Continuous feedback is essential from students especially from informal discussions.


A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others. ~Author Unknown

Teaching is the noblest profession. It is the teacher who connects the knowledge from one generation to another generation through students. If the teacher possesses the depth of the knowledge in one domain then the students posses the breadth of the knowledge in various domains and that makes the difference between the teacher and students. The teacher shapes and moulds the characters of the students by teaching. One cannot expect huge money in this profession but one can expect great respect and regards. The amount of satisfaction is indeed immense when taught with passion. When teacher goes extra mile with extra efforts by motivating and inspiring the students then his or her role as a teacher is priceless and timeless. We can conclude that great teachers are not born in the minds of the students but they are born in the hearts of the students.



Anonymous said...

great article thanks

Anonymous said...

Its v well written and great help for us teachers pl keep us posted with latest english teaching techiniques I live in pakistan and teach underprivil aged chilldren ur knowledge would be great help thanks and regards