I have two key points to good teaching and learning.
The first is that everybody has to feel there is purpose to what they’re doing, the educators and the students. The educators have to come with a sense of purpose but you’ve got to remember that the students aren’t necessarily going to have that.
It’s really important that the educator shows the students there is purpose in what they’re doing. When I’m teaching my students, I’m not just asking them to jump through hoops because I am a tyrant and I love doing that to students, to then just read their work and cover it in red pen.
What I’m teaching them is to choose one side of an argument and persuade me that that is the right argument and to convince me by backing up what they’re saying with evidence that I can’t argue with.
Looking at the counter argument, for example, because if they don’t, I’ll say, “Well, haven’t you thought about this? If you thought about it and mentioned how it’s not as convincing as the last point, then your argument’s going to be stronger”.
I love to show them how these are things are going to be really useful in their future lives and careers.
And the second thing that is absolutely crucial to teaching, and which is part of what I really enjoy about education, is relationships.
This is what makes really good tutors, getting to know your students as well as you possibly can. Partly that is knowing the kind of person they are and the kind of things they like doing so that you’ve got points of conversation.
But it’s also about understanding how they learn, what motivates them, what their pitfalls are so that you can provide for them before they even hit them, to give them confidence.
The more you know them, even just using someone’s name when you speak to them, the more powerful the connection is because it makes them feel like you’re invested in them and as soon as they feel that you’re invested in them, they feel like you care.
They care that you care.
They want to perform for you because they know that you’re interested in them and that you’re motivated by them making progress.