Ten Teaching Rules

As a teacher of computers and computer science for forty years, I feel I can list the test most important rules about teaching. They may not apply to all forms of teaching but, I feel, I can offer them for teaching scientific material. The rules that follow are not in any special order. They are all important. You are the one who determines which is the most important at any given moment.

1 Know the material. You need to fully understand at least twice as much as you plan to teach. The more you know the better.

2. Have a good command of the English language. You can’t afford to be vague about what you’ll be telling student.

3. Know your students’ names. Make this a personal experience for students. Have them understand that they are persons to you, not just faces in an audience.

4. Learn, at least, a little of what they already know about the subject and why they are taking your course.

5. Present material at about one-third the speed that you might, at first, believe is needed. This is all new to students and they require a little time for it to be absorbed.

6. Know your students. Begin at a point that is comfortable to at least ninety percent of your audience. Define or review terms you will be starting with.

7. Repeat important points frequently. Use different words than you did the first time if necessary. Use examples to illustrate your points.

8. Watch your students to ensure that they are understanding what you’re saying. If you see puzzled faces, back off, resume at some point where students are with you.

9. Be open to questions. Questions often reveal something you may have not explained or not fully explained.

10. Exercise patience. Never show annoyance over someone not understanding or not understanding readily enough.

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