There are some principles of effective teaching that can be applied in virtually any educational situation. However, you'll need to implement them differently, based on whether you're leading a first grade classroom, teaching a neighbor a new skill, homeschooling your children, or teaching a business seminar.

Develop an understanding of the topics you'll be teaching. You have to know more than your students do if you're going to present material to them. In addition, you should be willing to admit when you don't know the answer to a question. Help the student research the answer if possible, or look it up on your own and answer it later.

Earn the trust and respect of your students. This is essential to getting them to listen to what you have to say and follow your guidance. Try to connect with students on an appropriately personal level. In a school setting, this can be as simple as asking a child about his pets after class. It may be harder, but even more important, to do with resistant students.

Understand your students' learning styles. Moreover, tailor your teaching methods to them as much as possible. This is much easier in a small group or one-on-one than it is in a classroom, but it can still be done. Provide visual, auditory, and hands-on activities to meet your students' needs. Have a variety of tools and resources available to them.

Provide individual attention to students. This is the best way to assess their levels of understanding and find out which ones are having problems and why. Individual guidance can also help to keep advanced students from getting bored if they're provided with more challenging activities.

Learn and implement positive methods. This will keep the classroom environment running smoothly. Keep learning materials organized. Have a plan in mind and, in a classroom, make sure that students know what's expected of them. It's much more difficult to learn in a disorderly environment. Try to handle disruptive students in a positive manner, and figure out what the underlying issues are.

Be willing to change your schedule to meet the needs of students. People of all ages learn much more easily when they're both interested in and ready to learn about a subject. Don't be afraid to let them take the lead, if possible. Get creative and have fun with the material.


  • Students learn better when they're motivated internally, such as by their own curiosity, rather than by punishments and rewards.

    A teacher's enthusiasm or boredom in the subject is usually obvious to students, and it's likely to "rub off" on them.