Posted by Kenneth Sloan on July 24, 2002 at 20:34:56:
In Reply to: Your First Time Teaching Lessons posted by MG on July 23, 2002 at 22:13:24:
"Before a student can learn something, he must already almost know it."
This is most important. In order to be a good teacher, you must know what the student already knows - and understand what the *next step* must be. The quickest way to a disconnect is to choose an inappropriate level of detail - usually this means trying to teach something that the student is not (yet) ready for.
Alas, it's not always easy to judge the level of the student. So, it's a good idea to spread things out a bit. Try to "teach" some things that the student will find too easy, some things right at the level your think the student is ready for, and some things that are just beyond the student's reach. Be alert for failure of this strategy, and re-adjust for the next lesson.
Vary the way that you spread out the levels. Usually, the best policy is to start low and increase the level as you move through the lesson. Sometimes (you need to have experience with the student first) it's a good idea to hit them hard at the beginning and then let up (if you guessed right - if you guessed wrong and they eat up the hard stuff...raise the ante!)
Everyone advises you to use the technique "That was very good, but your could improve X". Well, that works most of the time. Be alert for students who are coasting, and don't be afraid to bring them up short when they are being slackers. That's part of the reason for including some "too hard" material in each lesson.
Give them something to feel good about.
Give them something to work at.
Give them something to aspire to.