I know I'm not the only pedagogy geek who went bananas over seeing the art and science of teaching reach the masses via this article in The Cut last week.
If you haven't read it, it's well worth your time. For those of you who want to zone in directly on Warren's teaching tips and insights, I took the liberty of compiling them here.
In the words of Austin Kleon, "Step 1: Wonder at something. Step 2: Invite others to wonder with you." Here goes the wondering.
Warren's Teaching Tips
1. Don't do all the talking. Ask questions. Create space for your students to speak and think.
A couple of caveats I want to attach to this tip:
2. Simplify and clarify.
Patient and plainspoken. I love this. Ditch the academic speak. We know you're smart. But can you convey complex ideas in a simple manner? That's the mark of an expert teacher.
3. Respect your students (a.k.a. your fellow human beings).
They are human beings first, students second. Treat them with respect. We can be experts without denying our students' own expertise. My students know a lot of things that I don't know. I always identify myself as both a teacher and a student in our classroom. I am always learning too.
4. Meet students where they are, and then nudge them outside of those comfort zones.
Find that magical balance between challenge and support. Get to know your students. Believe in them.
P.S. Someone has read her Vygotsky and I'm #hereforit.
5. Learning takes place in the brain, but it involves a hell of a lot of heart.
The brain is the primary organ of learning. We, as teachers, should have a basic understanding of how the brain works. This brain-based awareness should not strip our work of its heart, however. The best teachers capitalize on the power of emotions to support teaching and learning.
6. Partner well.
If you're planning on doing this thing called life with a partner who's a teacher, a teaching observation should precede any long-term commitments. Obviously.
7. Declare your teaching mission statement.
How do you define great teaching? I think it's important that we speak that aloud, write it down, and share it with others.
8. Teach all students how to participate.
We have to get creative about getting all students to participate. If we rely on those who raise their hand when we ask questions, we're going to hear from the most confident voices. This only serves to reinforce existing inequalities. Use small groups or one-on-one partner exercises to build students' confidence, and then, over time, challenge the quieter voices to speak in larger groups.
9. It's not rocket science.
The best teaching tips that I've ever heard have been simple and not terribly time-consuming. I love this strategy of Warren's. Compile frequently asked questions, whether from office hours or student emails, and distribute to the class.
10. Great teaching is a journey, not a destination.
A cliche? Absolutely. Also true.
Lecturing at students can often feel safer at first — easier. To me, the willingness to try new strategies is the mark of a great teacher. And then to try again. And again. And again.
I write about higher education.