Teaching is a complicated, multidimensional job that frequently requires us to manage several duties and objectives at the same time while being flexible. The concepts listed below may help us establish circumstances that promote student learning while reducing the need to revise resources, content, and rules, making teaching more effective and efficient. While putting these ideas into practice takes time and work up front, it frequently pays off in the long run by saving time and energy.

Obtaining relevant information about students and utilizing that knowledge to influence our course design and classroom instruction is an important part of effective teaching[1].

Effective teaching

We don’t simply teach the material when we educate; we also teach the content to the pupils. Learning may be influenced by a number of factors. Students’ cultural and generational backgrounds, for example, affect how they view the world; disciplinary backgrounds influence how they approach issues; and students’ previous knowledge (including correct and erroneous parts) influences new learning.

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Although we cannot adequately measure all of these characteristics, gathering the most relevant data as early in the course planning process as possible and continuing to do so throughout the semester can (a) inform course design (e.g., decisions about objectives, pacing, examples, and format), (b) help explain student difficulties (e.g., identification of common misconceptions), and (c) guide instructional ad hoc (e.g., recognition of the need for additional practice).

Learning goals, assessments, and instructional activities

Investing the time now will save you time later on and result in a better course. When (a) we, as instructors, articulate a clear set of learning objectives (i.e., the knowledge and skills that we expect students to demonstrate by the end of a course); (b) the instructional activities (e.g., case studies, labs, discussions, readings) support these learning objectives by providing goal-oriented practise; and (c) the assimilation of these learning objectives is supported by the assimilation of these learning objectives by the assimilation of these learning objectives by the as

Learning goals and policies

What is expected of pupils in American schools, and even within a single subject, varies dramatically. What constitutes proof, for example, may vary significantly across courses; what is acceptable cooperation in one course may be deemed cheating in another. As a consequence, the expectations of pupils may differ from our own. As a result, being specific and unambiguous about our objectives helps kids learn more and perform better. Our learning goals (i.e., the information and abilities we want students to show by the conclusion of a course) provide students with a concrete goal to work toward and allow them to track their progress along the way. Similarly, making course rules clear in the syllabus and in class (for example, on class participation, laptop usage, and late assignments) enables us to settle disagreements early and reduces potential conflicts and tensions. Overall, being clear helps kids learn more effectively. More on how having defined learning goals may help kids learn better. (pdf)

Prioritizing the information and abilities

Coverage is your adversary: Don’t attempt to cram too much into a single class. Too many subjects are detrimental to student learning, therefore we must make tough choices about what to include and exclude from a course. This entails (a) identifying the course’s characteristics (e.g., class size, students’ backgrounds and experiences, course location in the curriculum sequence, number of course units), (b) prioritising student learning, and (c) establishing a set of goals that may be realistically achieved.

Identifying and overcoming our expert blind spots

Our pupils are not us! We frequently skip or combine important stages while teaching since we as experts tend to access and use information naturally and subconsciously (e.g., establish connections, draw on relevant bodies of knowledge, and select suitable methods). Students, on the other hand, lack the necessary knowledge and experience to make these jumps, and as a result, they may get confused, draw erroneous conclusions, or fail to acquire key abilities. They need teachers who can break activities down into individual stages, explain linkages clearly, and model processes in depth. Though it may be difficult for experts to do so, we must identify and clearly convey to students the information and abilities we take for granted, so that students may see expert thinking in action and experience applying it themselves.

Support our learning objectives

Despite the fact that students are ultimately accountable for their own learning, the responsibilities we play as instructors are crucial in influencing students’ thinking and behaviour. In our classrooms, we may play a number of roles (e.g., synthesizer, moderator, challenger, commentator). These roles should be selected to complement the instructional activities while also serving the learning goals. If the goal is for students to be able to evaluate arguments from a case or written material, for example, the most effective teacher role could be to structure, lead, and regulate a conversation. If the goal is to assist students learn to defend their views or creative choices while presenting their work, our job could be to push them to explain their choices and explore other points of view. Depending on the semester’s learning goals, such positions may be continuous or changing.

Effective teaching

Adapting to new situations in the classroom is necessary. We must constantly evaluate our instruction and be willing to make adjustments as needed (e.g., something is not working, we want to try something new, the student population has changed, or there are emerging issues in our fields). Examining relevant data on our own teaching efficacy is required to determine what to change and how to improve it. Much of this information is already available (for example, student work, prior semesters’ course ratings, dynamics of class participation), but we may need to seek further input with the assistance of the university teaching center (e.g., interpreting early course evaluations, conducting focus groups, designing pre- and posttests). We may change a course’s learning goals, content, structure, or format based on this information, or we might alter our teaching in some other way. Small, deliberate adjustments that are motivated by feedback and our priorities are the most likely to be doable and successful.


[1]        Carver, “Learning Principles – Carnegie Mellon University,” 1990. Accessed: Sep. 18, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/principles/teaching.html.


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