I met up with a great friend of mine over the weekend: Tom Faiers. Tom is one of the most inspiring teachers that I know. The way that he teaches his subject is incredible as he understands how to connect with every single student in a way that very few teachers actually do.
I came away from our conversation thinking to myself that teaching is not difficult. Teaching is the art of facilitating and sharing knowledge.
Think back to a stage at school when you were in a lesson counting down the minutes until it finished. Why did you want to leave that lesson in such a hurry? Was the teacher teaching in a style that was routine and boring? Was he or she teaching in the way they were taught at school?
The art of teaching is straightforward. As a teacher you must connect and inspire your students. If you achieve that, your students will feel motivated and enthused. If you don’t achieve that, then the chances are your students will be watching the clock, and not retaining anything that you share with them.
Tom is also organised in his lesson planning and preparation. He now has about four years of material that he uses and revises to suit the learning styles of his students. This means that he is able to focus on the other important areas of his teaching. Tom mentioned to me on Saturday that he is currently studying the importance of mindfulness and that a couple of schools in the UK are devoting time to this aspect of learning. This made me think. Why has it taken so long for such an initiative to come out? As a teacher and exam technique expert, this is exactly what I have been championing for so many years. I have routinely visited and trained students in this very skill.
I recently visited the American School in London where they have been focusing on mindfulness and exam technique (in the way that it should be taught!) for years. No wonder so many of their students go on to attend the finest universities both nationally and internationally. I was blown away by the quality of teaching on offer at the school. They echo the principles that really matter when it comes to learning.
If you want to excel in your academic studies, then focus solely on your learning. By completing homework with minimum effort, and ignoring exam technique, you are doing yourself a disservice. In order to become a GREAT student, you need to think of your study as a whole. Very few schools in the UK actually focus on exam technique as a science. In this respect, they often leave one of the most important areas to chance.
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