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Art of Teaching
Author:Zhaobao Zheng  Date:2014-04-22  Clicks:

As the ancients said, the primary role of teachers is to instruct disciples and solve their problems. Nowadays, the expansion of knowledge capacity, the blending of different professional disciplines and the diversification of modern people’s access to information have gradually changed the original identity of teachers. Teachers no longer adopt didactic strategies but take advantage of science teaching methods to instruct their students. This is in fact, the art of teaching. Today, I would like to talk about this art based on my own teaching experience.

Teaching content is the critical yardstick for evaluating a course. For many teachers, it is not difficult to finish basic teaching task. However, our investigation shows that most students hope their teachers would teach them “how to fish”, such as how to apply booklore to solving practical problems. Therefore, teachers are required to integrate theoretical knowledge with practice, such as analyzing specific examples in daily life and solving students’ familiar problems. By doing so, both students’ understanding and memorization of what have been taught can be strengthened.

Moreover, teachers should also associate their knowledge with the actual subject which students major in. For example, mathematics is set up as a basic subject in almost hundreds of majors in our university, from arts to science, from engineering to medical science. However, every major uses mathematics to different degrees in their various professional knowledge backgrounds and application areas. We have made a survey on the quality of Math instruction as a commonly required course however the end results are less than satisfactory. Students are found lacking interest in learning Maths for their unawareness of Maths implication in practical life, and it is mainly because Maths teachers seldom consider the characteristics of different majors in their teaching. Thus, teachers for public courses should set explicit pedagogical goals according to students’ different disciplinary backgrounds and make most of specific teaching techniques, such as combining instruction with daily life examples.

For those majors closely related to mathematics, teachers should be aware of the connection between two different subjects. For instance, when giving a lecture on differential formula, teachers should instruct the students of its specific implication in their future studies. Meanwhile, teachers should also be conscious of three basic requirements of classroom organization — clear oral expression, vivid PPT presentation, and fine blackboard writing. Moreover, didactic teaching should be absolutely avoided. Besides well-prepared teaching content and well-organized teaching format, teachers should be careful of other details as well.

Teachers had better not start their lectures directly with their main content but should retrospect the previous chapter and later mention the next chapter. Besides, difficult and key points in lectures need be repeatedly emphasized and students’ grasp of knowledge should also be tested by various approaches.

Interaction is the most frequently-applied technique in the classroom. However, many teachers mistake interaction for performance in class and think that question-and-answer system expresses the highest performance in teaching. Nevertheless, without fully understanding what has been taught, students actually cannot respond to teachers’ questions. Therefore, teachers should take into consideration the emotion of students, whether they can follow the lecture and have a clear acquisition of the teaching content.

Learning is endless, so a 45-minute lecture is obviously not enough for students. In order to make student learn more about the course, some teachers talk at a quick pace without taking breaks in the class, which actually reflects their deficiency in pedagogical organization. However, if they had prepared their course as concise and logical one with salient focus, their lecture will be effective and efficient.

(translated by Chunhua Mei, edited by Diana)

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