Teaching Tips and Suggestions

We’ve compiled some tips to help make your session awesome!

Before the Session
  • Agree on a goal. That means finding out what the student already knows and determining what the student can reasonably learn or know how to do once the session is over.
  • Make a plan. Keeping in mind what your student does and doesn’t know, try to break the main goal down into three or four smaller goals. Then outline your steps for how you’ll get from one mini-goal to the next.
  • Anticipate challenges. Think back to when you first learned what you’re teaching. What about it was hard for you? What could throw off someone doing it for the first time. Try to come up with two or three different ways of approaching these problem areas.
  • Bonus: Make a handout. Depending on what you’re teaching, a single, well-made handout is worth a thousand words. Try to make the handout visual and easy to scan for the important information. A handout could contain the chord progression for “Smoke on the Water,” an illustrated, step-by-step guide for how to remove tattoos in Photoshop, or a table of irregular Spanish verb conjugations. You want the handout to be a helpful resource during the lesson and to jog the student’s memory afterwards.

At the Beginning of the Session
  • Set the student at ease. At HelpWith, we think that establishing personal connections is a crucial part of learning. It’s what makes us part of a community. So start off by getting to know your student a bit. Ask them questions.
  • Show interest in them. Try to get a sense of why they want to learn this skill and how she learns best.
  • Agree on agenda and goals. While your student should feel in control over what they going to learn, you need to be in control of the HOW. Starting off with an overview of what you intend to cover - and what skills you anticipate the student will be able to leave with - will help you gain the students’ confidence. It also gives the student a final opportunity to tweak that agenda if there’s something new they want to add or if they want to shift the focus slightly.

During the Session
  • Be Flexible. Having a plan is great. Knowing when to chuck it is even better.
  • Empathize. It’s really easy to get frustrated when a student gets hung up on something that seems really simple. Try empathizing with your student’s difficulty. If it helps, try to remember what it was like when you were first learning and how hard some of these concepts seemed to you then.

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