Teaching is an invaluable skill used throughout humanity, which has had infinite impacts on all of our lives. It has been the method for which all information, experience, skills, technology, religion, past times, games, anything that you could think of, is transferred or passed from generation to generation.
The concept of passing on information and experience on to another, is something which we've all done and understand. Although we associate teaching mainly to our primary school or highschool teachers, the act of 'teaching' in itself transcends all wakes of life, from father to son, from sensei to student, from professional to apprentice, or from friend to friend.
Despite the skill being so prominent and widely practised, not everybody is a good teacher... So the question is, what makes a good teacher?
Teaching is a skill in which we can enthusiastically help others, to see, do, or be what we already understand and are capable of... and more...
What makes a good teacher, in my opinion, is the possession of three main skills: the ability to simplify whatever it is you are teaching, into an effective and efficient form, the ability to be patient, and the ability to understand human behaviour and what motivates people to do particular things.
KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. I'm pretty sure we've all heard the phrase. The first and most important skill to have a as a good teacher is the ability to express what you are teaching in solid, and simple fundamentals to the other person.
When you go to learn martial arts, basketball, mathematics or anything, what's the first thing you learn? That's right. The fundamentals or the basics. But it's not always easy to make things simple, as sometimes the thing that you are teaching is extremely complex, such as, like (in my opinion) how to shoot the basketball. A great teacher can turn something as complex as shooting into: 1,2,3 here's how you do it. They ultimately, help the learner to conceptualize the process and bridge the gap between not knowing and owning.
2. Unlimited Patience
This skill speaks for itself. The second most defining skill of a good teacher is unlimited patience. To be patient when passing his or her knowledge on to the other person. The fact is not everyone is going to get it on the first explanation, so every good teacher needs patience, and flexibility in his/her method of teaching to find alternative ways to get the information across.
3. Understand Motivation and Behaviour
The third most major skill is to understand human behaviour and what motivates people. A great teacher is able to understand the standpoint from which the untaught is coming from, and what things need to be done to motivate them. Without a willingness to learn, teaching is hard. We all know the person who just doesn't listen, or who just don't care about what's being taught. A good teacher can, not only simplify and communicate what they know, but can also motivate the student to listen and open up their minds to what's being taught. Such things like Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP can help solidify this skill and understanding of behaviour.
It doesn't take much to teach anything, but it 'does' take specific skills to be an efficient and effective teacher. Teaching in essence is the art of communication, where the teacher has to create a willingness to learn, and keep everything simple and easy to understand. These skills in themselves could take a lifetime to develop... making effective teaching one of the most priceless abilities in our society.