The 10 Commandments of Effective Teaching

1st Commandment: Know thy content, backward and forward, for your students’ respect and attention begins here.

2nd Commandment: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevent Poor Performance.

Good Teachers make sure that their students know their objectives. State what they are going to learn. Determine the goal of your class: Is it to convey information, teach a skill, change their way of thinking, or all of the above?

3rd Commandment: Ohhh, Ahhh, Wow! Get and Hold.

Grab their attention: Great lessons always begin with a “hook” – (a quiz, game, “catch”, story, survey, activity, etc) to get your participants interested and engaged. Next, they have to understand why this lesson is important to them.  “Why” do I care? This holds their attention.

4th Commandment: Respect the time.

The timer is ticking. All people have a limited attention span. Once you pass their limit, all the enthusiasm, interest, and learned content will be lost or significantly diminished.  Resetting the timer is possible:  see the 3rd commandment.

5th Commandment:  Great learning is more important than great teaching.

We’ve all had classes from great teachers… and you remember the teacher. We’ve all had classes where we’ve learned a lot, and you remembered what you’ve learned.

The Learning Pyramid below shows the general level of retention for each type of lesson.  Traditional education within the church and public schools has typically been by direct teaching (Lecture), the least effective form of student retention. A good teacher can and will incorporate several methods during a single lesson.

6th Commandment: Every Learner is Different so… Differentiate.

Every class has learners of varying abilities and motivation. The teacher avoids the “one size fits all” by providing more difficult and challenging material for those interested and seeking. Great teachers help all students master the required content while challenging higher and more motivated learners to excel.

7th Commandment: They Won’t Care How Much You Know Until They Know How Much You Care.

Be personal and connected. Be in-tune with your students by relating personal stories, gauging comprehension, and modifying your lesson on the fly to accommodate their understanding and interest.

8th Commandment: Enthusiasm is infectious!

The amount that you are excited, interested, and inspired by the content, so they will be.  If the teacher is not passionate about the topic, no one will be.

9th Commandment: It doesn’t matter how well you taught it, it matters how well they learned it.

10 Commandment: Tests aren’t just for students.

You’ll never know what they learned unless you test, and you’ll never know how  well you taught, unless you ask.  Both are equally important. Good teachers assess after a lesson to determine if their lesson was effective, and to identify gaps in their students’ learning, which can be addressed in the following lesson.

Good teachers assess their students’ interest after the course to avoid future misery!

General Thoughts:


Teaching off a cell phone is not recommended. It’s distracting/time consuming/disrespectful to have to look things up when your audience is waiting. If you convey that their time is precious, they will appreciate your sensitivity of them!

Idea: Provide an outlet for discussion beyond the class: a blog, website, video, additional meeting, etc.

Audio/Visual is recommended, when available. For church classes, handouts are vital.

What does everybody want? They want to have fun! Why not utilize it?

If you have to ask, “Are you with me?” you probably already know the answer to the question.