MrValdez's Blog

What makes a great teacher? They can teach a complicated subject and make it accessible to other people

Posted on May 1, 2018

I've been a teacher of computer programming for a while now. I've taught people on how to code and how to think like a programmer. Over the years, I've been developing strategies and philosophies on teaching. I've decided to put them in writing.

There are a lot of ways to become a great teacher. These are my essays on the subject.

Matt Striker is a teacher who wrestles. ...or is he a wrestler who teaches?

Great teachers can teach the fundamentals of a complicated subject

The first step in simplifying a hard topic is to first learn the fundamentals of how it works. This would mean getting as many information as you can, read up on holes in your knowledge, and teach yourself the material as if you are your own teacher.

After this exercise, you repeat the process but since you've taught yourself, you can identify which parts are less important for understanding the basics. So you simplify the explanation by removing the excess and trying again.

Do this enough times, and in the end, you will have a firmer grasp of the subject and will be able to explain it without the use of technical words; basically, it would be possible to teach what you know to a child.

This, essentially, is the Feynman technique of learning.

But wait, you might ask - this is how to learn a subject, not how to become a great teacher. My answer to this is simple: You cannot teach something if you don't understand the fundamentals. By explaining the lesson to yourself, you can be a teacher who can genuinely share their knowledge.

I'll be writing more about this subject.

Categories: Essays, Teaching