If you were talk with most any seasoned teacher, they'd likely nod in agreement that the craft of teaching includes the idea of "taking others somewhere." This could mean helping them grasp new content, see things in a new light, practice new habits, change how they relate to others, and grow in virtue.
To play off this picture that teaching is taking others somewhere, here are a few brief tips I'd recommend to make this "trip" of teaching effective at helping the learner get from point A to point B.
Know Your Destination (The objective)
Probably every memorable road trip you've ever been on had a clear destination: a vacation landmark, a relative's home, or a new city. You knew where you were going. In the same way, good teachers know where they're taking students. This should be true over the course of a whole class or series, and it's true for individual lectures or presentations. Teachers: Can you clearly state where you're taking students who take your class?
Map Your Route (Structure)
Once you know where you're going, the next step is to plan out how you're going to get there. For teachers, this primarily has to do with the structure or shape of the material you're presenting. What are your main points or subpoints? What essential ground do you need to cover, to get where you're going?
Plan for Rest Stops and Scenic Overlooks (Illustrations, etc.)
Maybe you've been a passenger in the car who's driver is in a hurry to get where they're going, and refused to stop for anything. They're focused on the objective (the "destination") and refuse to slow down or pull over for others to stretch their legs. While the driver may be having a good time, this can be miserable for the passengers. :) Good teaching allows for rest stops and scenic overlooks - breaks in making progress THROUGH content to slow down and linger IN content. For people to stretch their legs and admire the beauty of what they're seeing. For teachers, this can take shape a number of ways: illustrations, reflection questions, and interaction around a point before moving on.
Watch for Intersections (Application and Personalization)
At every intersection you come to, a good driver will be very aware of his or her surroundings - they'll pay attention to how what's going on affects them. This picture of an intersection can also be valuable for teaching - providing "intersections" where the content / material of the course gets very personal to the students...helping them see how what's going on affects them. As teachers, this looks like application and personalization. (And by the way, don't feel like you need to wait until the very end of the material to include these intersections and applications. Looks for ways to include them every few miles on the trip.)
Great road trips can mark someone's life from that point forward. So can great teaching! As we faithfully work to "take others somewhere" through our teaching, let's get to our destination effectively, and know that we can make it enjoyable for everyone else in the car with us at the same time!
Christian. Husband. Father. Pastor. Learner. Contributor. Reader.