How to teach efficiently?

Teaching is one of the best ways of learning, hence I greatly appreciate opportunities to teach, tutor and share my knowledge, which are learned from others.

Teaching multiple courses simultaneously allow us to practice interleaving and spaced repetition, they are learning techniques that allow us to develop neural chunks [1]

To teach effectively:

  1. make a good first impression. While we practice not judging a book by its cover, remember that people judge books by its cover. “Students will decide very early–some say the first day of class–whether they will like the course, its contents, the teacher, and their fellow students.”
  2. plan and prepare. I love preparing all the teaching materials for the entire course at the beginning (so that students can see the whole picture) but I adjust them as I get to know my students’ aptitude and attitude.
  3. Ask students to write about what important things are currently happening in their lives.
  4. 知己知彼. “Seek out a different student each day and get to know something about him or her.” If there are more students than the time that I can afford, apply Pareto’s law. Yes, proactive students will benefit more, is this fair? It’s hard to reach students who don’t even bother to reach the teacher.
  5. gather students’ feedback, not only the mandatory one at the end of the semester, but we can gather in the first 3 weeks of the course to improve teaching and learning.
  6. simplify teaching [2].


[1] An example of chunking is described by Barbara Oakley in Forbes “After I was comfortable that I could really solve the problem by myself on paper, I then went mental, practicing the steps in my mind until the solution could flow like a sort of mental song. I could perform this kind of mental practice at times people often don’t think to use for studying—like in the shower, or when I was walking to class. I found that this attention to chunking eventually gave me sort of magic powers—I could glance at many problems, even ones I’d never seen before, and know virtually instantly how to solve them.”

[2] ref2017/teach_better*20170118.txt

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