Teaching Tips


When you wish to instruct, be brief—so that the minds of men take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.
— Cicero


First, ensure the safety of your audience.

  • He is most free from danger, who, even when safe, is on his guard.
    – Publilius Syrus


Use graphics as much as possible.

  • A picture is worth a thousand words.     – Fred R. Barnard   


Include practical exercises.

  • What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.
    — Aristotle


Engage the audience as equal participants.

  • I am always ready to learn although I do not always like to be taught.
    — Winston Churchill


Solicit the assistance of those who have experience.

  • I pay the schoolmaster but ’tis the schoolboys who educate my son.
    — Ralph Waldo Emerson


Embed an object lesson to persuade attention to the task at hand.

  • Do you know the difference between education and experience?  Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don’t.
    — Pete Seeger


Those who can state an idea in their own words have learned it. 

  • We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.
    — Diogenes


Information will not be adopted for use unless it is believed.

  • The intellect is always fooled by the heart.
    — La Rochefoucauld


Promote friendship to promote learning.

  • I not only use all of the brains I have, but all I can borrow.
    — Woodrow Wilson


Allow time for practice and repetitions.

  • Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time.
    — Voltaire


Allow breaks for private time to maintain the energy level of a group.

  • Let there be spaces in your togetherness.
    — Kahlil Gibran


If you wish to cultivate a leader, set a good example.

  • I have found some of the best reasons I ever had for remaining at the bottom simply by looking at the men at the top.
    — Frank Moore Colby


Every person is capable of valuable contributions.

  • Many individuals have, like uncut diamonds, shining qualities beneath a rough exterior.
    — Juvenal


Demand questions.

  • No man really becomes a fool until he stops asking questions.
    — Charles Steinmetz


Ensure that participants know how to decipher print materials.

  • Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.
    — Mortimer J. Adler


Obtain commitments to practicing what has been learned.

  • Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
    — Benjamin Franklin


Delegate responsibility for tasks.

  • Responsibility educates.
    — Wendell Phillips


Praise contributions.

  • No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.
    — Calvin Coolidge


Warm up your audience before asking them to keep pace with you.

  • To climb steep hills requires slow pace at first.
    — William Shakespeare


Many small jumps are an easier than one giant leap.

  • Little strokes fell great oaks.
    –Benjamin Franklin


Have each learner to share their new knowledge.  This sharpens their memory and multiplies the value of your efforts.

  • The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.
    – John Locke


Make people work for their learning and they will regard it well.

  • What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.
    – Thomas Paine


Seduce your audience.

  • Then read from the treasured volume
    The poem of thy choice,
    And lend to the rhyme of the poet
    The beauty of thy voice.

    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Speak in the language (argot, vernacular) of the place. 

  • The finest words in the world are only vain sounds, if you cannot comprehend them.
    — Anatole France



Simplicity is the glory of expression.
— Walt Whitman



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Teaching Tips Index