Anyone can teach series- 3. Be Prepared!

Welcome back to this nuts and bolts teaching tips series.

Last time we thought about the most important part of teaching… caring about the students (and yourself- wellbeing!)


I asked colleagues for their top teaching tips.  Denyse King (one of our wonderful Portsmouth HSS colleagues) replied :

“Develop and sustain a reputation for interesting and entertaining learning sessions.”


To deliver this you would need passion for the subject, good subject knowledge, confidence and other qualities.  I argue at some point, you would need to plan and prepare for these amazing sessions.


Today’s tip is to be prepared.  This is something that experienced teachers do without having to think about it.  It sounds obvious, but you would be amazed at how many teachers do not prepare carefully!


For example, the other day I had a cover teacher for yoga.  The teacher ran out of ideas 30 minutes prior to the end of the lesson, so she let the class out early!  This was embarrassing for the teacher and frustrating for the students.


Tips of the day… Troubleshoot your teaching and learning sessions:

Always trouble shoot your seminar/lecture.  Ask yourself questions like this when you plan the session you are about to teach:


who am I teaching (number of students, level of their training, any students with additional learning needs)?

what am I teaching? (curriculum content, level etc)

what will the students be doing in the session (aim to encourage active learning)?

how will I teach (this will help avoid death by ppt!, can you simplify a complex idea, how will I engage students)?

how will I know the students understand (more on assessment later in the series)

how many copies of the resource do I need? (will I need any spares?)

how long will each activity/part of the lesson take roughly?

what will I get the students to do if the session finishes before time?

what can I do if it looks like the session content will not be covered within the session time?

how will I react if a student / students come in late and miss information?


If you would like a lesson planning template, I recommend this one:   (You can adapt it for HE.)


Activities to have at the ready:

Ideas to have up your sleeve (students could work in groups/individually to):

-summarise the learning (as a tweet, padlet, diagram on large paper, using Lego! etc)

-jot down any questions they would like to follow up in a future session/s

-complete an exit poll (a quiz linked to the learning so you know what to cover next time etc)

-help you plan future sessions based on the learning intentions (it is good practice to involve students in planning course material)


Thought of the day:

‘One of the most important (principles of good teaching) is the need for planning. Far from compromising spontaneity, planning provides a structure and context for both teacher and students, as well as a framework for reflection and evaluation’ (Spencer, 2003, p. 25).


Image of the day:


Spencer J (2003) Learning and teaching in the clinical environment. In: Cantillon P, Hutchinson L and Wood D (eds) BMJ ABC of Learning and Teaching in Medicine, pp. 25– 8. BMJ Publishing Group, London.


More from this series:


For more specific support contact the Cel Team.



If you have something you would like me to cover in this series, please suggest below.


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