In the last two posts, we discussed how a good vocabulary will help you successfully apply for jobs, ace the job interviews, and work your way up in your field to achieve success. This applies in any field, whether nonprofit, for-profit, scientific, or academic. In fact, it’s even more true for this last category, especially if you have any interest in a career in pedagogy. Because knowledge is primarily communicated via words in most instructional settings, you’ll need to have as many words as possible at your fingertips to be able to teach what you know.
One of the most important things a new teacher discovers is that people have different styles of learning, and it’s important to present information in ways they will understand. That’s why the study of pedagogy (the science, theory, and practice of instructional techniques) is part of any curriculum designed to train people how to be teachers. The classes in teacher training will usually cover topics such as strategies to identify an individual student’s learning goals, ways of presenting information to appeal to students at a variety of ages, methods of encouraging active learning and research in the classroom, and hints on how to help students overcome any problems they’re having with the learning process.
If you’re going to be an English teacher, you’ll learn about the best ways to teach vocabulary words to students. In order to do this, you’ll have to be completely familiar with vocabulary study yourself. You’ll need to be comfortable using vocabulary resources like dictionaries and thesauruses (both print and on-line) and able to use all of their components, including phonetic pronunciation and syllabification. Not only that, but you’ll have to understand them well enough to be able to explain them to your students. You might have to explain terms and concepts in simpler ways to help them understand, so you’ll need to be able to use synonyms of more technical or difficult words. You might want to brush up on your artistic skills so that you can create visual images to help students understand a word, or focus on teaching them how to figure out a word’s meaning by reading it in the context of a phrase or paragraph.
In order to keep your skills sharp, don’t forget to practice all of these techniques yourself, and keep adding new words to your vocabulary every day.