Unfortunately there is no secret technique to teaching, no magic method that will work consistently, with every student, for every subject, in every environment. There are as many different ways to teach as there are students to learn. That itself is of paramount importance: each pupil is unique, and as such, will assimilate knowledge better with some methods, and worse with others. Despite this seemingly insurmountable obstacle, there are a few common, human traits, which will certainly be of use; maxims that will help you along the way:
Ensure your pupil is relaxed and at ease. People are more open to learning when they are comfortable in their surroundings, and with their teacher. Only when relaxed and calm can we fully concentrate on the task at hand, and give it our total attention. When first meeting your pupil spend some time telling them about yourself. Stating your name in a business like manner, and shaking their hand, before plunging immediately into the lesson, is hardly a good introduction to what will hopefully be a long teaching partnership. Tell the pupil what your interests are, and ask them to reciprocate. A stifling, militant atmosphere should not hang over a place of leaning.
Make sure you assess the pupil's current level of comprehension. If the subject being taught is one they are currently studying at school or college, request to see their work. This will provide valuable evidence as to where their misunderstandings lie. With these identified, you will be more able to teach them more effectively.
Plan each lesson prior to arriving - an improvised approach to teaching can never have the same effectiveness as a considered, structured approach. Don't focus on one aspect of the subject throughout the entire lesson - every pupil will have a level of mental fatigue: learn where this lies, and plan your lesson accordingly. If your pupil can only assimilate twenty minutes worth of calculus, before their mind becomes impervious, have something else ready to switch to at this point.
Ask the student which parts of their curriculum they wish to work on, but don't necessarily take this information as a mandate, which cannot be deviated from. Some students may shy away from areas that need the most work, and so may not even tell you the parts they are most deficient in. Perusing their past school or college work will here be useful in locating these problematic areas.
Be creative in your teaching: nothing is less conducive to learning than a dry, sterile, school like environment, with the teacher reciting with disinterested tone a passage from a textbook. It is likely that the adoption of these teaching methods by others has necessitated your services in the first place! Don't repeat them! Try to construct fun ways to learn. Keep in mind the interests of your pupil: if they have an expressed an interest in football, you might use soccer mnemonics as a learning tool.
Above all have respect for the pupil, and realise the importance of your role in their future. It may well be down to your teaching that they achieve their A level grade, which gets them into the university of their choice, and will likely shape the rest of their future.
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