How-to-teach Skills: Definition, Examples and Ways to Improve

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 21 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you hope to pursue a job in education, learning how to give instruction, support others' emotional needs and prepare lessons could help you reach your goals. A mix of technical skills and character traits may help you develop a career as a teacher, trainer, professor or coach. Understanding what these skills are and how you can develop them may help you find a job in your chosen field.

In this article, we define how-to-teach skills, list some examples of beneficial teaching skills, explain how to improve your skills, share ways to use them at work and discuss tips on highlighting them during a job search.

What are how-to-teach skills?

How-to-teach skills are capabilities and qualities that help you explain concepts to students, manage a classroom and plan lessons. Teachers may use different skills depending on the age groups and subjects they teach, but there are core competencies that allow these professionals to oversee groups of children, adolescents or adults and facilitate their learning. Strengthening your teaching skills could expand your career opportunities, improve the quality of your work and lead to greater personal satisfaction. Many teachers use a mixture of hard and soft skills, allowing them to share their expertise while also building positive relationships with students.

Related: Why Pursue a Career in Teaching? 16 Reasons to Be a Teacher

Examples of teaching skills

Below are examples of teaching skills that might be worthwhile to develop if you're pursuing a career in education:

Communication

It's vital that teachers have expert verbal and written communication skills, which allow them to share complex ideas in a manner that's easy for students to understand. Teachers lecture about topics, prepare and share demonstrations and visual aids, answer students' questions and write instructional guides. It's also important that these professionals can adapt their communication styles to fit different learners' needs.

Organisation

Teachers typically handle a large volume of paperwork, so it's essential that they maintain efficient organisational systems to stay in control of their responsibilities. Organisational skills may also help them plan their curriculum, set deadlines for assignments and handle competing priorities. The ability to manage multiple projects efficiently could enable these professionals to meet their goals and return their students' marked assignments in a timely manner.

Conflict resolution

Conflict resolution skills can benefit teachers' classroom management techniques. Teachers typically enforce rules and take disciplinary action to correct students' behaviour. They may also resolve disputes between students and work with parents and administrators to address concerns or complaints. The ability to reach a satisfactory compromise for all parties could help these professionals manage their relationships within and outside of the classroom.

Empathy

Empathetic individuals who can understand others' emotions and perspectives may excel as teachers. Teachers who account for their students' unique personal circumstances may alter their plans to fit each learner, potentially eliciting more substantial results. Teachers may also provide emotional support to students, helping them manage their feelings and successfully navigate personal challenges.

Computer skills

Teachers typically use computers for research, data entry and lesson preparation. The ability to create slide shows, use word processors, send emails to parents and input grades are all vital to the profession. Many educational institutions use learning management systems (LMS) to share updates with students, upload resources and assignments, track students' progress and share feedback. Familiarity with popular LMS software may benefit you when seeking a job in education.

Leadership

Students may view their teachers as role models, so it's helpful if they're comfortable acting as leaders. People who can give instructions, lead presentations, delegate tasks and offer targeted feedback may thrive in an education career. Growing your confidence and practising overseeing small groups may help you develop the leadership skills necessary to work as a teacher.

Related: How to Improve Leadership Skills: Guideline and Tips

How to improve your teaching skills

Below are some tips that may help you strengthen your teaching abilities:

1. Volunteer to lead a project

Offering to serve as a leader for a project at work, in school or in an extracurricular group could help you refine your leadership and organisational skills. When overseeing a project, you may set deadlines, assign tasks to team members, resolve conflicts, acquire resources and measure progress. These experiences could help you practise essential teaching skills and ready you to manage a classroom.

2. Train new team members

If you're hoping to transition into the education industry, you could develop your teaching skills by training new team members at your current organisation. As a trainer, you may demonstrate how to perform essential duties, explain rules and policies and offer feedback, mirroring some of a teacher's responsibilities. It may also be beneficial to seek opportunities to lead large group training exercises for your entire team to refine your presentational skills and classroom management abilities.

3. Keep a calendar

It could be beneficial to manage your personal time effectively to develop your organisational skills. Keep a detailed calendar to track your daily commitments and explore digital calendars and hard copies to find a method that works best for you. It could also help to implement other systems to organise your responsibilities like writing a to-do list each morning and sorting important paperwork so you can find important documents easily.

4. Reflect on your behaviour

You could practise interpersonal skills like empathy and conflict resolution in your everyday life. Think about how you respond to conflict at work or in your social life and consider journaling about these instances to understand the best way to find a resolution. Becoming confident in your own social skills may help you guide students when they're experiencing disagreements and personal challenges.

Teaching skills in the workplace

Here are some ways you might use teaching skills at work:

  • Leading presentations: Whether or not you currently work in an educational setting, you may have opportunities to present research, analyses or plans. When leading a presentation, you may simplify complex ideas and recommend resources to colleagues.

  • Creating long-term plans: The organisational skills that teachers use to plan their curriculums, assign work and manage deadlines can be useful in the workplace. You can apply these skills by setting a goal, defining the steps your team may take to reach it and identifying opportunities to evaluate your progress.

  • Giving feedback: You can use teaching skills in the work environment by giving constructive feedback to team members when it's appropriate. Share specific observations and offer actionable suggestions for ways to improve.

How to highlight teaching skills

Below are some ways you could showcase your teaching skills when applying to jobs:

Teaching skills for a resume

If you're applying for a job as a teacher, trainer or coach, it may be beneficial to review the job description to identify which skills are most important to the employer. On your resume, try to list a mixture of hard and soft skills. You could list any LMS software you have experience with, any subjects on which you're an expert and teaching methodologies you're comfortable using. Below is an example of a skills section for a teacher resume:

Skills
Leadership| Parent communication | Mathematics | Organisation | Planning | Group instruction

Read more: What Are the Top 10 Teacher Resume Skills to Include?

Teaching skills for a cover letter

A cover letter is an opportunity to discuss your skills in greater detail. When crafting a cover letter aim to include examples of times in which you demonstrated these skills in the classroom. Employers may want to hire teachers who produce results, so consider adding numerical data to quantify your successes. For example, you could share the percentage of your class that passed the course to show that you can adequately prepare students for exams. Here's an example of an excerpt from a cover letter that highlights teaching skills:

In my previous role, I led group tutoring sessions in math and science for three small groups ranging in age from seven to 15. I used a combination of techniques to ensure each student received the instruction they needed to advance to the next grade level, including group lectures, demonstrations, practice assignments and one-on-one meetings. After six weeks of lessons, all 18 of my students earned a passing grade on their final exams, and I helped one student improve their grade by 22%.

Teaching skills for a job interview

When you're interviewing for a job that requires teaching skills, try to showcase your soft skills and personality traits that make you a suitable candidate. By projecting confidence and positivity, you could highlight your ability to encourage students and lead groups. It may be beneficial to use the STAR interview response. STAR is an acronym that standards for situation, task, action and result. Here's an example of a potential interview response:

'It's important to me that I practise empathy in the classroom. In my previous job, I worked with a student who often found themselves in conflicts with classmates. I try to empathise with young learners before taking disciplinary action. I created a behavioural improvement plan alongside the student. Through a series of one-on-one meetings, I learnt they often felt lonely, leading them to start a conflict with others. Over time, I helped them earn the trust of their classmates and develop meaningful friendships.'

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