Top 10 Teaching Skills (With Helpful Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 August 2021

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.

Teachers often possess essential skills that allow them to teach students and foster a happy environment in the classroom. These skills may help them have a positive impact on students and staff members. If you're pursuing the education field, learning the top teaching skills you can use may be beneficial for you. In this article, we provide a list of skills that teachers use and offer tips to help you develop each skill.

What are teaching skills?

Teaching skills are the qualities that teachers possess that help them provide valuable instruction to students in their classroom. Good teaching skills involve any abilities that allow teachers to show compassion, encourage creativity and offer information about a variety of learning subjects. Teachers also help students develop their own important skills, like critical thinking and analysis.

10 examples of teaching skills

Here are the different types of skills that teachers use:

1. Critical thinking

With strong critical thinking skills, teachers are able to consider the best interests of the students while also working within their institution's goals and standards. Teachers of primary and secondary schools must also remain aware of parents' expectations for learning and discipline and ensure that the classroom is a safe and nurturing environment.

For instance, a middle school English teacher with well-developed critical thinking skills may consider the themes of a story before deciding if it's appropriate for their class. When teaching post-secondary education in colleges or universities, instructors may consider the best ways to keep students engaged with the course material. A college English teacher might enjoy Victorian-era novels, but students may appreciate something more contemporary.

2. Patience

Teachers of all levels can expect that their classrooms will represent a variety of cultural backgrounds, learning styles and intellectual abilities. Dedicated students will likely contribute more to class discussion and be more easygoing, but many students might present other challenges like turning in work late or causing behavioural disruptions. It's important for teachers to be patient and help maintain a balance between their own expectations and the students' unique abilities. For instance, if a student struggles with learning multiplication tables, a patient teacher might work with the student after class or extend the due date for homework.

Related: What Are the Most Important Teacher Responsibilities?

3. Communication

Teachers communicate in a variety of ways, including verbal, written and body language. Strong verbal communication means that teachers make their lesson material and expectations clear. They present concepts in a way that students can understand. Teachers exhibit written communication skills when they give feedback on assignments and write progress reports for parents.

In the classroom, body language is also important. When teachers stand tall in the classroom, smile often and make eye contact with their students, they seem confident and kind, which has a higher likelihood of contributing to more student engagement in the course.

Related: 10 Effective Communication Skills for Career Success

4. Organisation

Primary and secondary public school teachers often have 30 or more students in a classroom. To be effective, teachers must be able to manage their materials and students' assignments well. A well-organised classroom may include placing books and technology out of the view of students so that they can focus on the teacher or activity while learning. Teachers with strong organisational skills may have pens, whiteboard markers, extra paper and other materials in an easily accessible place.

Teachers use organisational skills to keep different classes' assignments separate to ensure a smooth grading process. For example, a high school teacher with six class periods may need organisational skills to keep first period assignments from mixing with fourth period and so on.

Related: Organisational Skills: Definition, How To Use and Examples

5. Imaginative thinking

Depending on the students' age level, teachers may use imagination in a variety of ways. Teachers of younger students might learn to incorporate singing or creative arts into their classroom to stimulate learning. Secondary or post-secondary educators teaching older material may use more current media, like film or television, to illustrate recent forms of similar themes.

6. Leadership

Teachers often require leadership skills inside and outside of the classroom. Modelling behaviour for students can be key to developing a dedication to learning and general responsibility in life. Leadership is also important when interacting with teachers and school administrators. To show strong leadership skills, teachers may accept additional duties like coaching a sports team or directing a special interest club, like chess or drama. Teachers with heightened leadership abilities may be more likely to advance to senior positions, like principal or superintendent.

7. Time-management

It's important that teachers have excellent time-management skills to help them complete their tasks throughout the day, while responding to student requests and collaborating with other staff members. Teachers have many tasks to complete throughout the day, so exceptional time-management skills may allow them to complete their tasks according to each task's priority. For example, a student may ask a teacher for extra help with their homework, so a teacher may have to delegate their time accordingly.

8. Conflict resolution

Teachers may have to resolve a conflict between students, so it's useful to have conflict resolution skills. It's common for students to disagree with one another, and a teacher may help students come to an agreement or understand the situation from the other student's perspective. To do this, they may talk with each student individually, then create a safe space for the students to talk to one another in an understanding and compassionate manner. Teachers may also teach students about meaningful conflict resolution skills that they may use on their own.

9. Technology skills

Teachers must possess strong technology skills in order to incorporate technology into their classroom and teaching style. Teachers may use technology to input student's grades and evaluate student's performances. They may also create classroom activities using software, like creating lesson plans, study guides, homework and classwork. Teachers often use technology to communicate, like communicating with other teachers to coordinate lesson plans or communicating with parents about their children's educational performance.

It's common for teachers to use technology in their classroom activities too. They may provide instructions to students on how to operate technology, so it's vital that they have expertise in using software.

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

10. Teamwork

Teachers may collaborate with other staff at their school, so it's important that they have exceptional teamwork skills. They may take part in meetings to create lesson plans or curriculum, or they might have a brainstorming session with other teachers to see which teaching styles work best. Using teamwork skills in these meetings may help teachers provide valuable input or gain new teaching ideas.

Tips for developing teaching skills

Here are some tips to help you develop the skills that you might use while teaching:

Take professional development courses

By taking professional development courses, you may improve your leadership and communication skills. Improving these skills may help you improve your teaching skills by communicating effectively with students and providing helpful leadership. Some programmes offer professional development courses specifically for teachers, or they offer generic development courses that strengthen a wide variety of skills.

Receive student feedback

Ask your students for feedback on your teaching style. This can provide you with insight into which skills you may further develop. Consider providing students with a survey at the end of the school year with questions about their experience. Here are some questions you might include in the survey:

  • What did you like about this school year?

  • What did you dislike about this school year?

  • What was your favourite activity that we completed this year?

  • What teaching style did you find most beneficial?

  • What did you find challenging during the school year?

Talk with other teachers

Talking to other teachers may provide you with ideas that you can use in your classroom. Ask teachers questions about activities they have students complete and the curriculum that they teach. You may also ask them about which skills they use most while teaching and how they improve those skills. This may give you ideas for which skills you can develop and how you can develop them.

Set goals

If you have a specific teacher skill that you want to develop, set goals to help you reach that objective. First, identify the skill that you want to strengthen, then create steps to help you develop that skill. For example, if you want to develop communication skills, then you may create steps to communicate more with others, like reaching out to other staff members or asking students about their day. It's also useful to give yourself a deadline to hit your goal by so that you can track your progress in developing your skills.

Explore more articles