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The Process of Teaching

It is an exciting time to be a string teacher. We are living in an age where there is a growing awareness among the population of the importance of musical training in child development. In the area of pyschology. there is increasing evidence that musical talent is not a special gift that only a few have, but rather, an aspect of human intelligence which all people have to some degree. Musical talent lies latent in many people because it is not developed at the proper time in childhood. In the area of strings, educators like Suzuki and Rolland have demonstrated that all children have musical talent, this talent should be developed at an early age, and that aspects of string playing such as intonation and vibrato can be taught effectively in group and private teaching situations.

Unfortunately, having the pedagogical knowledge is only one piece of the puzzle. To be an effective teacher, one must not only know WHAT to teach, but also HOW to approach teaching the "what" to human beings.

The teaching process has several steps, and along the way there are several questions we should ask ourselves as teachers.

  • What am I going to teach? (Curriculum)
  • How am I going to teach it? (Lesson Planning, Pedagogy)
  • How will I know when I've taught it? (Assessment)
  • How can I teach it better next time? (Reflection, Self-Assessment, Improvement)

Entering into a teaching situation where one does not ask ALL of these questions will most likely result in a breakdown in the teaching process. In any case, without asking the first two questions, the teaching will be characterized by "getting by", "flying by the seat of your pants", "winging it", etc. If one does not ask the third question, there is no way to know if the teaching is truly effective. Asking the fourth question is the key to staying current, fresh, and enthusiastic about teaching. Every teacher can become a more effective teacher. If a teacher does not care if they are effective or not, it is time to seek another profession.


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