Overcoming the Challenge of Teaching Complex Content and Crucial Life Lessons

Teaching complex concepts can feel like an uphill battle. It can also be discouraging for both teachers and students. If students find the study material hard to understand, they can resort to surface-learning techniques such as cramming. After all, most of these students are verbally competent and highly intelligent.

Considered the most predominant role models in students’ development, the responsibility of teachers goes beyond academic enrichment. You must reach your students on multiple levels and connect with them on a personal level if you want to be a great educator.

The best teachers are committed to the well-being of their students both inside and outside the classroom. They can affect virtually all aspects of learners’ lives by forging strong relationships. They can do this by teaching them essential life lessons to help them succeed beyond standardized tests and term papers.

How to help students better understand what they are taught


Teachers face many classroom challenges such as teaching difficult content, motivating uninterested students, and increasing class sizes. While technology may offer some help in the education process, it is a common challenge. Instead of reading the textbook chapter, students tend to rely on electronic learning aids and textbook slides.

It takes a great teacher to change a student’s life as it’s not always easy. Aside from academic performance issues, some may be experiencing troubles in their personal lives and may need someone to talk to.

While you spend your entire career learning how to change students’ lives, you can draw some helpful inspirations from Bree Picower. She is an Associate Professor in the College of Education and Human Development at Montclair State University. Having taught in several elementary schools, she works to create spaces for educators, helps them sharpen their skills more, and acts for educational justice.

As a life-changing teacher, here are the key aspects that you can apply to help your students excel:

1. Inspiration


To encourage students to fulfill their potential and attain their goals, inspiring them is an integral aspect. When inspired by their teachers, students can accomplish amazing things. This motivation stays with them and helps them to continue excelling in many aspects of their lives.

Inspiration can take several forms, from helping pupils maneuver through academic years to assisting them to achieve short-term goals while guiding them towards their careers in the future. Years after graduation, many working professionals attribute their accomplishments to their educators and cite particular teachers who fostered their current achievements and the love of what they are doing now.

2. Education


Engaging lessons are pivotal to the academic success of a student. To achieve this, a great teacher has to make learning stimulating and fun. Students prone to disengagement, truancy, or misbehavior tend to be more dependent on an engaging teacher.

If you want students to be fascinated by learning, you have to make your classroom an exciting environment. Students learn best and tend to grasp things more when they are both interested and challenged. While the ways of motivating students may not be easy, they benefit from them immeasurably in the long run.

3. Enlightenment

Regarding weighing important life decisions for students, educators can be a trusted source of advice. They can guide pupils towards pursuing higher education, competing in events, exploring career opportunities, and helping them discover their talents.

Since students perceive their teachers as people with substantial knowledge and experience, they trust them fully as their mentors, and they are likely to ask for advice of any kind.

4. Contact with students

Teachers should strive to build rapport with students. Contact between teachers and students is vital to the success of individuals. If students happen to encounter experiences of isolation, some may leave school. When shown some concern, students can get through difficult times. It helps them to focus and grasp even the difficult lessons that are being taught.

5. Prompt feedback

By letting students know what they know and what they do not, they can better focus on learning. Students need frequent improvement suggestions and other opportunities within the classroom for them to perform. When starting, help them to evaluate their current capabilities and knowledge.

Throughout students’ time in school, they need to reflect on what they’ve learned, how to assess themselves, and what they are yet to know. Students need appropriate performance feedback to benefit from courses.

How life lessons impact the lives of students


Influential by nature, teachers often utilize opportunities when they present themselves to teach life lessons to their students. Life lessons taught by teachers usually make a far more significant and lasting impact on many students than standard-based content. They present indirect and direct opportunities to instill lessons.

Indirectly, educators take advantage of teachable moments to discuss aspects or expand topics to life-based issues brought up by students during class lessons. Natural components of schooling are directly used to lead students to learn life lessons.

Life skills education is based on methodology and research for positive education, developed along with positive psychology. Teaching research-based life skills such as strength, happiness, resolution, interaction, emotional skills, self-management, empathy, and relationship skills at school are essential. In this way, students grow up to be mentally strong, whole, and resilient adults.

Life skills can be implemented as individual exercises or as a module. Teachers should familiarize themselves with training on teaching life skills. Apart from the well-being of the individual student, the results of taught life skills will become visible at the school level when these skills are taught consistently.

Can teaching critical thinking help?


For more than just academic reasons, developing substantial critical thinking capacity for students serves them well in all aspects. It encompasses several vital life-skills such as decision making, problem-solving, effective management of relationships, and personal responsibility.

To help learners think more critically, teachers can explore concepts by using real-world examples. However, you must recognize the challenges and barriers that come with teaching critical thinking skills and discover how to get around them. Without a doubt, critical thinking is among the crucial mindsets that students should have – for learning and life.

Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignspolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com