McKeachie observes, "Skill in teaching is not something to be learned and simply repeated; what makes it exciting is there is always room to grow" (McKeachie xvii). Foundational to adding techniques and best practices to your delivery is that you continue your own discovery, learning, and scholarship. Best practices are essentially useless if one hasn't mastered the materials and doesn't have profound knowledge of the content. W. E. Deming once noted a pre-requisite of a good teacher is they must first know their subject matter. Best practices and techniques are no substitute for this basic underlying knowledge.
In addition to competence and subject mastery, teachers and presenters are exponentially more effective with students and audiences when they demonstrate caring behaviors and trustworthiness. Good relationships and a solid reputation of being trustworthy are foundational to any techniques or best practices. When teachers have the mentality of serving and helping others learn, and put these above or equal to their self-interests, students understand and respond accordingly. The best teachers have the mentality of good leaders, coaches, and mentors.
Whether we are teachers, trainers, or consultants (or all three), our goals are typically to provide the best education and presentations we can. Our students and clients anticipate our help as they seek an edge in knowledge and a resulting improvement in safety performance. Recognition and application of the following practices may enhance the effectiveness of your delivery and improve the quality and quantity of student learning.
Many outstanding presenters are skilled in the technique of asking questions. They ask questions such as "What if…?" and open ended questions beginning with "How…?" or "Why…?" To check for understanding, instructors may ask "Does this make sense?" One of the benefits of asking relevant questions is gaining the attention of students or audience. Good questions help to open our minds and get us thinking more deeply about the topic. The artful use of questions can raise curiosity and get people wondering about the answers. This is a superior approach to simply being "fed" the answers.
Another potential benefit of using a questioning technique is that it may indicate the instructor has an open mind and is willing to be influenced and listen to others ideas. This suggests the instructor cares about the audience and how well they are learning. This demonstrates a more caring approach and focuses on what students and audience are thinking and need to know, and not solely on the presenter's performance.