How To Teach a Construction Class:
10 Easy Tips to Success
This is for those experienced construction craft workers and
supervisors who have been called upon to teach their expert skills to
other construction workers.
Teaching is a very rewarding experience. There is nothing
as exciting as seeing a group of your coworkers leaving your
classroom equipped with new skills they will use on the jobsite the
next day at work.
10 tips and you will have a great time teaching.
1. First, remember that it
is the learning the students are doing that is important, not
your teaching. If they are not learning, it does not matter how
well you are teaching. Everything the teacher does should be
focused on creating a situation where students will learn something.
2. In the classroom, the students
are more important than the teacher. This is an attitude
adjustment the potential teacher must make. It is not correct for
you treat your students like subordinates in the classroom. In the
classroom, your students are your clients and they should be treated as
such. This is important because you want to foster an atmosphere
where students are willing to make mistakes and learn from them.
Mistakes are discouraged in the work environment but encouraged in a
3. Adult learners are
different than young learners. Don't try to teach your
adult students using the same methods your teachers used in high
school. Adult learners will evaluate everything you try to teach
them so spend some time explaining why something is important to
4. Provide more breaks.
Adult learners cannot sit in the same place as long as kids can.
This is especially true of construction people who are accustomed to
being very active. I like to schedule at least a 10 minute break
5. Accept your learners
as they come to you and expect improvement. Never tell a
student they should already know something. A statement like
"You are a journeyman, you should already know that!" is
very discouraging to a student and will only encourage them to hide what
they don't know.
6. Create activities
that allow them to use newly learned skills in real life
situations. Rather than just practicing a new craft skill, create
a jobsite situation and allow the students to solve typical job site
problems in the classroom.
7. Tell stories about
real life situations to illustrate learning points. Be sure
that students will learn something from every story. Be careful
not to tell too many stories or stories that do not provide a learning
8. Preparation is the
key to success. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for
your teaching assignment:
- Know exactly what you want to teach. Make a list of
learning goals that are active statements. An example of an
active statement is: At the end of this class the student will
be able to (insert newly learned skill).
- Know how you will determine if the students actually learned what
you wanted them to learn.
- Know how long you will spend on each individual topic.
- Practice your oral presentations.
- Write out any activities you will ask your students to attempt.
- Try to make it fun to learn.
9. Try to avoid written
tests to assess student learning. Most adults are
intimidated by tests and do poorly simply because they get nervous about
the test. Create situations where students can use their
newly learned skills in real life situations and observe how they handle
10. Keep things moving
and stay on schedule. Students will get bored if you allow
too many questions on a given topic, especially if the questions are
coming from one student. Ask the
student with questions to see you at break time then move the class on
to the next topic.
The Benefits of Teaching
You will get more out of the teaching experience than will your
students. You will gain respect among your coworkers. You
will sharpen your own skills because the teacher always learns more than
You will know that you have helped
others to achieve something in their careers. Teaching will leave
you with a good feeling about yourself. It is worth the effort to
do a good job of it.
Good luck and have fun!