What is Teaching?

The words ‘teaching’ and ‘teacher’ are often associated with schooling and schools in modern usage. One approach to the question “What is teaching?” is to look at what those labelled “teachers” do and then identify key characteristics or activities that distinguish them from others. The issue is that a wide range of activities are grouped together in job descriptions or roles that may have little to do with what we can reasonably call teaching.

Another option is to consult dictionaries and look up both the historical and contemporary meanings of the term. This leads us to definitions such as: Give someone knowledge or instruct them on how to do something.

Teaching is the process of attending to people’s needs, experiences, and feelings and intervening in order for them to learn specific things and go beyond the given.

Questioning, listening, providing information, explaining a phenomenon, trying to demonstrate a skill or process, testing understanding and capacity, and facilitating Learning Management System activities are common forms of interventions (such as note-taking, discussion, assignment writing, simulations, and practice).