The Seven Laws of Teaching


A while ago I read an excellent book on teaching (The Seven Laws of Teaching) and wrote about it – it has really been the back bone for both Paul and myself in our approach to teaching in our various places of responsibility.

I made a printable of the 7 laws of teaching as mentioned in the book and printed them as a huge 16×20 that I framed to remind myself frequently of these excellent techniques. I just recently redid it (above image).

Since implementing these principles I have discovered something I think it more important and more effective than any of these seven laws – I mean, these seven are wonderful and practical and serve a wonderful purpose in the process of teaching; but I think something that is even more fundamentally necessary is that you develop a love for those you are teaching.

A deep, genuine love that desires the best for those you are teaching. A love that sacrifices self for the sake of others. A love that communicates that to the students. Sometimes it is easier to love some people more than others, but praying for the ability to love others is a wonderful place to start with those that are a struggle to love. Love isn’t easy, convenient, neat or tidy – but it is a wonderful place to come from when teaching and is worth spending the time in prayer asking God to give you a love for each of the students you have in your room.7-laws-of-teaching-quote

{original post on the book} The Seven Laws of Teaching is a book written by John Milton Gregory on, well, laws of teaching. The Seven Laws of teaching is available for free from Google Books or in paperback form from Amazon.

The Seven Laws of Teaching was written in 1884 and covers the fundamental laws of teaching – it is excellent and relevant to today’s teacher with its classic and time proven methods.

As a mother homeschooling two boys and as a Sunday School teacher to middle school age students I found the book to be encouraging, challenging, and really useful.

Almost one year ago I made the above image as a printable and made a small copy that I keep in the back of my Bible and a larger copy I keep near my office desk. While these rules are all simple, it is a constant challenge to apply these seven laws of teaching and I review the laws often.7-laws-of-teaching

I connected a single word to sum up each rule; a word that spoke meaning to each rule to me.

1. Passion – Know thoroughly and familiarly the lesson you wish to teach; or, in other words, teach from a full mind and a clear understanding.

2. Respect – Gain and keep the attention and interest of the pupils upon the lesson. Refuse to teach without attention.

3. Relevant – Use words understood by both teacher and pupil in the same sense – language clear and vivid alike to both.

4. Wisdom (I changed to “connections” in my new print) – Begin with what is already well known to the pupil in the lesson or upon the subject, and proceed to the unknown by single, easy and natural steps, letting the known explain the unknown.

5. Cultivate – Use the pupils own mind, exciting his self activities. Keep his thoughts as much as possible ahead of your expression, making him the discoverer of truth.

6. Patience – Require the pupil to reproduce in thought the lesson he is learning – thinking it out in parts, proofs, connections, and applications till he can express it in his own language.

7. Diligence – Review, review, review, reproducing the old, deepening its impression with new thought, correcting false views, and completing the truth.

There is so much more to this book than my simple summary – I have read that there are discrepancies between the many versions printed throughout the years. From what I have read the newer ones (I believe most recent is 2003) has omitted a lot of his Christian views from the book. 

“It is only the unskilled teacher who prefers to hear his own voice in endless talk rather than watch and direct the course of the thoughts of his pupils.” -The Seven Laws of Teaching pg. 87


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2 Replies to “The Seven Laws of Teaching

  1. Thank you for your blog. I love the 7 Laws of Teaching. Would it be permissable for me to share your 7 “words” with some of the teachers at my school? I will give you credit. 🙂

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