What are teaching skills? (Plus tips to improve them)

What are teaching skills? (Plus tips to improve them)
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 29 February, 2024

Teaching is a noble profession that requires hard work and dedication. It's important to have the right skill set to be an effective teacher. Skills in teaching include subject mastery and the ability to impart knowledge in a way that's easy to understand. Teaching skills create a positive environment for students, helping them learn and remember information. 

This article explores the skills necessary for teachers to achieve their goals. It also offers tips on how you can improve your teaching skills. We'll cover the following:

What are teaching skills? 

Teaching skills are the knowledge, abilities, and qualities that help you guide and encourage students through their learning careers. They help you to provide a positive learning environment for students based on their diverse needs and learning styles. Your professional skills can also help you achieve your goals as an educator and further your teaching career. 

Teaching skills are a combination of hard (or technical) and soft skills. The two skill sets differ mainly in how you acquire and apply them in the classroom. Here's a quick look at both types: 

Hard or technical skills 

Hard skills are measurable and relate directly to the subject area you teach. You gain them through formal education, training, and experience in the field.  

In Malaysia, teachers typically need to have a ​​Program Ijazah Sarjana Muda Perguruan​ (Bachelor's Degree in Teaching) degree from the Institut Pendidikan Guru (Institute of Teacher Education) or a diploma or bachelor's degree in education from a school or university. They often major in a specific field, such as science or mathematics. Teachers who plan to teach in government schools are also required to register with the ​Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Pendidikan​ (Education Service Commission).  

Other important abilities in this category include technology skills. You can use technology to make teaching easier and more effective. For example, you may use the internet for research or educational apps for maths. Technical skills also improve your ability to use software programs that can help you complete tasks such as creating lesson plans, grading assignments, and finding teaching materials. 

Soft skills 

Soft skills help you connect with students and fellow teachers. They aren't specific to a subject matter or academic level. While you can develop them in school or through experience, soft skills are harder to measure. They mainly include personal characteristics and attitudes, such as attention to detail, communication, organisation, problem solving, and time management. 

Skills to be a teacher 

Here are some important skills for teachers: 


Teachers need effective communication skills. They enable you to convey information, ideas, and instructions to students in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. Written communication skills can help you create lesson plans and write reports. Effective communication skills allow you to build relationships with students, parents, and colleagues. They're crucial in a productive learning environment. 

Time management 

Managing your time efficiently helps you complete tasks and accomplish goals by ​setting​​​ deadlines. Time management is essential when dealing with many responsibilities at the same time. In addition to teaching, effective time management can help you perform tasks such as creating lesson plans, grading, attending meetings, and taking care of administrative duties. 


Organisation is a useful skill for teachers. It helps you to manage your resources and complete tasks on time. Organisational skills allow you to develop well-structured lesson plans that follow the curriculum. 

Problem solving 

Problem solving is a desirable skill for teachers. It helps you find creative solutions to issues that may arise in the classroom. For example, if students find a topic challenging, you can try different approaches to explain it to them. Students may relate to real-life scenarios, visual aids, or discussions after class. 


Planning is a key skill because it helps you cover all curriculum topics within the quarter or semester. Lesson planning also includes selecting the most appropriate teaching methods for each topic. Well-planned lessons allot enough time to address students' questions and concerns. 

Subject skills 

High-level classroom teaching skills include the knowledge of particular subjects. They depend on your area of focus and your student​​s​'​ academic level and generally involve mastery of the subject matter. Teachers typically have a degree or diploma relevant to their chosen subject. Subject skills also include the ability to share knowledge when students have differing levels of understanding. 

If you want a career as a chemistry teacher, for instance, you need to know about various topics in the field. Subjects may include the periodic table, atomic structure, and chemical bonding. You should also know how to use various pieces of laboratory equipment and conduct experiments safely. 

Classroom management 

Classroom management covers skills and techniques for ensuring that the environment supports learning and that classes are orderly. Many employers look for teachers with this skill. Classroom management helps you to:

  • Maximise learning during classes to ensure you cover all the necessary material.
  • Address disruptions and undesirable classroom behaviour in a constructive way.
  • Keep students engaged and interested in learning by using different teaching strategies.
  • Promote inclusivity by understanding students' diverse backgrounds and varying needs.
  • Create continuous opportunities for students to improve their academic performance and achieve personal growth. 

Special education skills 

If you choose to teach in special education, you often use a mix of soft and hard skills. Knowing how to teach students with learning disabilities and other special needs is essential. Developing patience, empathy, adaptability, and the ability to communicate is also critical. Many teachers taking this career path have a diploma or degree in special education. 

How to improve your teaching skills 

Woman teaching at work

Whether you're a teacher or an aspiring educator in Malaysia, it's important to develop your teaching skills. Here are several tips: 

Reflect on your teaching 

Reflective teaching involves evaluating and improving your teaching methods and strategies. Assess how your teaching practices affect students' learning. If you want better results, look for new ways to teach and try them out. If a traditional setup isn't working when teaching science, for instance, try a hands-on activity. Reflection enables you to develop your problem-solving skills and improve your teaching technique. 

Customise based on students 

A good teacher aims to empower students and help them realise their full potential. When teaching, it's important to address students' varying learning styles, abilities, and interests. Use different methods to teach and engage your students. You could try practical activities, visual aids, or group discussions. A flexible teaching style can help you improve your skills in communication and classroom management. 

Practise your lesson plans 

A lesson plan is a guide to effective teaching. It has several parts, including objectives, lesson materials, procedures, assessments, and a reflection. Practising your lesson plans before class allows you to check if the allotted time is enough to cover the topic. Lesson planning also enables you to adjust, remove, or replace an activity that's not working. Planning lessons can help you improve your communication and planning skills. 

Use tools 

Using an online or physical planner can improve your organisation and time management skills. With a planner, you can organise your schedule, list your daily and weekly tasks, and set goals. You can also keep track of your progress. 

An audio recorder is another helpful tool. Use a recording device, mobile app, or software to record your teaching sessions. Listening to yourself teach can help you identify areas for improvement, especially in communication. Using the latest educational technology tools can help you find new unique ways to keep students engaged and motivated. 

Expand your knowledge 

Courses and certifications can improve your teaching skills. Continuous learning allows you to update and expand your knowledge. Courses can also help develop your skills in communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaborative work. 

In Malaysia, it's mandatory for teachers who work in government schools to complete seven days of professional development each year to upgrade their teaching skills. This involves attending courses, workshops, seminars, and conferences. The Ministry of Education offers a menu of courses and other events that teachers can choose to attend throughout the year.  

Even if you're not yet practising, you can still take classes. Enrolling in courses can help you develop your skills and stand out when applying for jobs. Here are a few examples:

  • You can take foreign language courses or certifications such as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).
  • Special education courses can help you achieve a degree or certification.
  • Many teachers train for a specific teaching methodology, such as the Montessori approach.
  • Public speaking workshops or training programmes are useful for developing your communication skills.
  • Courses for technology integration in the classroom, such as learning to use Google Classroom and interactive whiteboards, can help you develop classroom skills. 

How to list your teaching skills on a resume 

Showcase your teaching skills to gain a competitive edge in your application for a teaching position in Malaysia. The teaching skills list is usually after the education and work experience sections in a traditional resume. You may also find it at the side in a more modern resume format. 

In any resume, it's crucial to keep the skills section brief and easy to read. Create a bullet list or list your skills in order of relevance to the job. You can also include technical skills in your resumé's education section if you've completed courses or certifications. 

Template for a resume skills section 

Here's how you can format the skills for a teacher resume section: 

Template 1 

Key skills 

Skill one 

Skill two 

Skill three 

Skill four 

Skill five 

Template 2 

Key skills: Skill one, Skill two, Skill three, Skill four, Skill five 

Example of a teaching skills section on a resume 

Here's how the skills section may look: 

Key skills 

Subject mastery 

Lesson planning 

Classroom management 

Leadership skills 

Microsoft Office 

Google Classroom 


Top teaching skills include subject knowledge, communication, time management, organisation, problem solving, planning, and classroom management. Special education skills are also valuable. These teaching skills enable you to enhance student learning. They can also help you achieve your goals for professional development. 

If you want to become a teacher or advance your teaching career in Malaysia, it's important to review your skill set. Determine the skills you need and take steps to develop them. You can do this by taking courses, practising lesson plans, and utilising helpful tools such as planners and audio recorders. You can also apply reflective teaching to track your progress. 


Male teacher

Here are answers to common questions about teaching skills: 

  1. What skills are required to be a teacher? 
    ⁠Subject mastery is an important skill for a teacher. Employers usually ask for a diploma or degree in education, depending on the level at which you're teaching. Technology skills may also be necessary depending on the school. 
  2. What is the role of communication in effective teaching? 
    ⁠An effective teacher has strong communication skills. These enable you to share ideas and knowledge. Communication skills also help you connect with students and develop a learning environment. 
  3. Why is classroom management critical in teaching? 
    ⁠Effective classroom management enables you to address issues in the classroom. This helps to minimise learning disruptions. 
  4. What are the important professional skills for a teacher? 
    ⁠Classroom management, communication, problem solving, planning, organisation, critical thinking, and collaboration are some of the most important skills for teachers. 
  5. How do special education skills differ from general teaching skills? 
    ⁠Special education teachers develop and put education plans in place for students with different learning styles and needs. Often, this hard skill isn't necessary for general teaching. But it's a critical skill for special education practitioners. These teachers must also be adaptable, empathetic, and patient.

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