Atomi’s 10 rules for creating phenomenal lessons

Tom O'Donahoo

Co-founder & Co-CEO at Atomi


min read

At Atomi every new employee is given a copy of the following rules on their very first day.

No matter if you’re in the IT, marketing, academic, finance or sales teams this document serves as a reminder that underneath it all being an incredible teacher is the most important role you have.

Although not everyone will create lessons, we’re all teachers at heart. As parents, mentors, co-workers and friends the most powerful thing we can do is to share our knowledge, wisdom and passion.

Our key focus is and always will be about creating amazing student experiences, so here’s our rules to make any lesson phenomenal:

  1. Empathise with your audience - understand what they want, how they feel and why your lesson will be important to them.
  2. Think carefully about how you are going to explain your content, then simplify it. Then simplify it again… then once more.
  3. No one remembers anything unless they understand why it’s important. Give context to content.
  4. A good lesson should be no more than 10 minutes, but a great one will inspire a student to investigate for hours. Plant the seed.
  5. Avoid dogma like the plague. Just because something has been done that way for ever, doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it.
  6. Have passion — it’s infectious. There’s rarely such a thing as being too excited about an idea.
  7. It’s one thing to say, and another to do. Build confidence by demonstrating carefully and slowly.
  8. No one remembers facts, but they easily remember calamities, incidents, innovations and anecdotes. Tell stories. Have fun with it.
  9. You’ll never get it perfect the first time, but seek feedback and find out what you can improve. Don’t tolerate mediocrity — you’re better than that. Iterate.
  10. Bring it down to earth. Find a way to relate what you’re saying to the here and now.

Nothing is ever boring, it’s just not taught properly. All it takes is to think deeply and care about what you do.


Published on

September 11, 2016

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