Effective Teaching Methods
Teaching is a practice that’s constantly changing. There are theories and philosophies of learning that influence how classrooms are run…
January 10, 2022 | 7 mins read
Teaching is a practice that’s constantly changing. There are theories and philosophies of learning that influence how classrooms are run and students are taught. There are also several kinds of learners, each of which demands a different approach. Teaching techniques for young children are different from teaching techniques that might be used in a college. Teaching college students is also distinct from teaching working professionals.
As educators, which are the best teaching strategies? You’ll find there’s no easy answer to this question. Different material and learners need their own approach. Read on to learn all about effective teaching methods and strategies.
There are many teaching methods types that reflect different approaches to education. Assimilating knowledge is a complex process that occurs in many ways. For an educator, often the first place to start is assessing the needs of the students and deciding how best to deliver the information. We all learn through different methods, and what works for one student may not work for another, what applies to one cohort won’t apply to another. Teachers should consider their students when choosing a teaching style, so students can receive information in a way that’s easy to process.
In teacher-centered teaching strategies, the instructor is seen as the one who possesses the knowledge. They hand down the knowledge to students, who are passive receivers. This is often seen in lecture-style classroom environments, where the teachers or professors speak and students learn. They might take notes and read from prescribed materials, after which they are tested on what they have learned. These are familiar teaching techniques in traditional schools, colleges and professional training courses.
However, in recent years, the trend has been to look at learning as a two-way process. In a student-centric model, students are active participants in their own learning, using group work, project work, independent research to understand a subject, consider it critically and develop their own opinions or theories. In this teaching method, teachers provide direction and scaffolding and are facilitators more than they are subject-matter experts.
Today, there are endless kinds of technology that can be a part of the learning process and teaching strategies. Some systems embrace these new technologies in their methods of instruction, research and assessment. Others choose a more analog approach. Particularly for young learners, the use of technology is a controversial matter. But with older students, there’s an increasing acceptance that technology isn’t only the way of the future, but it can also improve learning outcomes and content delivery for a more impactful teaching method. Furthermore, during the Covid-19 pandemic, most learning had to shift online, accelerating the adoption of technology in the classroom.
Now let’s look at some specific teaching methods types used in the classroom.
As we’ve seen, there’s no one teaching method that’s superior to others. It all depends on the context and philosophy of the institution. Many teachers will also blend different methods to deliver content in the most impactful manner possible. Here are some teaching strategies and methods in common use:
Maria Montessori developed a teaching method a century ago that is still in use today, particularly at the primary level.
The focus is on self-directed exploratory learning. The method includes tools and learning aids for children to explore and learn at their own pace and according to their own interests. The mixed-age classroom allows children to learn from their peers and their instructors. It’s a popular method of instruction for early learners, but it also appears in some schools at the elementary and middle school levels.
2. Inquiry-Based Learning
In this system, teaching strategies are all about promoting curiosity in the learner. Teachers guide students through a topic during the orientation phase, following which they study, chalk out questions and conduct further learning. They formulate a hypothesis, draw a conclusion and share their understanding. These teaching methods and strategies can be part of a teaching design in a student-led classroom.
3. Flipped Classroom
The flipped classroom is a set of teaching methods and techniques in which students learn the course material on their own time and use the sessions in class to work on problems that might ordinarily be given as homework assignments in the traditional classroom. This allows learners to expand their understanding, work on their skills and have discussions with their peers, while the theoretical aspects that are delivered through structured course material is tackled independently.
4. Online Learning
The Covid-19 pandemic has sped up the adoption of online teaching. Methods that would have once only been considered appropriate for certain audiences became the default teaching method overnight when academic institutions around the globe were forced to close. Now, as the world limps back to normalcy, a blended approach seems here to stay.
Online teaching strategies can be delivered synchronously or asynchronously. In synchronous learning, live classroom time with teachers allows learners to interact, even if it’s through a Zoom call or Google Classroom. Older students and adult learners may feel more comfortable with an asynchronous teaching method, where the learning and assessments are conducted independently online and there may only be a few sessions with an instructor or mentor.
5. Project-Based Learning
This is another popular teaching method that puts students at the center. Often seen in higher education, project-based learning has been widely adopted for younger cohorts as well. For instance, elementary students might be asked to conduct independent research on a topic and present it in class as a project. These teaching strategies allow them to develop several skills at once: research, critical thinking, writing, public speaking, problem-solving. The hands-on approach can have transformative learning outcomes, making it amongst the best teaching methods.
Methods of classroom teaching are no longer dull. Educators are now embracing the principle that education can be fun, using innovative teaching techniques. People can learn while having fun, and that’s what gamification is all about.
Even before the word gamification was trending, the concept was in place. If, for example, a school held a science competition in which students were awarded points for their science models, based on which they progressed through rounds, culminating in an award, it’s an example of gamification.
As technology-based education becomes more prevalent, gamification has become an integral part of it. For instance, there are apps to teach how to play a musical instrument that can assess your progress as you go. If you do well on one level, you move to the next, and so on. As you progress, the app will award points, award stickers and unlock additional parts of the course. This kind of learning employs innovative instructional learning technologies.
7. Differentiated Instruction
In differentiated teaching, the teacher allows for differences in learning pace and style amongst the students. If a class of 30 students is all studying long division, it’s likely that some will grasp the concept faster than others. In a differentiated environment, the teachers will take the time to teach the slower learners with teaching techniques that might better suit them. The advanced learners too may move on to the next phase of learning faster. It’s a more personalized approach to teaching. It’s one of the more complex methods of classroom teaching, but it can yield powerful results.
These are the few broad types of teaching method commonly employed in learning environments. There are many other philosophies and techniques used by different teachers for a variety of objectives.
Most educators agree that there’s no such thing as the best teaching methods. It’s impossible to identify one teaching method as being superior to others. Most of the concepts we’ve discussed here find a place in the modern classroom. Most educators will choose several of the above approaches to teaching and deploy them as needed. There are few modern classrooms that adopt a wholly lecture-driven approach. At the very least, even in a teacher-centric system, there’ll be a final project and independent research. And while some educators might prefer a low-technology approach, they might still use the Internet’s wealth of information to achieve their goals. By the same token, whether or not the learning environment steers clear of stressful tests for learners, without some formative assessment, it’s difficult to design effective programs.
Whatever method is chosen by the faculty, the objectives of teaching are the same. These are to:
Teaching is a dynamic field. As teachers, one of the hardest things to do is to make time to constantly learn new teaching strategies, and yet that is now the need of the hour. Harappa’s Inspiring Faculty Program will equip you with innovative skills and practice to implement in the classroom of today. You’ll learn teaching methods and strategies to make the transition from a lecturer to a mentor. You’ll learn teaching practices that’ll help you identify your own ideal mix of methods to empower your students. Become the best version of yourself with Harappa!