Teaching is one of the most satisfying, most exciting and most frustrating occupations you will ever attempt. No matter what level, grade or topics you teach, you will need to make lesson plans and develop strategies for your students to learn and integrate the knowledge. Teaching strategies are plans you make for individual types of students with different needs. Some strategies will work for all, some will work for only one student at a time. This article will give you some tips on how to develop teaching strategies for your students.
All of the lesson-planning principles, methods, approaches and instructional practices detailed in this part of the book aim to suport both teachers and students in making progress in both their second-language learning and intercultural competence development.
Instructions. Begin with researching your subject material. You will need to educate yourself on various lesson plans, available materials and latest discoveries in your chosen area. Before you can teach, you must be well versed in the subject at hand, and also aware of new teaching materials that may have been published covering that topic.
Evaluate your student or students. Strategies can be for individuals or groups. There are general teaching strategies that can apply to the entire classroom, and specific teaching strategies that home in on one area of need. For example, teaching strategies that apply to the classroom are basics such as classroom management. Teaching strategies that apply to a specific problem – such as those that may apply to a student with ADHD – are very focused.
Create your initial list of strategies. Begin with the name of the topic, the student or students who you will be using your strategies with, and notes on each student concerning his or her learning abilities for the selected area. Create a list of pros and cons with each strategy being used for each student.
Hone the list of strategies until the pros significantly outweigh the cons in the strategy list. Remember, this is only a prototype. It may well be necessary to make changes or additions to your strategy list as your lessons progress.
Using your prototype list of master strategies, apply them to the classroom. Keep track of progress or lack thereof, and make corrections as you go. One of the necessities of being a teacher is the ability to flex to fit each situation.
New and old teachers can both benefit from effective teaching strategies for the classroom. Your goal is to help children learn the material that you teach. Essential to this is proper classroom and behavior management. You can achieve this with teaching ideas that engage students, making them interested in learning. Your students’ success largely depends on you, and you owe it to them to come to school prepared to teach every day. Good teaching skills will show through your results.
Before you even set foot in the classroom, do your lesson planning. You need both a course outline and a daily plan. Start your year by having a loose idea of how you will accomplish your goals and adjust it based on your class. If you plan too far ahead, you may find yourself doing a lot of backtracking when you learn that the students’ personalities don’t fit with what you planned.
Prepare detailed weekly lesson plans that illustrate what you want students to learn, how you will teach it and how you can test that they understand the material. Make a note of all the materials that you need so that you don’t come up short in the middle of a lesson.
Also have a list of activities that you can do in case you finish your lesson early. If you don’t have a plan, you may lose control of your classroom.
From the first day, establish expectations of how you expect students to act. Work together with the class to create the rules of the classroom and what happens when someone doesn’t follow the rules. The student participation in this helps them to follow the rules.
Aim to have a positive attitude toward each child. Expect the best from all of your students, even if another teacher has given you a warning about a particular student. Young children tend to respond to adult expectations. If you expect students to be good, they often will act good.
Recent studies suggest that people learn through a variety of methods, often called “multiple intelligences.” These intelligences are naturalist, musical, logical-mathematical, existential, interpersonal, bodily-kinesthetic, linguistic, intrapersonal and special. Traditional schooling focuses only on logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligences.
When teaching a concept, approach it from several different angles. Don’t rely on students to learn only through reading or listening to a lecture. Incorporate other senses by playing music or doing physical activities related to the idea.
Effective Teaching Strategies – Most teachers are looking for ways in which they can turn distracted and sometimes disinterested students into attentive, responsive ones. The answer lies in effective teaching strategies that engage and involve students, and in the process, make learning fun.
Make learning fun? I know, easier said than done. But just think back to your school days, of how you’d tune out when certain teachers droned on and on. That, obviously, is not the teacher you would want to be. Here are some effective strategies that will help your classroom come alive.
Open-ended Quizzes – Among the effective teaching methods, this one is my favorite. Open-ended quizzes really challenge students to think and come up with their own solutions and methods. The objective of this quiz is in direct opposition to normal quizzes that require students to memorize and reproduce. An interesting method employed is to provide the students with take-home exam sheets which they can give in after a period of a few weeks. Now this is the interesting part: students who produce straightforward answers will receive a minimum passing grade. Higher grades would be awarded to those who display a deeper understanding of the material, the ability to apply techniques from other disciplines, and the ability to evaluate.
Show and Tell – The concept of “Show and Tell” is one that most teachers are familiar with. While it may come across as an interesting activity, its utility goes much deeper. One of the best aspects of show and tell is that it can be used for students belonging to any age group. One of the primary objectives this method achieves is, of reversing the role of the student to a teacher. In order to explain a concept to someone else, students must first truly understand the concept. This requires them to understand and analyze the selected subject deeply, and establish a clear line of thinking, to be able to explain the phenomena to their peers.
Interactive lectures – Lectures are one of the old methods used for teaching large groups of students. A plain and simple session usually allows the students to listen passively, without encouraging active participation. To grab the interest of students, one can try to make lectures more interactive by using techniques to encourage students to participate willingly. For example, students can be given a particular question which they could discuss with their neighbor and collectively derive a final answer. Demonstration is another interesting way of making lectures more interactive.
Practical Examples – An effective teaching strategy that must be used frequently is the use of practical examples. These can help students link theory to practical application, which results in more productive learning. While a sound theoretical base is important, it would not be effective without the understanding of its practical application. Examples not only help enhance the theories taught in the classroom, but are also a useful tool in illustrating and explaining new material. By using these examples, educators are able to show students practical applications of what they are learning, and also teach them how to apply basic principles to real life problems. It is a good idea to use contemporary themes that students are interested in. For example, the cost of concert tickets to the ‘Jonas Brothers’, to explain a numerical problem.
Case Studies – Case studies are a compilation of “real-life” activity, in which theories have been put into practical use. As finding a case that fits the class material may be challenging, a teacher may provide students with case material or leave it up to them to find and develop. If the case material is provided, students are expected to go through it and be prepared to answer questions about various aspects of the case. If students are expected to develop a case, their workload will increase significantly, and must be balanced out with other assignments. Students are usually required to work in groups while preparing, presenting the case, and fielding questions. As a teacher, one is required to guide the discussion, keeping in mind the goal of the case.
Brainstorming – Another fun and effective teaching technique, brainstorming engages students and forces participation. There are many ways to brainstorm with a class. One can provide the entire class with a topic to discuss and each student is required to contribute at least one idea. Alternatively, students may contribute ideas as and when they think of them, though this can lead to unequal participation. One may also split the class into small groups, which can discuss and present their idea after a given amount of time.
Roleplaying – A roleplay is an effective method of getting students involved so as to come up with solutions on their own. One can give them a topic to study and ask them to prepare a roleplay with every student of the group performing a particular part, and present it to the class so as to make other students understand the topic. This strategy not only helps the students in understanding the course content, but also makes them aware of real world aspects associated with it.
Jigsaw Technique – This technique is very useful in grabbing the attention of each and every student towards a particular topic through individual involvement. Teams can be formed within the class and each group can be given different, but related topics to prepare. When students are done with their topics, groups are reshuffled in such a way that each new group has one member of all the previous groups. Now the students are required to teach everyone in the new group what they have learned in the previous team. This way every student pays proper attention when learning a particular topic because they know that they will have to teach the same to other members of their new team.
Just-in-Time Teaching – This method helps in preparing students before the class is actually conducted. Instructors post questions related to the topic of discussion on student portal, which students are required to answer before the class. Posting open-ended questions will require the students to read about the topic and then answer the questions as per their understanding of the subject. Before the session, instructors review the answers and figure out the aspects which students have not understood properly and prepare class activities in such a way that those aspects are addressed.
Flowchart- This tool can be used to make students understand where the lecture is headed to, and the goals that are to be achieved at the end of the session. The board is divided into two sections, with one section dedicated to a flowchart which is developed as the session progresses to establish the flow of thought, and the second section dedicated for presentation purposes. At the end of the session, the flowchart serves as a summary of what has been taught in the session. These flowcharts are very useful, specially for a quick review before tests.
Following are some teaching strategies that English teachers employ in their classes:
Role-playing. In role-playing, you and the student assume roles and act out those roles. For instance, if the lesson is about giving and asking directions, one of you pretends he is lost and the other gives directions.