A teaching strategy is the method you use to convey information to your students. There may be a particular strategy that works well with your group of students one year that won’t work with your students the next year. Because of this, it’s important to have lots of teaching strategies in your toolbox. Here are some of the top ideas for you to use.
After telling students what to do, it’s important to show them exactly how to do it. Regardless of how clear your directions are, it’s a good idea to model how you expect them to complete an assignment, so they understand exactly what they’re supposed to do. This will be especially helpful for your students who are visual learners.
For example, if you assign a science lab, physically demonstrate each step of the lab before the students do it on their own.
The same goes for actually solving a math problem step-by-step on the board before asking students to do similar problems on their own .
Or, let’s say you’re in English teacher who wants your students to engage in actively annotating their assigned reading nightly. It would be easy to give them a key and example like this:
But it’s also really helpful to do a demonstration of annotating a passage in class so that students have an idea how to annotate meaningfully on their own.
This is a great video on demonstrating annotations:
2. Addressing Mistakes
If you’ve ever accidentally spelled a word wrong on the board, you know that students love to identify mistakes. When you’re teaching a new skill, try providing an example that includes mistakes. Let students practice the skill by identifying and fixing the mistakes for you.
For example, many students cringe at learning grammar through traditional drills and lessons, but many can identify errors organically, even if they don’t know exactly how to fix them. Try passing out an assignment and deliberating including grammar errors, talk through the assignment in class, and see what students are able to catch. Then, have a discussion about why the mistakes might be wrong and see what students can come up with, then provide a mini lesson on the grammar errors at hand.
Addressing mistakes is much more meaningful to students when there’s a broader context. It’s also really great to create a classroom atmosphere where making mistakes is part of the learning process and students, making less students less intimidated by topics they may struggle with.
3. Providing Feedback
Students don’t always know if they’re doing a good job without you telling them so.
Regularly provide written or verbal feedback for individual or group assignments and make this part of your classroom culture.
Remember that students often don’t know why something is wrong, so whenever possible and time permitting, take a few moments to explain why you’ve marked something “incorrect”on tests and assignments.
It’s also a great idea to conduct regular “group feedback” sessions based on patterns you’re seeing in your students’ work. If a fair share of your students seem to be struggling with a concept, it’s often more beneficial to create a lesson targeting that topic and discussing the patterns you’ve seen in class work generally.
Remember, of course, to provide plenty of positive feedback as well as feedback indicating where a student has room to grow or what a student should do differently. Encouragement helps keep students’ morale, inspiration, and drive high.
And finally, it can be beneficial to turn the tables sometimes. Let the students provide you feedback to tell you how you’re doing as well. You can do this in the form of a discussion, issue class surveys (that can be answered anonymously or not), or ask students to email you with feedback.
4. Cooperative Learning
Students learn effectively when they’re working together. Plan activities that require students to work together and learn from one another. In the process, they’ll also learn critical thinking skills, communication skills, problem solving skills, and more.
5. Experiential Learning
Students learn by doing, so create experiences for them to see the concepts in action. Let them practice the concepts in a safe environment. Then, they should reflect on the experience and discuss what they learned from it. Classroom activities that you could do for experiential learning include fun games, experiments, or simulations.
6. Student-Led Classroom
When students get to be the teacher for the day, they learn things that they wouldn’t have learned otherwise. You could have students team teach or work in groups to teach a new topic. You’ll find that other students will learn from their peers’ unique take on the subjects, too.
7. Class Discussion
Another way for students to teach each other is through class discussions. As students take turns discussing the subject, you can assess their knowledge and discover which students grasp the concepts and to what extent.
8. Inquiry-Guided Instruction
By asking questions and working together to solve the problems, students get to be involved in the learning process. The class can work together to determine the answer and report it. As students do the work to discover the answers on their own, they remember the concepts better and more fully.
9. Lesson Objective Transparency
Rather than letting your students figure out what they should be learning on their own, just tell them. Clearly state your lesson goals or objectives. You could announce it in class or write it on the board. Just make it simple and clear for all of your students to understand. Then, they know what they’re working towards and what they should know by the end of the class. This also really helps to reduce student anxiety come test time.
10. Graphic Organizers
Graphic organizers summarize the information in a concise manner. Using a flow chart, Venn diagram, or web, students get to see the information in a new light. This helps them organize the information in their minds, so they can better grasp the new concepts.