The classroom is a unique environment that brings together learners from different backgrounds with diverse abilities and personalities. To be an effective educator, you must implement creative and innovative teaching methods to meet the diverse learning needs in your classroom. However, there is no one-size-fits-all teaching strategy that you can implement. In this case, how do you know which strategies will work best with your students? Figuring out exactly what works will require a lot of trial and error, so here are a couple of effective strategies you can use to get you started on the right note.
Use visual aids
Visual aids are a great way to ramp up your lessons and accommodate the different learning styles kids have. For some, they can absorb all the information taught and understand it from hearing a lecture alone; however, others such as visual learners require the information to be presented visually for them to understand it completely. Utilizing visual aids such as infographics, charts, or diagrams can help your students form connections between the information and understand what you are teaching. As you teach, reference the illustrations so everyone can follow along and get what they need out of the lesson.
Let the students take over
A great way of ensuring your learners completely understand what you are teaching is to allow them to teach it to others. As they go through the concepts, they develop a deeper understanding of the lesson. Letting your students teach allows them to display what they learnt and share it with the class, that’s why a lot of private schools in Singapore are advocating for this. However, teaching takes preparation and a deep understanding of the course material, so before they can teach, they will need to put in extra time and effort to fully understand what they are teaching.
Given how prevalent technology is, it is probably the most powerful teaching tool you have at your disposal. Incorporating it into your teaching methods is a great way to keep your students engaged and help develop their computer literacy skills. For instance, you can use mobile devices, laptop or computers to incorporate educational programs into your lessons. This way, learning becomes more interactive as pupils can engage, collaborate, and challenge each other as they learn, which builds autonomy. Another way to incorporate technology and boost student engagement is by gamifying different aspects of the learning process. This ups the fun and energy factor, thus motivating learners to try harder. For instance, you can create a fun trivia game about the different concepts they learned during the week and award the winner a prize.
While silent individual learning has its own place in the classroom, sometimes working as a group makes it easier to learn. Group work gets students talking, sharing ideas and exploring different perspectives which in turn makes learning a lot more fun and interactive. Working in groups also breaks up the monotony of lecture-style teaching and helps learners develop teamwork. For instance, while doing an experiment, one student can read the instructions and take notes while another performs the experiment. If they are working on several experiments, they can take turns, so everyone gets a chance to play every role.
Model as you teach
Modelling is the process of demonstrating a skill or concept so learners can see it for themselves. When introducing a new concept or subject to the class, it helps to include an example or demonstration. While some kids can easily grasp new concepts through hearing alone others will need to see it in action. This is especially true for visual learners. Think of it as a different way of elaborating things. As easy as this sounds, it can leave students more confused than confident, especially if you are demonstrating something you have done over a hundred times. Effective modelling should be visually heavy as students need to see you show the skill, for instance, through a live demonstration, a step-by-step guide or pictures and diagrams. Make sure you divide the lesson down into simple steps and pace it appropriately. Be patient with your students because this might be second nature to you but it will be new to your students.
Fall back to direct instruction
When teaching a new complex or unfamiliar concept, your learners will need a firm grounding before they can get hands-on. This is where direct instruction comes in. This classic teaching strategy starts with explicit lecture-style teaching that progresses to group practice and independent student work. Direct instruction is great for introducing unfamiliar material or revisiting challenging concepts. To do this effectively, you need to engage your student more because the teacher-centric aspect of this teaching method can be a drag for them; remember to break up the lesson into small bits, so they easily follow along.
Hopefully, these effective teaching strategies will inspire your classroom practices and bolster your teaching to help you support your students, so they get the most from their learning.