The 5 Best Methods & Specific Tips on HOW to Incorporate Each in Your Own Classroom
Being a teacher is a tough business. It can be hard to navigate the classroom and know if your teaching methods are truly hitting home with your students.
That’s why we rely on our specific go-to teaching strategies to help guide the way throughout the year.
But, do we know if these methods that we use day in and day out are truly effective?
Here's the deal about what researchers have found recently and what the top minds in education have to say about teaching strategies after taking a deeper look.
Check out the top five things that you can (and should) be doing in your classroom to help your students succeed this year.
First off, it’s important to know exactly what teaching strategies are and how they can assist you in the classroom. Basically, these are methods teachers use to deliver information and lessons to their students. They are most often identified with three main basic areas of learning; visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.
However, it can be hard to know what strategies to use and exactly when to use them. It can seem, at times, like we almost have too much information coming at us about the best designed lesson plan. And it can easily leave us teachers feeling overwhelmed and a little lost. We all want to be innovative and try new things, but how can we know what is the best use of our time and effort?
John Hattie, who has researched the levels of achievement in K-12 children for over 15 years and is the author of Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning, has some insight for us. His findings helped link student outcomes to a few highly effective teaching practices.
His findings along with those of other researchers have helped to link positive student outcomes with highly effective teaching strategies. So, which teaching strategies has research supported as the best? Here are the top ones that were found.
TRY IT: Post the objectives for each day on a specified space on your whiteboard following these guidelines.
2.) Checking for Understanding - Kathleen Cotton’s research in Classroom Questions - School Improvement Research Series suggested that even though teachers spend a lot of time asking questions, they don’t always use their questions to check for understanding. However, it is incredibly important to do so before moving on to the next part of a lesson.
TRY IT: Check out this fantastic article on How to Check for Understanding, for some great ideas.
3.) Give Students Plenty of Practice - This tactic can be a little tricky since we always seem to be under some kind of time constraint in our classrooms. However, practice really does make perfect. Make the most of practice by ensuring your students are practicing the right things. Split up topics among students and have them demonstrate their knowledge to the classroom in a show and tell/question and answer session in class.
TRY IT: Use games that do not waste time. I call these “no fluff.” The creative & unique game options available for purchase here offer a bit of fun without taking away any lesson time. They incorporate the same number of problems as a worksheet, but in a fun way (the perfect blend of fun and rigor!)
4.) Provide Feedback - It’s hard for students to know where they are without proper feedback. According to John Hattie’s research, “any teachers who seriously want to boost their children’s results should start by giving them dollops and dollops of feedback” (source).
- These printables include forms and specific examples for giving feedback,
- and this list offers 20 ways to make sure your feedback is effective.
5.) Nurture Metacognition - Basically this is thinking about thinking and it is very beneficial to our students. It helps them make connections when reading and verbalizing problem solving. This tactic involves more than just strategies. It involves thinking about your options, your choices, and the results. This actually helps the student decide on the strategies they can use instead of being told which one to use. Then they can analyze their choices and decide if they are on the right path of cognition.
- Have students explain their thinking process when using card sorts, always, sometimes, never activities, and other similar critical thinking tasks. Get the “math talk” going!
- Be sure to also have your students WRITE about their thinking. (Learn more here.)
- Structure your lessons in a way that requires students to test cases and provide examples and counterexamples. (Learn more here.)
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