MOST EFFECTIVE TEACHING STRATEGIES FOR SCHOOL TEACHERS
The current national curriculum is activity-based and provides the framework for what should be taught, how it should be taught, and how learning outcomes should be assessed. This is all aimed at helping teachers to move away from the traditional “chalk and talk” and “minds-on”approaches to “hands on and learning by doing approaches” It has also been acknowledged widely that for pupils to do well and to develop practical skills, they must be actively involved in the learning process.
What follows is a catalogue of mainly learner-centred methods that you
can use in teaching various aspects of the curriculum. We have gone straight to applications in
FACTORS GUIDING THE CHOICE OF A METHOD
1. Pupils’ personal characteristics: age, previous knowledge, and what the learner needs to know.
2. Subject matter or topic to be taught.
3. Teacher’s ability to effectively handle the topic.
4. When the lesson takes place.
5. Size of the class.
6. The resources available to the teacher.
7. Space and physical setting of the classroom.
FACTORS THAT ENHANCE THE SUCCESS OF ANY METHOD
1. ACTIVE LISTENING
This is one of the most powerful tools that can promote involvement
and learning. It should be accompanied by eye contact with the children and give children the feeling that what they are saying is important.
2. DIRECT TELLING AND EXPLAINING
This is telling and explaining which should be linked to the children’s previous experiences.
This makes the teaching more meaningful, e.g.: This cup is different from the ones you usually use, because it breaks easily.
This is the use of comments to ginger children to action or direct their thinking or action in a subtle way e.g. would it work better this way?
This is appropriate amount of praise should be used as motivation for learning, but must not be overdone.
TEACHING METHODS AND TECHNIQUES
1. THE PROJECT METHOD
In this approach, a central theme, problem or idea is selected by the teacher who further divides it into sub-themes, for various groups of pupils to tackle.
The pupils are encouraged to investigate, collect specimens (e.g. in science), and analyse them on their own.
The teacher acts as a guide in facilitating the pupils’ learning.
At the end of the investigation, group reports on the assigned project are collated and discussed in the whole class.
Examples of projects in basic science include:
1. investigating different methods of conserving and improving soil fertility.
2. assembling a simple aquarium.
3. constructing a simple weighing balance.
4. making simple models of machines (levers, pulleys).
5. constructing a simple see saw for the school playground.
GUIDELINES FOR PROJECT METHOD
1. Always group brilliant and weak pupils together.
2. Do not pair friends in the same group.
3. Make sure that the project topics are what obtain in the syllabus.
4. Ensure that the project or area of study does not pose any danger to the pupils.
TECHNIQUES OF TEACHING
Some techniques that can be used to make the project method it learner-centred are:
- GROUP PROJECT GAMES – These activities have rules, guiding the competition to determine winners and losers.
- GROUP SIMULATIONS – These involve an elaborate role play or an activity that is designed to reflect real life situation which is carried out in groups.
- GROUP BRAINSTORMING – This involves pupils discussing their plans about a project in-group before a project commences.
- POST PROJECT BRAINSTORMING – This involves pupils discussing the outcome of their projects for the purpose of sharing ideas and learning lessons from them.
2. FIELD TRIP/EXCURSION METHOD
This involves taking pupils outside the classroom so that they can learn some concepts and themes, as they occur in actual situations. Below are possible sites for field trip/excursions and the related concepts, in science for example.
AREA OF FIELD TRIP/EXECUTION
1. School farm/garden or play ground
- Related Science Concepts – Insects, living and non-living organisms seed and plant growth and types, food chain.
2. Mechanic Workshops, e.g. Blacksmith and Electrical Mechanic
- Related Science Concepts – Electricity. Pulleys. Magnetism. Rusting, Heat, Energy Transfer, etc.
3. Streams and ponds
- Related Science Concepts – Floating and sinking, Aquatic plants and animals
- Related Science Concepts – Working of machines, manufactured products, e.g. soap, beverages, etc.
TEACHER’S ACTIVITIES FOR FIELD TRIP/EXECUTION
- The teacher could sometimes give pupils the opportunity to select any area of scientific interest for the field trip as long as they relate to the concepts he intends to teach.
- He should visit the site for the field trip before the date of excursion and make adequate arrangements.
- The concepts to be learnt should have relevance to the core curriculum and pupils should have sufficient time to observe and ask questions.
- When the pupils return, he/she encourages them to discuss and write a report on the trip.
GUIDELINES FOR FIELD TRIP/EXCURSION
1. Select an area/location to go to with scientific, cultural, historical, etc. educative value.
2. Ensure that the concepts to be learnt have relevance to the core curriculum.
3. Allow the pupils to ask questions based on their observations.
4. Ensure that the location selected is safe.
Require the pupils to write a report of the trip.
OBSERVING LOCAL ECOSYSTEMS
1. Talk to your class about the idea of an ecosystem. Brainstorm a list of probable ecosystems near the school.
Divide your class into groups and let each one select an ecosystem to adopt and study for the rest of the year.
If there is only one suitable ecosystem near your classroom, everyone can study it. Organize pupils to take turns to record the observations.
Encourage them to ask questions about the animals that live there and how they might interact with each other.
What types of living things (populations) would they expect to find and in what numbers?
What eats what? How might numbers change during the year? Record these questions and predictions for future reference.
2. Later, make time to visit the sites with pupils, to check their predictions.
This becomes an ongoing group project.
Make time every few weeks for visits and reports of new information. In this way, the pupils’ knowledge and understanding will grow over time in a relaxed and informal way.
3. Groups could keep a scrapbook or journal to record their growing understanding of the way things happen in their ecosystem.
4. Story map – before a lesson commences, you may prepare and present on a cardboard paper the title of a story and its outline.
Pupils may then be asked to describe the setting events and conclusion to be derived.
4. Visualisation – You may ask pupils to close their eyes and form image of an activity or an event.
Thereafter, they could be asked to list on a sheet of paper all the associated sub activities which could be compared with the one you had prepared.
5. Quick write: Guide pupils to use questioning to provide answers on a sheet of paper, (Curson, 1982).
FIELD TRIP TECHNIQUES
Learning is enhanced through field trips.
Observations give meaning to the concepts, skills, processes and values being taught. Learning experiences that take place in the natural environment of the topic connect classroom learning to the real world.
They serve to stimulate interest in a new topic or broaden an ongoing topic. During such trips, pupils can observe collect, classify and even manipulate objects.
For young children, such trips should not be for too long distances.
They must be done with the consent of parents and adequate transport, health and security arrangements should be made.
It could be to any natural environment.
Field trips must be planned to enhance motivation.
STEPS TO BE ADOPTED BEFORE FIELD TRIPS
Here are some steps to be adopted before field trips,
1. Adopt guided imagery: Give the pupils a brief description of the place to be visited and ask them to imagine what the place look like and list possible things to be seen there.
2. During a field trip ask pupils to work in groups of three to ask questions and document what they -see and prepare answers on the questions at the end of the trip.
3. During a trip ask pupils to work in groups to conduct find out the purpose of the visit and report their findings to the class on return from the trip.
4. At the end of a field trip group presentation of report should follow while other pupils make comments beginning with positive ones.
This implies displaying things for pupils to see. It involves showing them things for which the results are already known.
Demonstrations are usually done by the teacher, but sometimes by pupils, either in small groups or individually.
They serve to reinforce newly acquired knowledge.
Demonstrations can also provide a rich opportunity to explore and view new learning tasks from a different perspective.
For example, asking a visiting professional to your classroom to demonstrate his/her craft may stimulate a pupil to pursue a career.
It spurs a learner to work more independently. Pupils that know a skill can be asked to demonstrate such skills, e.g. how to hold a pencil, how to draw a dog, or how to boil yam, etc.
Demonstration involves carrying out activities to illustrate concepts or ideas, they are most suitable in teaching practical topics.
Demonstration can be carried out by:
1. the teacher alone.
2. the teacher with a pupil.
3. the pupil who is knowledgeable in the activity.
4. an invited guest.
For examples, it can be carried out in order to show how,
1. water evaporates when it is heated,
2. to arrange batteries in series to increase voltage; and
3. to purify muddy water through filtration.
GUIDELINES FOR CARRYING OUT DEMONSTRATION
In carrying out a demonstration, note the following:
1. The purpose of the demonstration must be clear to all pupils.
2. All children should see every part of demonstration.
3. Involve the children as much as possible.
4. Use simple and readily available apparatus in demonstrating.
5. Test the gadget / equipment before lesson to show that they work.
6. Ensure that dangerous experiments are handled by you.
7. Prepare the various chemicals before time, if it is a science class.
8. Do not use demonstrations always in order to avoid boredom.
The following techniques are learner centred:
I. THINK-LIST-PAIR AND SHARE
Give pupils a passage containing the lesson’s objectives to read.
Ask them to list the points in the passage, then pair and share the points with the next child, present consensus view points, and record them on the board.
This is to identify the objectives of a lesson and safety rules and regulations to be observed in the workshop.
III. INDIVIDUAL GROUP PRACTICE
This technique involves each member of a group being asked to practice a skill for a short period of time, mistakes are identified, corrections effected thereafter the practice continuous until each member of the group is able to master the skill.
IV. DEMONSTRATING AND QUESTIONING
This involves a teacher demonstrating a skill before
pupils and asking them questions on each step of the demonstration. This technique could be adopted before the lesson begins.
V. GROUP INDEPENDENCE PRACTICE
This involves giving pupils group assignment to continue practicing the skill demonstrated.
This technique is good for post demonstration task.
VI. DISCUSSION WEB
The teacher can give topics on demonstration tasks to the pupils to think and modify the steps.
This enhances high level of innovativeness on the part of pupils.
4. THE INQUIRY/DISCOVERY TECHNIQUE
This is a major strategy in science teaching and mathematics.
This is based on the assumption that as much as possible children should be allowed to learn in their own way through skills such as observation, communication, counting, measuring and classification. You should, however, assist pupils by arranging the environment to promote learning.
This method can be carried out as follows:
I. GUIDED INQUIRY
This is when the general principle is given and the child is required to
use this principle to discover the solution to a specific problem, or vice-versa.
2. UNGUIDED INQUIRY
When the general principles and solutions are not given, pupils are expected to manipulate and discover links/concepts, e.g. arrangement of puzzles.
Give pupils opportunities to discover facts or ideas through observation and testing of hypotheses.
Teach them to observe carefully, ask questions, measure. classify, predict and communicate their findings.
Inquiry also entails values such as honesty, open mindedness and perseverance when carrying out a task. Pupils need to appreciate these values in everything they do.
INQUIRY/DISCOVERY TOPIC – TEMPERATURE
Pupils work in groups following these instruction,
I. Take the temperature of ice block.
II. Heat the ice block in a container and record what happens.
III. At what temperature does the ice melt?
IV. Continue to heat record what happens.
V. At what temperature does steam start coming out?
VI. Take a bottle of cold water and place it over the steam. Describe what happens.
Teachers should allow pupils to make observations and conclusions for themselves while he gives necessary guidance.
GUIDELINES FOR INQUIRY/DISCOVERY
I. All pupils should participate in the activities
II. Encourage each pupil to report his/her finding.
III. The problem should be properly defined.
5. COOPERATIVE LEARNING
This is an instructional mode where the pupils cooperate with each other to perform or complete a particular task. Teacher should assign pupils to groups and assign roles to them.
Teacher should create a classroom environment that includes group work spaces where resources are shared.
Create circumstances for pupils to interact with each other, and to also express their opinions.
For examples, group pupils to discuss;
I. purification of muddy water
II. separation of mixtures.
III. personal hygiene
GUIDELINES FOR COOPERATIVE LEARNING
I. Group the academically strong pupils with the weak ones.
II. Do not place friends in the same group.
III. Make sure everyone has a role to play.
6. TEAM TEACHING
Team teaching can be defined as an arrangement in which two or more experienced teachers share the responsibility for a common group of pupils varying the size of the group and the teaching procedures according to the objectives of the work at hand and the needs of the pupils.
In essence, team teaching is an educational strategy where multiple teachers develop and present course materials to a class on the fact that each teacher has his/her own area of specialisation, preference, content mastery, level of experience, resourcefulness, voice and ability to manage class, with a view to cross pollinate ideas, rob minds in order to improve pupils performance to go along with the saying’ two heads that are symmetrically attuned are better than one’.
In carrying out team teaching for science pupils, you as a teacher should form a group with two or more teachers who will together:
2. Prepare lessons
3. Select instructional materials
4. Conduct and evaluate learning activities for the class.
5. Must be prepared to pool your resources together to meet the needs and address possible areas of difficulties of the pupils.
I. Skill acquisition
II. Space travel
III. Environmental pollination
For this approach to be successfully used, a number of teaching techniques will be involved.
These techniques are those that could arouse interest and curiosity, provide information and enable systematic processing of information and help formulate codes of behaviour.
Some of these include: discussion, questioning technique, think – list – pair – share, brainstorming, debates, practical work, simulation, games and plays, small groupings and scaffolding.
This approach involves the whole class.
A topic or a problem is introduced. The whole class is allowed to discuss or find the solution to the problem or for them to make inputs. The role of the teacher is that of a moderator.
You may use the group approach to solicit pupil’s inputs or record desirable responses from the pupils on one side of the chalk board for comparison.
Often, other ideas beyond the scope of the lesson, do come up. Such ideas are not ignored or thrown out just like that. They may be kept aside to be treated with a related topic or on another day.
You may also give the pupils as homework
I. Rain formation
II. Earth formation
III. Process of digestion
This technique is more associated with language teaching than any other subject as it helps to develop critical thinking, effective use of language to convince people and to defend one’s position or point of view.
A topic or concept is given and pupils are allowed to think and examine all issues relating to it.
They then provide facts for and against such issues: This enriches the scope and depth of such topics, after the debate, you should lead pupils to summarize the points made.
I. Drug abuse
II. Use and misuse of renewable and non renewable energy
III. Teachers are more than doctors
IV. Education and poverty.
GUIDELINES FOR DEBATING
1. Encourage each pupil to think and list.
2. Make sure the grouping is not one sided by placing the weak pupils together.
9. SCAFFOLDING TECHNIQUE
Scaffolding is used when building high structures such as storey building. Scaffolds are pillars for support to both the building and the builder.
In the classroom, you as the builder can use the gifted and fast learners as scaffolds (pillars) to aid or build up the slow learners, the gifted pupils then serve as go-between through interaction with the slow ones after the class.
Pupils learn better and faster from each other.
Scaffolding involves the teacher controlling the learning task so that the child is able to solve a problem or perform a task, which would not have been possible without assistance.
1. assist the pupil in acquiring skills, which are above him/her.
2. identify what the pupil knows already and the new situation.
3. revise the previous work and ask relevant questions that will link what is to be learnt with what is already known.
4. break down complex tasks into manageable bits and reduce the number of steps in the learning tasks to manageable number.
1. Sources of water
II. Importance of ICT
GUIDELINES FOR SCAFFOLDING TECHNIQUES
I. The teacher should practice the question before the class.
II. Ensures that all pupils participate.
10. COMPUTER ASSISTED LEARNING
Today, computers can be used in teaching, i.e. computer-assisted instruction (CAI), which makes the computer a learning tool. Interesting and well-designed activities can be motivational and children can spend more time on learning where computers are available, either in the school or at home.
The computer enhances individual learning because it can be programmed to suit individual needs, ability and space. Pupils can work in pairs or group helping each other in learning. (cooperative learning or each one teach one)as co-operative learning.
For you to use CAl for teaching basic science, you as a teacher should be:
1. knowledgeable and possess the skills of computing.
2. encourage pupils to be computer literate.
3. able to develop good software, since this can help pupils develop their understanding of cause and effect, higher order problem-solving, procedural thinking and creative expression.
Experts can be invited to demonstrate how computer, video, tape recorder, radio, TV could be used in teaching any concept such as.
II. the solar system
11. DISCUSSION TECHNIQUE
Discussion involves free conversation between two or more people. It requires giving pupils the opportunity to express their opinions and ideas and to listen to those of others.
It is best suitable when an issue or a topic demands free expression of opinions or ideas from different people.
There are several techniques that can be adopted to make discussion Learner-centred such as,
I. SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION
This allows the pupils go into small group of five or eight for the purpose of meaningful discussion.
II. SINGLE TASK GROUP DISCUSSION
The pupils are asked to answer questions.
III. BUZZ GROUP OR PAIRED DISCUSSION
This requires pupils discussion in pairs to answer a question.
This technique involves combining two pairs to make a foursome in order to combine their ideas.
This technique which requires a small number of pupils presenting an information to a larger group and after it the presenters solicit questions from the audience.
This session has presented a catalogue of teaching methods and techniques that you are expected to be able to use when appropriate.
Lesson presentation goes beyond teacher revising the previous lesson, introduce the new lesson, explain and summarize.
The lesson presentation is effective use of selected resources, effective use of voices, hand, parts of the body, ability to demonstrate as the need arises, and effectiveness of class control and management as stated in all lesson in classbasic.com.
The emphasis is still on getting pupils actively involved in their learning and on cutting down teacher talk and mark.
We have kept to the blanket word “methods”, though some of these are simply ways of actualizing learner centredness, i.e. techniques.
You may find yourself using two or three of these techniques in a given lesson in order to achieve full learner involvement.
There is no single method good for all purposes.
The choice of a method depends on the pupils’ personal characteristics; subject matter or topic; time; resources; size; resources and space. Some attributes can enhance the success of your method with children.
For example, active listening, direct telling and explaining, prompting and incentives.
The lecture or teacher-centered method is often used for aimed at introducing a new topic specific facts and basic skills. Generally, it involves: telling, identification, discrimination and recall.
For effective use, there should be a clear introduction, summary, and the incorporation of other methods, e.g. after the brief introduction of a new topic.
Demonstration means displaying something for pupils to see for verification.
To be effective, the purpose should be clearly stated and must be visible to all. It can be used to introduce or climax a lesson. It saves time and cost.
The success of teaching any given topic depends on thorough preparation among which is the use of methods and techniques that drive the points home fully, considering the nature of the topic, the pupils’ age and learning style.