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Whether you’re a longtime educator, preparing to start your first teaching job or mapping out your dream of a career in the classroom, the topic of teaching methods is one that means many different things to different people.
Your individual approaches and strategies to imparting knowledge to your students and inspiring them to learn are probably built on your academic education as well as your instincts and intuition.
Whether you come by your preferred teaching methods organically or by actively studying educational theory and pedagogy, it can be helpful to have a comprehensive working knowledge of the various teaching methods at your disposal.
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Teaching Methods: Not as Simple as ABC
The teacher-centered approach vs. the student-centered approach. High-tech vs. low-tech approaches to learning. Flipped classrooms, differentiated instruction, inquiry-based learning, personalized learning and more.
Not only are there dozens of teaching methods to explore, it is also important to have a sense for how they often overlap or interrelate. One extremely helpful look at this question is offered by the teacher-focused education website Teach.com.
“Teaching theories can be organized into four categories based on two major parameters: a teacher-centered approach versus a student-centered approach, and high-tech material use versus low-tech material use,” according to the informative Teach.com article, which breaks down a variety of influential teaching methods as follows:
Teacher-Centered Approach to Learning
Teachers serve as instructor/authority figures who deliver knowledge to their students through lectures and direct instruction, and aim to measure the results through testing and assessment. This method is sometimes referred to as “sage on the stage.”
Student-Centered Approach to Learning
Teachers still serve as an authority figure, but may function more as a facilitator or “guide on the side,” as students assume a much more active role in the learning process. In this method, students learn from and are continually assessed on such activities as group projects, student portfolios and class participation.
High-Tech Approach to Learning
From devices like laptops and tablets to using the internet to connect students with information and people from around the world, technology plays an ever-greater role in many of today’s classrooms. In the high-tech approach to learning, teachers utilize many different types of technology to aid students in their classroom learning.
Low-Tech Approach to Learning
Technology obviously comes with pros and cons, and many teachers believe that a low-tech approach better enables them to tailor the educational experience to different types of learners. Additionally, while computer skills are undeniably necessary today, this must be balanced against potential downsides; for example, some would argue that over-reliance on spell check and autocorrect features can inhibit rather than strengthen student spelling and writing skills.
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Diving further into the overlap between different types of teaching methods, here is a closer look at three teacher-centered methods of instruction and five popular student-centered approaches.
Teaching Methods [Teacher-Centered]
Direct Instruction (Low Tech)
Under the direct instruction model — sometimes described as the “traditional” approach to teaching — teachers convey knowledge to their students primarily through lectures and scripted lesson plans, without factoring in student preferences or opportunities for hands-on or other types of learning. This method is also customarily low-tech since it relies on texts and workbooks rather than computers or mobile devices.
Flipped Classrooms (High Tech)
What if students did the “classroom” portion of their learning at home and their “homework” in the classroom? That’s an oversimplified description of the flipped classroom approach, in which students watch or read their lessons on computers at home and then complete assignments and do problem-solving exercises in class.
Kinesthetic Learning (Low Tech)
In the kinesthetic learning model, students perform hands-on physical activities rather than listening to lectures or watching demonstrations. Kinesthetic learning, which values movement and creativity over technological skills, is most commonly used to augment traditional types of instruction — the theory being that requiring students to do, make or create something exercises different learning muscles.
Teaching Methods [Student-Centered]
Differentiated Instruction (Low Tech)
Inspired by the 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), enacted to ensure equal access to public education for all children, differentiated instruction is the practice of developing an understanding of how each student learns best, and then tailoring instruction to meet students’ individual needs.
In some instances, this means Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students with special needs, but today teachers use differentiated instruction to connect with all types of learners by offering options on how students access content, the types of activities they do to master a concept, how student learning is assessed and even how the classroom is set up.
Inquiry-Based Learning (High Tech)
Rather than function as a sole authority figure, in inquiry-based learning teachers offer support and guidance as students work on projects that depend on them taking on a more active and participatory role in their own learning. Different students might participate in different projects, developing their own questions and then conducting research — often using online resources — and then demonstrate the results of their work through self-made videos, web pages or formal presentations.
Expeditionary Learning (Low Tech)
Expeditionary learning is based on the idea that there is considerable educational value in getting students out of the classroom and into the real world. Examples include trips to City Hall or Washington, D.C., to learn about the workings of government, or out into nature to engage in specific study related to the environment. Technology can be used to augment such expeditions, but the primary focus is on getting out into the community for real-world learning experiences.
Personalized Learning (High Tech)
In personalized learning, teachers encourage students to follow personalized, self-directed learning plans that are inspired by their specific interests and skills. Since assessment is also tailored to the individual, students can advance at their own pace, moving forward or spending extra time as needed. Teachers offer some traditional instruction as well as online material, while also continually reviewing student progress and meeting with students to make any needed changes to their learning plans.
Game-Based Learning (High Tech)
Students love games, and considerable progress has been made in the field of game-based learning, which requires students to be problem solvers as they work on quests to accomplish a specific goal. For students, this approach blends targeted learning objectives with the fun of earning points or badges, much like they would in a video game. For teachers, planning this type of activity requires additional time and effort, so many rely on software like Classcraft or 3DGameLab to help students maximize the educational value they receive from within the gamified learning environment.
What About Blended Learning and UDL?
Blended learningis another strategy for teachers looking to introduce flexibility into their classroom. This method relies heavily on technology, with part of the instruction taking place online and part in the classroom via a more traditional approach, often leveraging elements of the flipped classroom approach detailed above. At the heart of blended learning is a philosophy of taking the time to understand each student’s learning style and develop strategies to teach to every learner, by building flexibility and choice into your curriculum.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
UDL incorporates both student-centered learning and the “multiple intelligences theory,” which holds that different learners are wired to learn most effectively in different ways (examples of these “intelligences” include visual-spatial, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, linguistic, musical, etc.). In practice, this could mean that some students might be working on a writing project while others would be more engaged if they created a play or a movie. UDL emphasizes the idea of teaching to every student, special needs students included, in the general education classroom, creating community and building knowledge through multiple means.
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Teaching Methods: A to Z
In addition to the many philosophical and pedagogical approaches to teaching, classroom educators today employ diverse and sometimes highly creative methods involving specific strategies, prompts and tools that require little explanation. These include:
- Appointments with students
- Art-based projects
- Audio tutorials
- Author’s chair
- Book reports
- Bulletin boards
- Case studies
- Chalkboard instruction
- Class projects
- Classroom discussion
- Classroom video diary
- Collaborative learning spaces
- Creating murals and montages
- Current events quizzes
- Designated quiet space
- Discussion groups
- DIY activities
- Dramatization (plays, skits, etc.)
- Educational games
- Educational podcasts
- Essays (Descriptive)
- Essays (Expository)
- Essays (Narrative)
- Essays (Persuasive)
- Exhibits and displays
- Explore different cultures
- Field trips
- Flash cards
- Flexible seating
- Gamified learning plans
- Genius hour
- Group discussion
- Guest speakers
- Hands-on activities
- Individual projects
- Laboratory experiments
- Learning contracts
- Learning stations
- Literature circles
- Making posters
- Math games
- Mock conventions
- Motivational posters
- Music from other countries/cultures
- Oral reports
- Panel discussions
- Peer partner learning
- Pen pals
- Problem solving activities
- Reading aloud
- Readers’ theater
- Reflective discussion
- Research projects
- Rewards & recognition
- Role playing
- School newspapers
- Science fairs
- Sister city programs
- Spelling bees
- Student podcasts
- Student portfolios
- Student presentations
- Student-conceived projects
- Supplemental reading assignments
- TED talks
- Team-building exercises
- Term papers
- Textbook assignments
- Time capsules
- Use of community or local resources
- Video creation
- Video lessons
- Vocabulary lists
- Web quests
- Word walls
For the Love of Teaching
So, is the teacher the center of the educational universe or the student? Does strong reliance on the wonders of technology offer a more productive educational experience or is a more traditional, lower-tech approach the best way to help students thrive?
Questions such as these are food for thought for educators everywhere, in part because they inspire ongoing reflection on how to make a meaningful difference in the lives of one’s students.
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Joseph Lathan, PhD
Whether you’re a longtime educator, preparing to start your first teaching job or mapping out your dream of a career in the classroom, the topic of teaching methods is one that means many different things to different people. Your individual approaches and strategies to imparting knowledge to your students and…
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There are different types of teaching methods which can be categorised into three broad types. These are teacher-centred methods, learner-centred methods, content-focused methods and interactive/participative methods.How many teaching methods are there? ›
There are different types of teaching methods which can be categorised into three broad types. These are teacher-centred methods, learner-centred methods, content-focused methods and interactive/participative methods.What are the current methods of teaching? ›
- Flipped Classroom. Let's start with the most popular modern teaching technique. ...
- Tactile Learning. ...
- VAK Learning. ...
- Project-Based Learning. ...
- Problem-Based Learning. ...
- Collaborative Learning. ...
- Cooperative Learning. ...
- Game-Based Learning.
A method of learning a skill in which the whole skill is repeatedly practised until its performance is perfected. It is usually adopted when the skill is relatively simple.What are the 30 method of teaching? ›
- Lecture. This is the most commonly followed methods in teaching in various educational institutions throughout the country. ...
- Class discussion. ...
- Oral Questions. ...
- Repeating points. ...
- Buzz groups. ...
- Demonstration. ...
- Presentation. ...
- Student reports.
The 60-second method involves having learners review one another's work in three steps, which takes 60 seconds each. The steps are respond, reflect, and review. This usually happens after a learner presentation where the learners give a cumulative 3 minutes of feedback and reflection on the performance.What are the 10 methods of teaching adults? ›
- Keep your lessons relevant.
- Tell stories as you're teaching.
- Break up the information to avoid cognitive overload.
- Get everyone involved.
- Keep them engaged.
- Focus on your learners' life experience.
- Be mindful of different learning styles.
- Make your material visually stimulating.
Recognized as the most conventional approach, the teacher-centered methodology is based on the idea that the teacher has the main responsibility in the learning environment. Teachers are in charge of the classroom and direct all activities.
Collaborative Learning, Spaced Learning, Flipped Classroom, Self Learning, Gamification, VAK teaching, and Crossover Learning are various types of Modern Teaching Method.What is 21st century teaching? ›
21st-century learning is a term used to describe a shift in education from the traditional methods of the past to a more modern approach. This new approach focuses on preparing students for the future by teaching them the skills they need to be successful in a global economy.
- The Constructivist Approach. The constructivist approach is based on the concept of constructivism. ...
- The Collaborative Approach. ...
- The Reflective Approach. ...
- The Integrative Approach. ...
- The Inquiry-Based Approach.
Do you know what the four types of instructional methods are? The four types are information processing, behavioral, social interaction, and personal. Within each model, several strategies can be used. Strategies determine the approach a teacher may take to achieve learning objectives.What is an example of traditional teaching methods? ›
The old-fashioned way of teaching was all about recitation, for example students would sit in silence, while one student after another would take it in turns to recite the lesson, until each one had been called upon.
Seventy percent of the talk time should be student talk time. The remaining 30 percent should be teacher talk time.What is the 80 20 teaching method? ›
Teachers can use the 80/20 rule to supercharge their student's performance, focusing their energy on the 20% that matters and letting GradeCam do the 80% that doesn't. The Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule means that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.What is the 20 40 rule in teaching? ›
20/40/80 Rule—We remember 20 percent of what we hear, 40 percent of what we hear and see, 80 percent of what we hear, see and do. Learners remember more when visual aids support verbal instruction. Adults remember best when they practice the new skill.What is 321 education strategy? ›
A 3-2-1 prompt helps students structure their responses to a text, film, or lesson by asking them to describe three takeaways, two questions, and one thing they enjoyed. It provides an easy way for teachers to check for understanding and to gauge students' interest in a topic.What is the 10 2 rule in teaching? ›
10-2-2 is a teaching framework that advocates teachers talk for no more than ten minutes, provide students with two minutes of group processing time, and then provide two minutes of individual processing time.What is the rule of 7 teaching? ›
The rule of 7 is simple. Seven words, steps or points are the maximum for optimal memory retention. That means, quick definitions of vocabulary words need to have 7 words or less.What are the 7 ways adults learn? ›
- 1) Kinesthetic Learners. ...
- 2) Intrapersonal Learners. ...
- 3) Interpersonal Learners. ...
- 4) Linguistic Learners. ...
- 5) Auditory Learners. ...
- 6) Visual Learners. ...
- 7) Logical Learners.
Older adult learners prefer the experience-based learning approach in an active environment, so that they can share their life experiences, opinions, and expectations. They need an informal learning setting with a personalised curriculum, so that their digital learning session is more effective.Which is the oldest and most used method of teaching? ›
The lecture, one of the oldest teaching methods, is still the most widely used method of instruction on college campuses.What makes a good teacher? ›
Some qualities of a good teacher include skills in communication, listening, collaboration, adaptability, empathy and patience. Other characteristics of effective teaching include an engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, exchange of best practices and a lifelong love of learning.What are the 12 learning styles? ›
Understanding the 12 Ways of Learning:
They include visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, sequential, simultaneous, reflective/logical, verbal, interactive, direct experience, indirect experience, and rhythmic/melodic.
- Content knowledge. This is when teachers have a deep knowledge of the subject that they teach and can communicate content effectively to their students. ...
- Quality of instruction. ...
- Teaching climate. ...
- Classroom management. ...
- Teacher beliefs. ...
- Professional behaviours.
Communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity are considered the four c's and are all skills that are needed in order to succeed in today's world.What are the 4 C's of 21st century learning? ›
The 4 C's to 21st century skills are just what the title indicates. Students need these specific skills to fully participate in today's global community: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity.What is the best active learning strategy? ›
Some teaching strategies that create an active learning environment are: Asking open-ended questions. Encouraging student dialogue and discussion. Having students work in small groups on a group activity.What is the traditional teaching? ›
Traditional teaching, also known as the lecture-based or didactic approach, refers to a method of instruction in which the teacher transmits knowledge to students through lectures, readings, or other forms of presentation.What is metacognition in teaching? ›
What is it? Metacognition and self-regulation approaches to teaching support pupils to think about their own learning more explicitly, often by teaching them specific strategies for planning, monitoring, and evaluating their learning.
Traditional education is the study of culture, traditions, and customs, while modern education teaches students to improve their skills. In traditional teaching methods, students learn through memorization skills, while in modern education systems, students learn through human-environment interaction.What are the 8 pedagogies of teaching? ›
The framework is expressed as eight interconnected pedagogies involving narrative-driven learning, visualised learning plans, hands-on/reflective techniques, use of symbols/metaphors, land-based learning, indirect/synergistic logic, modelled/scaffolded genre mastery, and connectedness to community.What are the 4 A's methods of teaching? ›
The 4As of adult learning: Activity, Analysis, Abstraction, and Application is illustrated in Figure 6-1. The constructivist approach to teaching asserts that a Learner gains and builds knowledge through experience. It recognizes that life experiences are rich resources for continued learning.What are the 2 main types of teaching? ›
Lesson Summary. The two main types of teaching methods & strategies are teacher-centered instruction and student-centered instruction. In teacher-centered instruction, the teacher plays an active role while the student plays a more passive role.What is innovative teaching method? ›
Instead, innovative teaching is the process of proactively introducing new teaching strategies and methods into the classroom. The purpose of introducing these new teaching strategies and methods is to improve academic outcomes and address real problems to promote equitable learning.What is the difference between teaching methods and teaching approaches? ›
Furthermore, approach sets the general rule or general principle to make learning possible. A method, on the other hand, is an organized, orderly, systematic, and well- planned procedure aimed at facilitating and enhancing students' learning.What are some non traditional teaching methods? ›
Non-traditional education is education that is offered in ways other than common daytime college classrooms. There are many versions of non-traditional education, such as college-prep education, evening courses, independent learning, online learning, residencies, cross-registration and one-on-one learning.What was teaching like 50 years ago? ›
Teachers strived to give students instructions for assignments. Even the lessons taught were different from what's being taught today. Students were required to memorize what they had learned and recited it in front of the classroom to see what they had learned.What are the 5 most common teaching styles? ›
In the contemporary classroom, five distinct teaching styles have emerged as the primary strategies adopted by modern teachers: The Authority Style, The Delegator Style, The Facilitator Style, The Demonstrator Style and The Hybrid Style.What is the oldest and most traditional method of teaching? ›
Historically, the primary educational technique of traditional education was simple oral recitation: In a typical approach, students spent some of their time sitting quietly at their places and listening to one student after another recite his or her lesson, until each had been called upon.
Humans have always told stories to pass down cultural beliefs, traditions and history to future generations. It's our way of learning and sharing information with each other. In that way, it's the oldest form of education we have.What is the most used teaching style? ›
Instructor-focused teaching—the approach to education that involves a central figure guiding the learning experience—is probably the most well-known teaching style. In instructor-focused teaching, one authority figure holds the reins and takes students through the learning material.What are the 5 teaching models? ›
What are the 5Es? o The 5Es represent five stages of a sequence for teaching and learning: Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend (or Elaborate), and Evaluate.