Teaching the Way People Like to Be Taught
May 10, 2015 Teaching Methodology 2524 Views
Efficient Teachers are not just aware of the right content to be delivered but also are aware of the strategy to deliver that content. Teaching or Instructional strategies are a teacher's compass when it comes to effective involvement of the students in the process of knowledge absorption and assimilation. This in turn has a direct co-relation to knowledge retention.
Teaching strategies range from low involvement of the learner all the way to extremely high levels of learner involvement.
- Direct Instruction - Lectures, Drill and Practice, Demos are examples. The teacher in these settings is in lecture/fact delivery mode. The students are in receive mode. Interaction is minimal or absent. This is a useful strategy when a new concept is being introduced and the complete attention of the class is desirable. The same holds true when a demonstration covering a new concept is in progress.
- Indirect Instruction - Though akin to direct instruction, the sessions are not intensive. A relaxed atmosphere prevails where the teacher is using analogies, stories, anecdotes and drawing parallels to the message that needs to be drilled into the students. These sessions provide the students time off, to pause and reflect on the matter being spoken.
- Independent Study - There is only one participant here and that is the student. The students could be involved in research, self-study, homework completion or assignments. These could be supervised or unsupervised. The onus is on the student as they go solo in the learning process. At times, a teacher might go for this strategy with planned interventions that ensure the direction is right.
- Experiential Learning - The mode of learning is interactive and fun. The students interact with their surroundings, observe, experiment, infer and apply these to further their learning. All this happens under the guidance of a skilled teacher. The skills in demand of the teacher here is to be able to gently prompt and herd the group to the desired conclusion without getting overly involved in the steps. Site visits, field trips, model making are all examples.
- Interactive Learning - Intensive with 100% involvement of both the teacher and the students. While the students are encouraged to participate, observe, infer and re-apply the learning to further their understanding, the teacher is required to play the role of a guide to the hilt. They can do that by asking the right questions and helping students arrive at logical conclusions. Role playing, debates, brainstorming, group discussions fall into this category.
The above 5 strategies are listed in their increasing order of learner involvement.
Each of the instruction strategies is well suited for different content and also varies as per age of learners, the culture and also gender.
For example, executive MBA classes lean heavily on Interactive Learning Strategies since the majority of participants are people who have experienced the world, faced problems, devised solutions and are now in the class to learn from other peers. They best absorb knowledge that is packaged in the form of personal experiences, case studies, discussions and role play.
Contrast that with 10+1, 10+2 students who are being exposed to completely new methods, principles and knowledge that is alien to almost everybody in the class. A direct and indirect instruction method works best as it tries to drill home the new knowledge. However, as they near the end of their academic years, experiential and independent study methods work better as they are eager to try their newly acquired skills.
Hence, the next time you plan on a teaching, be sure to revisit and select the right strategy or the right combination of them.