Effective Teachers + Effective Teaching Strategies = High Student Achi
Feb 12, 2011 Teaching Methodology 2947 Views
It's amusing now to think back to the 1960s and early 1970s when there was so much talk about replacing teachers with televised learning, computers and programmed learning systems. I remember reading articles titled, "Will teachers become obsolete?" Times have changed! We now know that the classroom teacher has even more impact on student achievement than we ever imagined.
As teachers we are always looking for ways to improve our instruction. But it can difficult to know which teaching strategies will be the most successful, when there are so many programs and systems to choose from. How do you know what's best? One set of strategies has been extensively tested and has a strong track record of success. These strategies come from Robert Marzano and the McREL institute. Their 1998 analysis of instructional strategies and their effectiveness makes it easy for teachers to use techniques that WILL increase the achievement of their students. If you are trying to improve student achievement, and we all are, these nine teaching tools are a simple and effective way to go and can be incorporated into any classroom. They are listed below in order of academic effectiveness.
- Similarities and Differences: Identifying similarities and differences is the key to all learning. Babies at a very early age are able to differentiate between 1 of something, 2 of something and many of something. Without this survival skill we wouldn't last very long as a species! Activities to practice these foundational skills include comparing things or ideas, classifying like items into groups, and student creation of metaphors and analogies.
- Summarizing and note taking: These related skills are crucial for students to be self-learners. They can be difficult to teach. Students need to be able to read or listen to material and be able to delete the unnecessary, reword complex thoughts, and keep the essentials. Practice items include student outlines, webs and other types of graphic organizers. Be persistent!
- Effort and Recognition: This is the area where an effective teacher shines. Students often don't see the connection between their own effort and their results. Helping students believe they have or can learn the necessary skills and recognizing their efforts as they go is important to student success.
- Homework and Practice: Homework serves two purposes. It allows practice for skills already learned. It can also be used as an introduction for new material. Be aware that McREL research shows that assigned homework that receives no feedback is not very effective.
- Nonlinguistic Representation: In order for information to be remembered it has to be manipulated in some way by the student. Graphic organizers, and kinesthetic activities are good examples of ways to do this.
- Cooperative Learning: Cooperative learning is not just putting students into groups. When used correctly it can increase students' participation and achievement. Social skills taught by cooperative learning are essential to the workplace.
- Objectives and Feedback: Goals can provide specific direction for students. Feedback is critical and must be frequent and timely. Remember that all feedback doesn't have to come from the teacher.
- Forming Hypotheses: The ability to predict is an essential life skill. Students should frequently predict the outcome of situations, support their view and then analyze the actual results. The more they practice this the better they will become in their predictions.
- Questions, Cues and Advance Organizers: Questions, cues and advance organizers are all ways to elicit prior knowledge from students and are commonly used in the classroom to begin instruction of new material.
See Robert Marzano's, Classroom Instruction that Works for details on how to implement these strategies.
A large student study in 1997 (Wright et al,1997, p.63) found that "...the most important factor affecting student learning is the teacher." You know you are a good teacher. Equip yourself with the 9 effective teaching strategies and your students will soar!