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How Do I Choose the Most Effective Teaching Methods?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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The most effective teaching methods for you can often depend on the material you are presenting and the way in which you might naturally be inclined to teach. Students in your classroom can also dictate which methods might work best, and you should evaluate your students to better understand what methods to utilize. In general, however, multiple methods should typically be used to ensure lessons are fully understood and to adapt the information you are presenting to the needs of your students. Some examples of effective teaching methods include group discussions, small group discussions, and even lecturing.

Effective teaching methods are typically those methods that work well for a particular teacher in a given learning environment. Methods that work well for one teacher in one classroom may not work as well for that same teacher with another group of students, or for a different teacher working with other students. This means it can be somewhat difficult to determine what teaching methods you should be using, and you might consider utilizing different methods to find which ones work best for you. Effective teaching methods should allow you to present information that is important while ensuring understanding and creating meaning for your students.

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There are a number of different effective teaching methods that can be utilized in a classroom, and you should typically be familiar with multiple methods. Group discussions, for example, can often work well in classrooms of small or moderate size. You typically act as a moderator for this type of lesson, so you might begin the discussion but then pass the process of learning off to your students. This can be one of the most effective methods for students who want to be engaged in their own learning, but can be less effective in other settings.

Small group discussions are similar to full group discussions, but often work better for larger classrooms. Thirty or more students all trying to talk together can become chaotic, but six groups of five students are often easier to monitor and control. Students may also find it easier to be heard and express their opinions more freely in smaller groups. These types of small groups can be effective if you want your students to discuss a particular reading or work on complicated math problems together, though they are often less effective if you want your students to demonstrate individual effort or understanding.

While many teachers may not view lecturing as one of the most effective teaching methods, there are still some settings in which lecturing can work well. Presentation of new information in a concise and informative way can often be important in a classroom. Lecturing can work well in such an instance, though you should typically pair such lectures with time for group discussion or other types of work that more effectively engage your students and keep them active.

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pleonasm
Post 3

@pastanaga - It's harder, but it can be done. It just requires a huge amount of research and planning on the part of the teacher, in order to ensure that their students are going to learn exactly what they are expected to learn, but in their own way.

Luckily many school districts will recognize effective teaching strategies and allow teachers to do what they need to in order to stick with them.

pastanaga
Post 2

@Iluviaporos - One thing that I think is difficult for new teachers is that they might start out intending to do this and come up against the assigned curriculum and testing procedures for their school. It's very difficult to keep up integrated and investigation-based teaching methods when you are expected to test your students for hours every week on memorized facts.

Unfortunately, I think in that case it's a matter of trying to sneak in good teaching practice in the cracks and attempting to change school policy as much as possible.

lluviaporos
Post 1

One thing to keep in mind is that you don't have to stick to the same teaching methods from the beginning of the year. Take the first couple of days or even weeks to figure out what is going to work best with your students. Explain to them that this is what you're doing as well. Collaborate with them.

I think all too often teachers see their students as being opposed to their goals and that the school day is just a struggle to see who manages to win. But in theory, students should be just as eager to have interesting lessons where they learn a lot as you are. If you can figure out how to do that together, you will be much happier for it and your students will learn a lot more.

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