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What Are the Different Types of Instructional Strategies?

Instructional strategies are the techniques teachers use to support student learning. They range from direct instruction and collaborative group work to hands-on activities and technology integration. Each method caters to different learning styles, ensuring that every student has the opportunity to thrive. How might these strategies transform your classroom experience? Join us as we examine their impact on education.
Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett

Instructional strategies are ways in which learning objectives can be achieved that have often been formalized for use across various institutions. For example, lectures are a type of instructional strategy, as are discussions. More specific instructional strategies might prescribe timed intervals for certain types of learning, or might even have preset course materials designed to teach a specific skill. Maybe a certain class badly needs an algebra refresher, or maybe they're learning too fast but retaining little. Either way, adjustments can be made to ensure that all learners can maximize the time they spend with whoever's teaching them. In many cases, instructional strategies can be thought of as teaching techniques, but sometimes these strategies involve more input from students and are thus better thought of as assignments or projects. A good example is Math problems. Giving a student ample time to figure out how to solve complicated formulas and equations will allow them to discover a method that is convenient and works best for them.

Some of the most common instructional strategies are techniques that have been used in education for a very long time. Lectures, discussions, and other basic components of education can all be considered instructional strategies. In different countries, the basic forms education takes may be different, and might focus on individual tutoring or apprenticeship. Many schools value rote memorization as a learning technique, and this is also a valuable instructional strategy. This is especially true for students who plan to take the ACT and the SAT. Agreeably, this isn't a fun strategy and people vary greatly when it comes to memorization but it is an important part of most standardized tests, which means it's unavoidable.

Young children commonly learn the alphabet through rote learning, which uses repetition to teach new concepts.
Young children commonly learn the alphabet through rote learning, which uses repetition to teach new concepts.

In current educational settings, instructional strategies are often tested scientifically and designed to improve the learning experience of the student. More formalized strategies may come with standard handouts, lesson plans, and other materials that can be used by the teacher to maximize learning scientifically. For example, if the lesson is about Math parameters, the most appropriate instructional strategy would be one that combines one on one guided teaching complete with easy-to-understand modules. You can't expect a student to learn something so complex by merely using visual aids or watching a video, although some kids may find those methods more effective. These strategies often have acronyms and their use may be mandated as part of the curriculum by regulatory agencies. On the other hand, English subjects might require several modules and reading materials to master. Parents do have the option to employ virtual English tutors if they think this will offer more learning opportunities to their kids.

Instructional strategy may include course material and workbooks designed to teach a specific skill.
Instructional strategy may include course material and workbooks designed to teach a specific skill.

Certain instructional strategies are designed for specific subjects. Music, for example, is a subject often taught through very different techniques. Some people advocate learning by ear, while others demand a strong basis in music theory and reading music. Most of the time, the instructional technique used does not entirely determine the precise learning process undertaken by the student, as most students also practice outside of the teaching relationship. For instance, students who are aiming for a scholarship may attend school and get extra help at home by hiring a personal tutor or mentor. This means that the success of a certain strategy does not necessarily imply that one strategy is better than another, because improvement may also be a characteristic of the student community or activities taking place outside of school.

Personalized learning is a popular form of instruction for young children.
Personalized learning is a popular form of instruction for young children.

Strategies may also target learning groups, although this is sometimes a bad idea if the use of certain techniques could be seen as discriminatory. Some people advocate teaching in a group's native language or dialect, for example, in order to remove any language barrier from the classroom, while others believe that immersion in a dialect considered standard is itself a strategy for teaching success. There are special strategies used for teaching students with learning disabilities, as well as strategies for teaching students who are ahead of their classmates. These are some of the same strategies used by an online grade school tutor, with the only difference being the credits after course completion. In some schools, teaching techniques are tailored to the needs of each individual student, but this is not always a possibility.

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Discussion Comments

turquoise

I have a very cool social science teacher who uses different ways of teaching in class. I love that course, it's a lot of fun. We have exercises and simulations sometimes. Sometimes, we do role play or we have handouts. There is always something going on in every class. Everyone is always looking forward to it and wondering what we're doing this time.

I wish other teachers were like that. Thanks to this teacher, learning is fun and it would be great if every class would be as enjoyable. Some people think that having fun doesn't mean learning but that's not true. I learned all of the states and their capitals thanks to class exercises. I didn't even try very hard. So learning can be fun.

serenesurface

I was born in the Balkans and went to elementary school there. The only instructional strategy at school was memorization. We were expected to memorize everything. After coming to the US, I experienced other instructional strategies which was great. I'm so glad that schools don't only rely on memorization here. Memorization is not a great method in my opinion. I am able to memorize, but it's only until the exam. I forget everything later. So how can this be a good strategy?

ysmina

Lectures are nice but unless they're combined with other instructional strategies like discussions, they defeat their purpose. I have a few classes where the instructor just lectures and does nothing else. It gets quite boring after a while. Most people are unable to pay attention and drift off. Learning is not supposed to be boring. Lectures are necessary to give information, but there should be other things in between like group discussions and exercises. These not only reinforce what the students learn, but they also make it easy to pay attention and understand.

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    • Young children commonly learn the alphabet through rote learning, which uses repetition to teach new concepts.
      By: SerrNovik
      Young children commonly learn the alphabet through rote learning, which uses repetition to teach new concepts.
    • Instructional strategy may include course material and workbooks designed to teach a specific skill.
      By: Elena Blokhina
      Instructional strategy may include course material and workbooks designed to teach a specific skill.
    • Personalized learning is a popular form of instruction for young children.
      By: Marcel Mooij
      Personalized learning is a popular form of instruction for young children.
    • Lecturing is one type of instructional strategy, but it is not suitable for every subject or every student.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      Lecturing is one type of instructional strategy, but it is not suitable for every subject or every student.
    • More formalized instructional strategies may come with standard lesson plans.
      By: Dmitry Goygel-Sokol
      More formalized instructional strategies may come with standard lesson plans.
    • Some instructional strategies emphasize student engagement.
      By: Prod. Numérik
      Some instructional strategies emphasize student engagement.
    • Textbooks play a vital part in many instructional strategies.
      By: Scott Sanders
      Textbooks play a vital part in many instructional strategies.