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Effective Teaching Strategies

Janelle Cox

What makes an effective teacher? Better yet, how do you make your teaching strategies more effective so you know that students are learning? Research has shown that teacher preparation, knowledge of subject matter, and experience, combined, are the top leading factors of an effective teacher.

But what else do you think it takes in order for your teaching to really count?  Here are a few suggestions on how to make your teaching strategies more effective in your classroom.  

Think about Your Students through Your Teaching Strategies

In order to make teaching more effective you need to first think about your students. Think about who they are: Consider their age, gender, ethnicity, levels of interest, knowledge experience, etc. Take all of this into account before you plan your lessons. Remember that every child learns differently, and in order for your teaching to be more effective, and for your students to really grasp what you are teaching them, you must consider each individual student.

Establish Clear Objectives

Efficient, effective teaching begins with how you design your curriculum. An effective teacher always has clear objectives. They begin by asking themselves, “What do I want my students to know by the end of this lesson?” and “What do I want them to do with this knowledge?” Think about what you as the server of the information have to offer your students. Having clear objectives both cognitive and behavioral for your students is your map. It is a guide to help you get your students where you want them to go. This plan is your framework to help your students succeed in your classroom.

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Discuss Your Expectations

Start each day by discussing your expectations with your students. Tell them what they will be doing, why they will being doing it, and what you expect of them throughout the process. By giving them a sense of purpose, you are setting the tone for a great day of learning. This is an important step that you should take each day of you want to make your teaching more effective.

Be Unpredictable

Grab your students’ attention by asking them a thought-provoking question. Stay away from the predictable “Good morning class, today we will begin by … .” Instead, activate students’ prior knowledge and critical thinking skills by asking a question, setting up a problem, or relating class content to the real-world.

Think About Your Delivery

The way you speak and deliver information is an essential part of being an effective teacher. If you are monotone and boring all the time, then students will not be drawn to you, and will not care what you are teaching them. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when you are delivering information to your students.

  • Speak naturally.
  • Talk, don’t lecture.
  • Pause before new points.
  • Repeat and emphasize critical points.
  • Use direct eye contact when speaking.
  • Use metaphors and similes.
  • Use gestures.

Make Students Interact

Successful teachers know that learning takes place in an active environment where their students can build connections and interactions with one another. You can build student interaction by setting up exercises where all students have to intermingle with each other. Cooperative learning groups are a great way for students to work together and learn together. Just assign a problem or a hypothesis and have students work together to solve it.

Get Regular Feedback

An effective teacher knows the importance of getting feedback from their students. They take the time at the end of the day to ask their students what the most important thing that they learned from the lesson was, and what they liked and didn’t like about the lesson. They check for student understanding from time to time by reviewing students’ notes, and giving quizzes and questionnaires. They also invite their colleagues to watch them teach, and ask for their honest feedback so they can improve their lessons and make them more effective.

A highly effective teacher knows they are getting through to their students because they truly understand the content that they are teaching, and know how to effectively explain it to their students. They are comfortable with change, take time to learn and explore new tools, and know how to adapt to their students’ needs. Successful teachers really know their craft, and never stop learning.

What do you think makes your teaching more effective? Do you have anything that you do in your classroom that makes you think your way of teaching is effective? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear your ideas.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.