By Teachers, For Teachers
Did you know that you can improve your teaching practice by simply using high-impact teaching strategies? You are probably already using a few of them right now and don’t even know it. These teaching strategies have the strongest impact on student learning and should be used every day. Here are five high-impact teaching strategies that you can effectively use in your classroom.
Explicit teaching is when educators provide instruction that demonstrates concepts and helps to build student knowledge and skills. It’s essentially showing students what to do and how they should do it. Teachers are explicit about their goals, and they demonstrate how they should achieve them by modeling and giving students examples. Then they provide opportunities for students to practice and demonstrate what they’ve learned. Throughout this process, teachers closely monitor their students to check for understanding as well as give feedback. The explicit teaching strategy is an effective method, because teachers are consistently monitoring students’ progress.
Collaborative learning, or as many call it, cooperative learning, takes place when students work together to complete a task. There are many different approaches that can be used (the jigsaw method, round robin), but they are all designed so that all students actively participate with one another. Groups are carefully designed according to the overall purpose and goals of the lesson, and so that student collaboration is necessary in order to complete the task. Team-building skills are also taught to ensure effectiveness, as well as ground rules to establish how the group should operate. Collaborative learning is an effective method because students who work in groups tend to do better on tests, and have good critical thinking skills.
Multiple exposures teaching strategies provide students with various opportunities to engage with new knowledge and skills. This means that the teacher uses a variety of different activities to reach students and give them new interactions with this new knowledge, or it may mean simply spacing out the practice over several days or weeks. Multiple exposures are the most effective when spread out over time, like in a unit study. These teaching strategies take time and planning, but when complete, they can be the most effective way to assist learners in mastering concepts and skills.
Effective teachers use the differentiated teaching strategy to ensure all students experience the appropriate challenge. This is done by teaching to each individual students’ learning profile, interests, and readiness. Teachers plan lessons that incorporate adjustments so that it can reach each individual learner, regardless of where they are in their learning. Teachers then use assessment strategies to monitor students’ progress and readiness to move forward. As students master skills, teachers then adjust their lessons. This teaching strategy can take some time. However, this strategy is found to be effective because children get to learn in a way that is easy for them, because they are being taught to their own specific needs and learning style.
Questioning is a powerful tool that effective teachers use to engage and challenge students. It’s also used to check for student understanding, as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching. Questioning can be used for a variety of different reasons, and teachers use them in conjunction with their learning goals. In order to be an effective teaching method, teachers must plan ahead to ensure the questions are aligned with their learning goals. Questioning gives students an opportunity to have discussions and express their opinions. It gives students immediate feedback, and helps with student understanding. It’s an effective strategy because it’s a flexible tool that not only checks for understanding, but quickly can assess student progress.
While many experienced teachers most likely are already using some or all of these teaching strategies, new teachers can use these reliable practices with confidence. If you are not currently using these strategies in the classroom, then you should start, because these five high-impact teaching strategies can increase student learning when they are applied.
Do you use any of these high impact strategies in your classroom? If so, which ones are your favorites?
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 a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the elementary education expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.