By Teachers, For Teachers
Students are more likely to achieve their goals when they have an educator that uses a variety of teaching strategies. Developing students’ skills, along with these effective teaching strategies, will help to enhance student learning. Utilizing technology, as well as other modes and materials, will help advance and encourage student knowledge and growth. Here are a few favorite teaching strategies to help boost student learning in your classroom.
A quick response (QR) code is a digital image or barcode that takes you to a particular destination when it’s scanned. Many schools are using them in the classroom as a way to enhance their students’ learning. Essentially, QR codes provide information to the user. When you use a phone or a tablet to scan a QR code, it directs you to a webpage, video, or file (like a PDF). Teachers love to use them because they’re easier than having students type a whole web address into a browser. QR codes can enhance students’ learning because this tech tool is quite engaging. Not only does it help teachers weed out the bad information that’s on the Internet and take students directly to appropriate sites, but it also teaches students to think differently. One way to use a QR code in your classroom is to help simplify research for your students. If there is a certain website, video, or article that you think will help your students in their research, then all you have to do is create a QR code for it.
If you’re looking to enhance student learning, then get your students up and moving. Every day, more and more research confirms that there is a connection between learning and movement. Research shows that physical activity increases blood flow, which can be related to enhanced learning. One fun way to incorporate movement is to have students go on a gallery walk. During a gallery walk, students explore multiple texts or images that are placed around the classroom. This is a great way to expose students to different texts, as well as a way for students to share their work with their peers. This strategy is especially helpful for kinesthetic learners, because students are moving about the classroom.
Another idea is to have a musical mingle. This is like a game of musical chairs, except with this activity, when the music stops, students must discuss the problem, question, or statement that was posed by the teacher with the person that is the closest to them. This activity can be used with any sedentary lesson that you may have. For example, if you were conducting a reading lesson (which usually never involves movement), you can incorporate some movement by playing musical mingle. Students can discuss the text you’re reading or answer a literary question all while moving around the classroom.
Active learning techniques, technology, movement, and inquiry are all great ways to enhance student learning. The more you implement these strategies into your daily curriculum, the more students will benefit from them.
You can stimulate and enhance learning through effective questioning. Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to prepare higher-order thinking skills. Scaffold questions from easy levels to hard levels to keep students engaged. Combine these questions with lower-order thinking skills, or closed questions, to assess students’ knowledge and comprehension. Avoid leading the witness, or “Fishing” for an answer. Instead, try asking a question, then putting students into small groups to discuss a logical answer. Make sure you give students time to think. After you ask a question, give students an ample amount of time (about 10 seconds) to formulate a response. Do not interrupt students when they are responding. Allow time to hear their response without any interruptions.
Higher-order thinking connects various concepts of learning together, to encourage critical thinking and problem solving. To use higher-order thinking skills, students must not only understand basic concepts learned, but infer them, as well as connect them to other concepts. Help students understand what higher-order thinking is. Explain to them what it is and why they need it. Lead students through the process of how to connect one concept to another. By doing this, you are teaching them to connect what they already know with what they are learning. Teach students to make inferences by giving them “Real-world” examples. Teach students to use a step-by-step method for solving problems. This way of higher-order thinking will help them solve problems faster and easier, all of which will lead to enhanced learning.
In today’s classrooms, students have the ability to learn from real experts all across the globe via video conferencing. This evolved teaching method has enhanced learning in many classrooms. It also allows students to connect with an expert that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to in the classroom. It gives teachers the opportunity to bring far-away experts into the classroom to share their knowledge. Students are now able to interview an astronaut, tour an aquarium, or visit with other schoolchildren in a distant country.
Another benefit of video conferencing to enhance learning is the ability to offer more services. Some school districts are unable to offer their students advanced courses because of the lack of funds or lack of available faculty. These schools would benefit from video conferencing because it enables them to offer their students the courses they need via distance learning. Instead of sending their students off to another school for a particular course, all you would have to do is video conference the expert into your classroom.
How do you enhance student learning in your classroom? Please feel free to share your teaching strategies with us in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you on this topic
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 Masters 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.