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Timeless Teaching Strategies to Use Today

Janelle Cox

When you’re fresh out of college, you can’t wait to get your own classroom and try out all of the new teaching strategies that you’ve learned. While new teaching strategies are great and sometimes even more effective, some veteran teachers would argue that if it’s not broken, then don’t fix it. If what you’re doing is working (using traditional teaching methods), then keep on doing it. While there are many new and effective teaching strategies that work well, as well as new technologies to make things easier, it doesn’t mean that the old teaching methods still can’t be in your rotation. Here are a few timeless education methods that teachers are still using today.

Teaching Strategies: Memory Exercises

Old-school teaching strategies like using rote memorization to help students recall information are still a teaching method of choice. Why? Because they work. Old-fashioned exercises like memorizing times tables or spelling words help to cement the knowledge into memory. In fact, researchers believe that using a simple recall method is still more effective than any new learning technique like mind mapping (where students draw pictures or diagrams to help them remember information).

Modeling and Demonstrations

Modeling and demonstrations have long been used to help students comprehend material. Teachers rely on this method for just about every subject. When it comes to science, experiments are shown, and when it comes to math, modeling is used to take students through each step of how to complete a problem. These techniques have, and probably always will be, a common way that teachers can accomplish visually showing their students instead of just telling them.

Collaboration

In the past, pairing students together or in groups to complete an assignment was found to be an effective way to teach communication and problem-solving skills. However, as time has progressed, the way students collaborate with one another may have changed a little bit -- hence cooperative learning. However, the concept of working with your peers to gain knowledge and perspective has still remained the same. Not only has collaborating with others helped to inspire students, but it also encourages interactive learning, and continues to be a wonderful way for students to work and learn from one another.

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Direct Instruction

Direct instruction has been used in classrooms since the very beginning. This is when the teacher is situated in the front of the classroom, while the students sit in rows facing the teacher. Traditionally, this method was used to ensure a disciplined learning environment as well as an effective way to teach students. Today, many educators still use this method in their classrooms; however, it may look a little bit different. For example, the students may be seated at a table, or the desks may be pushed together. Or you may see the teacher walking around the classroom instead of staying front and center, to ensure all students are comprehending what is being taught. The concept of this teaching strategy does, however, remain the same. The teacher is the one that is lecturing, while the students sit and listen. Today, while this method is usually in conjunction with a variety of other methods, many teachers still like to use it because it not only works, but it also helps to keep the students in line.

Journaling

Journal writing has long been used as a teaching strategy to allow students to express themselves through the written word. It has many benefits, such as improved memory,  better problem-solving skills, increased self-awareness, more confidence in writing, and more. Educators have been using this teaching strategy in their classroom to help strengthen students’ writing skills. While educators still love to use this method, it has evolved quite a bit over the years. Blogging is the new way for students to share their thoughts, insights, and opinions. It’s also a great way for students to develop their technological literacy skills.

Classroom Discussions

A time-honored, good old-fashioned classroom discussion is just as effective now as it has ever been. Taking the time to teach students to dig deeper into their thoughts is and has always been a very effective strategy to enhance comprehension. While classrooms have been using this method for decades, it’s not always easy to get your students to talk in front of their peers, especially the older students. Today’s classrooms use this same teaching method. Instead of trying to make their students participate by scaring them and saying it’s part of their grade, they try and motivate them through TED talks on YouTube or through cooperative learning methods like the Jigsaw method, where all students must participate equally.

Effective teaching strategies work -- it doesn’t matter if they were used in the 1970s or used last week. Don’t be afraid to use a teaching method that’s been around for a while, because you’re afraid that your colleagues or parents or even students will think that you’re too “Old school.” If you find it to be an effective method, then use it. You can always put your own twist on it, like teachers have been doing for years now.

What are your favorite timeless teaching strategies to use in the classroom? Please share your thoughts on this topic 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.