Posted by Christy Williams on November 30th, 2016
As an educator you are constantly learning new, innovative strategies for improving your classroom and instructional methods. Unfortunately, implementing the strategies is often easier said than done. It is common to say, “I’ll try that next year,” or “That seems like a great idea, but I don’t know if it will work with what I am currently doing.”
However, for as many reasons to not embrace a new technique, there are reasons to go for it. Increased student engagement, rise in content relevance and the extension of learning beyond basic boundaries provide an incentive for teachers to improve their methods.
Other benefits include amplified teacher and student motivation, ability to reach multiple learning styles and increased student ownership of individual progress. Now is a good time to greet the new year with new teaching strategies. Many of the techniques do not require waiting until the start of a new school year or unit. Instead, they can be implemented right away.
The use of case studies as an instructional method helps develop problem solving skills by presenting learners with real world stories and giving them flexibility to find causes and solutions.
For your next concept theme, provide students with a real-world example, or story, to accompany the lesson. Drive learning through problem solving and collaboration rather than leading the students to the skill or answer by a direct path. Case studies allow both instructors and students to serve as resources for the investigation. The outcome may be multiple ways to solve the same problem, even some that were not initially anticipated.
The inverted classroom model requires students to prepare for class in advance of learning a skill or concept. Learners are required to preview materials and information in an effort to capitalize on curiosity. The result of implementing this learning model is a classroom where students can elaborate on what they have learned and the classroom serves as an extension and place for additional clarity of knowledge.
Implement an inverted classroom model by assigning a reading or study as a homework assignment. Require students to jot down notes and any questions that develop during their independent study. Spend the next class session discussing students’ notes and questions.
Self-learning is a learning technique driven by student curiosity. Self-learning removes the forced memorization of content replacing it with opportunities for students to explore concepts through their personal interest and exploration.
The execution of self-learning can be introduced at any given time throughout the learning process. Use mind maps for one central concept to encourage students to explore the topic using various resources including text books and the internet. Provide students with an opportunity to discuss their findings as well as conduct a self-assessment on their level of knowledge.
Student success is positively correlated with engagement level. The introduction of new, relevant instructional methods creates a more engaging environment for your students. Create opportunities for the instruction to be student driven. Rather than putting off the implementation of new strategies for another school year, use your students’ potential for success as motivation to start now.