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7 Effective Teaching Strategies For The Classroom

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The classroom is a dynamic environment, bringing together students from different backgrounds with various abilities and personalities. Being an effective teacher therefore requires the implementation of creative and innovative teaching strategies in order to meet students’ individual needs.

Whether you’ve been teaching two months or twenty years, it can be difficult to know which teaching strategies will work best with your students. As a teacher there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, so here is a range of effective teaching strategies you can use to inspire your classroom practice.

1. Visualization

Bring dull academic concepts to life with visual and practical learning experiences, helping your students to understand how their schooling applies in the real-world.

Examples include using the interactive whiteboard to display photos, audio clips and videos, as well as encouraging your students to get out of their seats with classroom experiments and local field trips.

2. Cooperative learning

Encourage students of mixed abilities to work together by promoting small group or whole class activities.

Through verbally expressing their ideas and responding to others your students will develop their self-confidence, as well as enhance their communication and critical thinking skills which are vital throughout life.

Solving mathematical puzzlesconducting scientific experiments and acting out short drama sketches are just a few examples of how cooperative learning can be incorporated into classroom lessons.

3. Inquiry-based instruction

Pose thought-provoking questions which inspire your students to think for themselves and become more independent learners.

Encouraging students to ask questions and investigate their own ideas helps improve their problem-solving skills as well as gain a deeper understanding of academic concepts. Both of which are important life skills.

Inquiries can be science or math-based such as ‘why does my shadow change size?’ or ‘is the sum of two odd numbers always an even number?’. However, they can also be subjective and encourage students to express their unique views, e.g. ‘do poems have to rhyme?’ or ‘should all students wear uniform?’.

4. Differentiation

Differentiate your teaching by allocating tasks based on students’ abilities, to ensure no one gets left behind.

Assigning classroom activities according to students’ unique learning needs means individuals with higher academic capabilities are stretched and those who are struggling get the appropriate support.

This can involve handing out worksheets that vary in complexity to different groups of students, or setting up a range of work stations around the classroom which contain an assortment of tasks for students to choose from.

Moreover, using an educational tool such as Quizalize can save you hours of time because it automatically groups your students for you, so you can easily identify individual and whole class learning gaps (click here to find out more).

5. Technology in the classroom

Incorporating technology into your teaching is a great way to actively engage your students, especially as digital media surrounds young people in the 21st century.

Interactive whiteboards or mobile devices can be used to display images and videos, which helps students visualize new academic concepts. Learning can become more interactive when technology is used as students can physically engage during lessons as well as instantly research their ideas, which develops autonomy.

Mobile devices, such as iPads and/or tablets, can be used in the classroom for students to record resultstake photos/videos  or simply as a behaviour management technique. Plus, incorporating educational programmes such as Quizalize into your lesson plans is also a great way to make formative assessments fun and engaging.

6. Behaviour management

Implementing an effective behaviour management strategy is crucial to gain your students respect and ensure students have an equal chance of reaching their full potential.

Noisy, disruptive classrooms do no encourage a productive learning environment, therefore developing an atmosphere of mutual respect through a combination of discipline and reward can be beneficial for both you and your students.

Examples include fun and interactive reward charts for younger students, where individuals move up or down based on behaviour with the top student receiving a prize at the end of the week. ‘Golden time’ can also work for students of all ages, with a choice of various activities such as games or no homework in reward for their hard work.

7. Professional development

Engaging in regular professional development programmes is a great way to enhance teaching and learning in your classroom.

With educational policies constantly changing it is extremely useful to attend events where you can gain inspiration from other teachers and academics. It’s also a great excuse to get out of the classroom and work alongside other teachers just like you!

Sessions can include learning about new educational technologiesonline safety training, advice on how to use your teaching assistant(s) and much more.

Being an effective teacher is a challenge because every student is unique, however, by using a combination of teaching strategies you can address students’ varying learning styles and academic capabilities as well as make your classroom a dynamic and motivational environment for students.

posted Aug 30 in General by Jorani

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The start of a school year means a new seating chart for each classroom—full of students that the teacher likely hasn’t met. Without knowing the students, how does a teacher know where to assign their seats?

This question comes up each summer as teachers strive to create the best learning environment possible. From my experience in the classroom, I’ve found that seating chart choices can be critical to how students engage with one another and the teacher. 

Today, the influx of digital tools and new instructional models means that the traditional classroom settings of “quiet students, talking teacher” may no longer apply. Already, some teachers are letting go of tradition and allowing flexible seating in classrooms to give students freedom to choose where they want to sit. For others, placing students into assigned groups for cooperative learning can produce the optimal learning environment.

As each teacher develops their own style of seating students, their process involves weighing several factors to create their ideal classroom arrangement. But how does a teacher know what’s best for their classroom and which student dependencies should factor into these decisions?

Prep and Plan

The seating chart is an underrated tool that can help turn a good learning environment into a great one.

The lead times for seating chart planning range from the moment the teacher receives the class roll to the first day of class. Some teachers wait until getting to know the students before assigning seats, with open seating in earlier weeks and a solid chart after seeing how students interact, focus, and learn. This reactive approach can work better for teachers who enjoy flexibility and adaptability.

Others take a proactive approach, often by asking previous teachers of those students for their feedback. While this warrants extra legwork at the beginning, polling fellow teachers about their previous students can sometimes help identify when seat placements are beneficial to how an individual student engages in class. 

Consider Preferences

Options for seating arrangement type vary, from row-and-column grids to two-person tables to stadium seating. Some draw inspiration from their favorite popular hangout spots, like Starbucks. (But others warn against turning flexible furniture design into a fad.)

For more traditional layouts—whether in rows or in the form of a semi-circle arrangement—past research suggests that students who sit toward the center tend to participate more in classroom discussions. 

Although a fixed seating chart does make it easier to remember students’ names, a teacher might decide to change up the layout regularly for a variable learning experience, some as often as every day and others about once a month. That’s not to say that change is necessary for everyone. As long as a classroom is functioning harmoniously, a fixed seating chart can remain unchanged throughout the year. If something doesn’t work, then the teacher can adjust until an arrangement sticks.

Other Factors and Dependencies

There’s more to a seating chart than telling a student where to sit, as many other considerations must be taken into account. Learning disabilities, academic performance, and vision problems could necessitate students being placed in the front of the classroom to ensure better learning and higher engagement.

Social considerations and partner compatibility are important to consider because some students work well with others, even if their socialization can be distracting. It’s common for friends to ask to sit together and not unusual for a teacher to separate them to avoid over-socialization. What they might later learn is that the friends complement and challenge each other in a positive way. Being open and malleable as a teacher creates opportunities for students to learn from each other collaboratively.

Clustering students into groups can also lead to learning environments that foster student collaboration. Previous studies conducted by psychologist and John Hopkins research director, Robert Slavin, points to positive outcomes from cooperative learning, in the form of students learning more, enjoying school and the subject, and feeling more successful.

Create a Culture, not a Classroom

It is integral for teachers to find a layout that suits their preference and instructional style, in ways that make them most engaging and effective. But it is also important to create an environment where students can support each other. 

Grouping high level and low level learners together is useful in facilitating peer coaching, and heterogeneous groups can help each other in the learning process. In my experience, this method has been the most effective way to encourage a positive exchange for collective learning in a classroom community.

The seating chart is an underrated tool that can help turn a good learning environment into a great one. While there is no clear model for where to place students, if done correctly, a well-thought-out seating chart fosters an effective classroom environment that allows students to maximize their learning potential.

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