Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions, but only if it is well done using the correct strategies. As a teacher, you want to give as much knowledge as you can to your students, and you want your students to participate and understand when you are teaching. Finding the correct method of doing this can be tricky, especially when your student pool is diverse. However, teaching strategies backed by research will do wonders for your outcomes in class. Developing a list of research-based instructional strategies will ensure you have a vast pool to pull from, depending on the type of students you have in your class.
- List of Research-Based Instructional Strategies
- Types of Research-Based Instructional Strategies
- Active Learning Strategies
- Assessment-Based Instructional Studies
- Group Instructional Strategies
- Organizational Instructional Strategies
- To Sum Up…
List of Research-Based Instructional Strategies
Instructional strategies are the different teaching techniques teachers use to help their students better understand what they are teaching. These strategies allow teachers to make learning fun and practical and motivate students to have a more active role in their studies.
Using instructional strategies helps students to make connections between the concepts they learn and their real-life applications. These also allow teachers to assess and monitor the class performance using different evaluation methods.
Types of Research-Based Instructional Strategies
Instructional strategies are a dime a dozen, and they cover numerous fields. These strategies often fall under four categories: active learning, group-based, assessment-based, and organizational (or classroom) management.
Active Learning Strategies
Active learning has the aim of engaging students and having them interact directly with the educational material. Here are some of the most effective active learning strategies:
As a teacher, you can set goals that cover what you want to teach over a certain period. Use student feedback to make your plan more targeted. The feedback also helps you determine whether you have reached your goals and see how far your students have come in their studies.
After a lesson, ask your students to write down answers to questions related to what they learned before they leave. The questions can include what they loved about the class or what they would like to know more about. Questions can also include asking them to apply what they learned to real-life situations. Use their answers to determine what areas need further explanations.
This refers to an area of study that students find difficult to understand or navigate. To use this instructional strategy, ask your students to submit their muddiest point anonymously. Use the feedback to see how you can reshape your instructions to clean up these points.
You can use the muddiest point strategy during group learning. Here, encourage students to select what points they feel they can clarify and explain to the rest. This method promotes interactive learning, and it also helps you determine how well the students are doing or whether a topic needs revisiting.
Flipping classrooms is a tried and tested active learning method and is a great instructional strategy. Change your class time from time to time, and instead of giving lectures all the time, give your students pre-recorded lectures that they have to watch before the class. The lessons need to be concise and can be found on YouTube or in podcast form. Tell your students to listen to this lecture before class and use the class time to discuss what they learned in the lessons or engage them in learning activities related to the content.
Flipped classrooms allow students to learn and review concepts on their own time. This strategy leaves them free to do interactive work in class, such as discussions with classmates and teachers. It is also a great way to promote group work, presentations, and peer learning. This strategy keeps students engaged during class time and makes lessons livelier.
An active learning technique that you can always find in a list of research-based instructional strategies is the think-pair-share technique. After giving a lecture, allow for a moment and pair the students with partners. Encourage them to discuss what they learned. Give the students time to consult with their partners, then let them take turns presenting what they learned. You can prepare questions to help guide them and let them share their observations.
Use challenging questions that spark discussion and give them enough time to discuss amongst themselves and come to a collective decision. You can use this strategy to keep the students alert and enthusiastic or help recapture their enthusiasm.
Assessment-Based Instructional Studies
Assessments are an effective strategy to measure students’ knowledge. They can include tests, quizzes, projects, or graded exams. You can have scheduled or random assessments to check on the student’s progress throughout the study year. There are many different assessment methods you can try, including partial assessments, oral, or practical assessments.
Focus on evaluating concepts that you think students need to grasp. Use practical assessments such as asking students to put what they learn to work to see how they understood what you teach. Ensure the assessments focus on varying points and have them change in complexity. You can also include one mandatory question and let the students choose what they will answer from the remaining ones.
Grade as you go
If you have subjects that need repetitive practices, such as mathematics, this is the strategy for you. This technique involves students working on assignments; this could be either alone or in pairs, then check and mark their work. This strategy helps students gauge how much they know, helps them immediately correct what they’re doing wrong instantly, and allows them to translate what they learn to questions, giving them further knowledge instead of completing assignments incorrectly.
This strategy also helps you find students who have a better understanding and allow these students to find more challenging assignments. Using the Grade As You Go technique ensures that the whole class will be on the same level by the time the work is over and move on to the next topic. It also frees teachers up after class since the assignments are already graded.
Cubing involves using a cube to ask questions or write commands and letting the students roll the cube and respond to the command or question that it lands on. The orders can include comparisons, applications, descriptions, or asking the students to predict concepts. You can make this strategy more inclusive by encouraging students to write their own questions and exchange them with their classmates. The questions or commands could also be of varying complexity.
They can answer the questions/commands individually, or you could pair students up in groups and interchange the cubes amongst themselves. Use their answers to determine what concepts are challenging for them to grasp and find those that need more work.
The oldest but most accurate method of assessment-based instructional studies is homework. Homework extends learning beyond school settings. It gives students more time to master what they learned and helps them progress their learning further. To be effective, assign the homework according to the student’s skill level, focusing on areas they might need more help with.
Encourage your students to handle their homework independently, only asking for help when necessary. Pay closer attention to those who need more involvement from tutors or peers as they could be having a hard time even in class.
Group instructional strategies
These instructional methods encourage shared learning. Students get to interact with the subject matter together to further their understanding. Group instructional strategies help students develop other skills that are not directly related to the subject, such as teamwork and public speaking.
Case studies are a great way to develop students’ problem-solving skills. This is because they present students with practical situations they will find at work or personal and social lives.
To use this method, pair students in groups and give them a task that will help them find a way to practically apply what they have learned from course studies and lectures into real-life scenarios. Encourage them to use critical thinking to come up with practical solutions instead of just repeating points.
Simulations and games are valuable tools to have in your teaching arsenal. These techniques help you demonstrate how students can use and apply learned concepts. They also give students the chance to put their interpersonal skills to use in a comfortable environment.
Spark your students’ curiosity by allowing them to visualize and act out different situations. Find other ways that students can represent their knowledge and help improve their comprehension of the various concepts taught in class.
There is no better way to get group interaction than debates. Debates encourage students to combine research concepts and critical thinking to present their points convincingly. They encourage students to do further research on their own time, individually and as groups, to develop justifiable points. When presenting their arguments, students get the chance to develop their oratory skills.
Debates also help students listen and learn different points of view from the opposing side. The learning of multiple perspectives makes for both fun and teachable moments. Intelligent debates open students’ minds and spark ways of thinking that might have previously been unknown to them.
Organizational Instructional Strategies
Teachers use these strategies worldwide to help students interact with different subjects and solve problems using their knowledge. Some of these methods include:
Before starting on a new topic or concept, ask your students to submit any prior knowledge on the topic. Tell them to write what they want to know and what they already know about the subject and use their knowledge to get a feel of their understanding and how interested they are before starting it. This can help you better craft your lesson and emphasize the concepts you find are hard for them.
You can also use knowledge charts at different times to see their progress and interest in the topic. The chart gives you an idea of how the students are coping with the subject and can help students gauge their progress and find points where more work needs to be done.
Sponge activities, or anchor activities, involve assignments students need to work on immediately. The students can do this assignment before a class starts or immediately after. It is a great way to keep the learning process going. Sponge activities can include presenting or discussing an answer with a partner or answering a question posed in the previous class.
Use anchor activities to your benefit and help the students understand what you are teaching. You can even provide them with notes that they can use as a reference when studying for exams.
Instead of just using questions or quizzes to summarize a topic, use graphic outlines to help students summarize what they learned and how the different aspects taught relate to each other. These outlines include flow charts, mind maps, and Venn diagrams.
You or your students can make the graphic summary as long as the information on it is accurate. Discuss the summary after the class or after a show and tell. After the lesson, you can also refer to the graph to see if you discussed all the parts and find out what needs further exploration.
To Sum Up…
There are many instructional strategies you can adapt to your teaching. These strategies fit different subjects, student levels, and lecture formats. You can use the list of research-based instructional strategies together to impart as much knowledge as possible.
As a teacher, you need to understand that there are diverse students in a class. There might be students in the class who need more focus than others, or you might need to apply different teaching methods to deal with different points or students.
Find a strategy that fits both your teaching methods and your student’s needs, and be ready to be flexible. Your flexibility as an instructor will help you fit yourself into your student’s needs and find different ways to interact with all of them. Keep your learning goals the same but dedicate other time allocations and different teaching methods according to the student’s needs.
If applied correctly, this list of research-based instructional strategies will benefit you and your students too. Working together with your class and adapting these instructional strategies ensures the whole class moves together and gets the full knowledge they can.