Teaching method

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A teaching method comprises the principles and methods used for instruction to be implemented by teachers to achieve the desired learning in students. These strategies are determined partly on subject matter to be taught and partly by the nature of the learner. For a particular teaching method to be appropriate and efficient it has to be in relation with the characteristic of the learner and the type of learning it is supposed to bring about. Davis (1997) suggests that the design and selection of teaching methods must take into account not only the nature of the subject matter but also how students learn.[1] In today’s school the trend is that it encourages a lot of creativity. It is a known fact that human advancement comes through reasoning. This reasoning and original thought enhances creativity. The approaches for teaching can be broadly classified into teacher centered and student centered. In Teacher-Centered Approach to Learning, Teachers are the main authority figure in this model. Students are viewed as “empty vessels” whose primary role is to passively receive information (via lectures and direct instruction) with an end goal of testing and assessment. It is the primary role of teachers to pass knowledge and information onto their students. In this model, teaching and assessment are viewed as two separate entities. Student learning is measured through objectively scored tests and assessments.[2] In Student-Centered Approach to Learning, while teachers are an authority figure in this model, teachers and students play an equally active role in the learning process. The teacher’s primary role is to coach and facilitate student learning and overall comprehension of material. Student learning is measured through both formal and informal forms of assessment, including group projects, student portfolios, and class participation. Teaching and assessments are connected; student learning is continuously measured during teacher instruction.[2] Commonly used teaching methods may include class participation, demonstration, recitation, memorization, or combinations of these.

Methods of instruction[edit]


Main article: Lecture

The lecture method is just one of several teaching methods, though in schools it’s usually considered the primary one. It isn’t surprising, either. The lecture method is convenient and usually makes the most sense, especially with larger classroom sizes. This is why lecturing is the standard for most college courses, when there can be several hundred students in the classroom at once; lecturing lets professors address the most people at once, in the most general manner, while still conveying the information that he or she feels is most important, according to the lesson plan.[3] While the lecture method gives the instructor or teacher chances to expose students to unpublished or not readily available material, the students plays a passive role which may hinder learning. While this method facilitates large-class communication, the lecturer must make constant and conscious effort to become aware of student problems and engage the students to give verbal feedback. It can be used to arouse interest in a subject provided the instructor has effective writing and speaking skills.[4]


Demonstrating is the process of teaching through examples or experiments. For example, a science teacher may teach an idea by performing an experiment for students. A demonstration may be used to prove a fact through a combination of visual evidence and associated reasoning.

Demonstrations are similar to written storytelling and examples in that they allow students to personally relate to the presented information. Memorization of a list of facts is a detached and impersonal experience, whereas the same information, conveyed through demonstration, becomes personally relatable. Demonstrations help to raise student interest and reinforce memory retention because they provide connections between facts and real-world applications of those facts. Lectures, on the other hand, are often geared more towards factual presentation than connective learning.


Main article: Collaboration

Collaboration allows students to actively participate in the learning process by talking with each other and listening to other points of view. Collaboration establishes a personal connection between students and the topic of study and it helps students think in a less personally biased way. Group projects and discussions are examples of this teaching method. Teachers may employ collaboration to assess student's abilities to work as a team, leadership skills, or presentation abilities.[5]

Collaborative discussions can take a variety of forms, such as fishbowl discussions. After some preparation and with clearly defined roles, a discussion may constitute most of a lesson, with the teacher only giving short feedback at the end or in the following lesson.

Classroom discussion[edit]

The most common type of collaborative method of teaching in a class is classroom discussion. It is the also a democratic way of handling a class, where each student is given equal opportunity to interact and put forth their views. A discussion taking place in a classroom can be either facilitated by a teacher or by a student. A discussion could also follow a presentation or a demonstration. Class discussions can enhance student understanding, add context to academic content, broaden student perspectives, highlight opposing viewpoints, reinforce knowledge, build confidence, and support community in learning. The opportunities for meaningful and engaging in-class discussion may vary widely, depending on the subject matter and format of the course. Motivations for holding planned classroom discussion, however, remain consistent.[6] An effective classroom discussion can be achieved by probing more questions among the students, paraphrasing the information received, using questions to develop critical thinking with questions like "Can we take this one step further?;" "What solutions do you think might solve this problem?;" "How does this relate to what we have learned about..?;" "What are the differences between ... ?;" "How does this relate to your own experience?;" "What do you think causes .... ?;" "What are the implications of .... ?" [7]


Main article: Debriefing

The term “debriefing” refers to conversational sessions that revolve around the sharing and examining of information after a specific event has taken place. Depending on the situation, debriefing can serve a variety of purposes.[8] It takes into consideration the experiences and facilitates reflection and feedback. Debriefing may involve feedback to the students or among the students, but this is not the intent. The intent is to allow the students to "thaw" and to judge their experience and progress toward change or transformation. The intent is to help them come to terms with their experience. This process involves a cognizance of cycle that students may have to be guided to completely debrief. Teachers should not be overly critical of relapses in behaviour. Once the experience is completely integrated, the students will exit this cycle and get on with the next.[7]

Classroom Action Research[edit]

Classroom Action Research is a method of finding out what works best in your own classroom so that you can improve student learning. We know a great deal about good teaching in general (e.g. McKeachie, 1999; Chickering and Gamson, 1987; Weimer, 1996), but every teaching situation is unique in terms of content, level, student skills and learning styles, teacher skills and teaching styles, and many other factors. To maximize student learning, a teacher must find out what works best in a particular situation.[9] Each teaching and research method, model and family is essential to the practice of technology studies. Teachers have their strengths and weaknesses, and adopt particular models to complement strengths and contradict weaknesses. Here, the teacher is well aware of the type of knowledge to be constructed. At other times, teachers equip their students with a research method to challenge them to construct new meanings and knowledge. In schools, the research methods are simplified, allowing the students to access the methods at their own levels.[7]

Evolution of teaching methods[edit]

Ancient education[edit]

About 3000 BC, with the advent of writing, education became more conscious or self-reflecting, with specialized occupations such as scribe and astronomer requiring particular skills and knowledge. Philosophy in ancient Greece led to questions of educational method entering national discourse.

In his literary work The Republic, Plato described a system of instruction that he felt would lead to an ideal state. In his dialogues, Plato described the Socratic method, a form of inquiry and debate intended to stimulate critical thinking and illuminate ideas.

It has been the intent of many educators since, such as the Roman educator Quintilian, to find specific, interesting ways to encourage students to use their intelligence and to help them to learn.

Medieval education[edit]

Comenius, in Bohemia, wanted all children to learn. In his The World in Pictures, he created an illustrated textbook of things children would be familiar with in everyday life and used it to teach children. Rabelais described how the student Gargantua learned about the world, and what is in it.

Much later, Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his Emile, presented methodology to teach children the elements of science and other subjects. During Napoleonic warfare, the teaching methodology of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi of Switzerland enabled refugee children, of a class believed to be unteachable[by whom?], to learn. He described this in his account of an educational experiment at Stanz.[citation needed]

19th century - compulsory education[edit]

The Prussian education system was a system of mandatory education dating to the early 19th century. Parts of the Prussian education system have served as models for the education systems in a number of other countries, including Japan and the United States. The Prussian model required classroom management skills to be incorporated into the teaching process.[10]

20th century[edit]

Newer teaching methods may incorporate television, radio, internet,multi media and other modern devices. Some educators[who?] believe that the use of technology, while facilitating learning to some degree, is not a substitute for educational methods that encourage critical thinking and a desire to learn. Inquiry learning is another modern teaching method. A popular teaching method that is being used by a vast majority of teachers is hands on activities. Hands-on activities are activities that require movement, talking, and listening, it activates multiple areas of the brain. "The more parts of your brain you use, the more likely you are to retain information," says Judy Dodge, author of 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom (Scholastic, 2009).[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Westwood, P. (2008). What teachers need to know about Teaching methods. Camberwell, Vic, ACER Press
  2. ^ a b http://teach.com/what/teachers-teach/teaching-methods
  3. ^ https://blog.udemy.com/lecture-method/
  4. ^ http://www.cirtl.net/node/2570
  5. ^ "What Is the Collaborative Classroom?". Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  6. ^ http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching-resources/classroom-practice/teaching-techniques-strategies/leading-classroom-discussion/
  7. ^ a b c Petrina, S. (2007) Advance Teaching Methods for the Technology Classroom (pp.125 - 153). Hershey, PA : Information Science Publishing.
  8. ^ http://www.debriefing.com/
  9. ^ http://josotl.indiana.edu/article/viewFile/1589/1588
  10. ^ Gatto, John Taylor. A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling. Berkeley Hills Books. ISBN 1-893163-21-0. 
  11. ^ Cleaver, Samantha. "Hands-On Is Minds-On". http://www.scholastic.com. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Paul Monroe, A Text-Book in the History of Education, Macmillan, 1915.
  • Gilbert Highet, The Art of Teaching, Knopf, 1950.