Teaching is amongst the most prestigious and noble professions in the world. Development in any field of life is not possible without the dynamic contribution of a teacher. Teaching has never been an easy job, but it has become highly challenging recently. With changing trends in every sphere of life, teaching practices are also prone to change. Previously, a teacher was supposed to be a mediator whose role was to communicate their subject’s content to students. Recently, a teacher’s role has been redefined as a facilitator who should not spoon-feed their students.
In today’s technologically advanced fast-paced world, traditional ways of teaching would not suffice. It has become challenging to grab students’ attention for an extended period, mainly when the human attention span has radically decreased. Nowadays, teachers have to develop modern and innovative instructional strategies to make their lectures interesting. Instructional strategies involve various techniques teachers utilize to help their students better understand their lessons.
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Significance of Instructional strategies
Today, an instructor has to be the best at their subject and well-equipped in the art of teaching. Not everyone can teach as teaching itself is a science and requires hard work and passion. It’s no wonder that teachers with an additional degree in Education have the edge over mere subject specialists. Therefore, several universities offer degrees in MSE in curriculum and instruction online to help teachers educate themselves remotely. These degrees and courses facilitate teachers to devise unique instructional strategies for their students. These instructional strategies mix traditional and modern techniques that make the learning experience worthwhile for students.
This article will discuss some instructional strategies to enable teachers to make their lectures fun and interesting.
Limited lecture and Micro-learning
If teachers want their students to listen carefully, they should consciously limit their lecture time. Ideally, every 15 minutes or so, teachers should take a short break during their lecture. This break may last a few minutes in which they can ask students questions or narrate a relevant story to make their class exciting. As monotonous lectures only divert students’ attention, a teacher should deliberately avoid them.
Furthermore, teachers must not introduce too much new information in a single lecture. Instead, they should practice micro-learning to make the information digestible for students. Micro-learning is an instructional strategy in which a teacher breaks down complex content into easily-understandable small chunks. Studies have revealed that our short-term memory can grasp three to five chunks of new information. Hence, teachers must focus on the most relevant material for students to retain their lessons.
Interactivity is one of the most engaging instructional strategies teachers utilize in their classrooms. Teachers employ various interactive techniques to spice up their class and break the monotony of a boring lecture. Therefore, they encourage class participation either by urging students to brainstorm or allowing group discussions during class.
A Question-Answer session at the end of each lecture is also an interactive strategy that enables a teacher to encourage maximum class participation. However, some modified forms of teacher-student interaction involve “exit-ticket” and “minute paper.” So, before leaving the classroom, students jot down their takeaways from the lecture on a ticket that serves as their exit ticket.
Repetition and Reinforcements
As traditional as it might seem, repetition is an effective instructional strategy. Repetition includes repeating the lessons at regular intervals until teachers are confident they have imparted the knowledge. Teachers may repeat key points daily and occasionally repeat complex topics of a course during a semester to reinforce them.
Moreover, instructors should repeatedly reinforce their lessons verbally or by taking assessments. For example, quizzes and assessments enable the teacher to know which areas require revision. Students tend to score better at subjects that are frequently revised.
Use of Gadgets and internet
Our young generation is obsessed with gadgets, be it their cellphones, laptops, or tablets. Teachers can use this habit to their advantage by distributing training materials during class via cellphones and tablets. Presentation by teachers and students using Powerpoint or any other software is also an engaging instructional strategy. Nowadays, a lot of teachers take online tests and quizzes. Online learning activities are convenient for both students and teachers compared to traditional hand-written tests.
However, we experienced the best use of technology and the internet during covid-19. Almost all educational institutes of the world carried out their learning activities remotely during lockdowns. The world experienced an education paradigm shift that has opened new horizons for teachers to employ unique instructional strategies.
Lastly, teachers should always give a brief yet comprehensive summary of their topic at the end of the class. The instructor summarizes either by highlighting the main points or asking key questions. However, a teacher should be creative enough to ask questions indirectly. This subtle questioning allows the teacher to assess students’ comprehension of the topic at hand. Besides, if students have difficulty answering specific questions, teachers better understand what they need to repeat.
Moreover, teachers may ask students to briefly describe what they learned at the end of the day. For example, students may verbally summarize the main points or use exit tickets to write a summary. This activity will motivate students to attend their lectures attentively as they have to recap later.
To sum up, a teacher’s role isn’t restricted to delivering lectures but also facilitating their class in developing a sound understanding of their subject. The ultimate goal of teachers is to create an environment conducive to learning. Thus, they utilize all the instructional strategies that stimulate their students’ critical thinking, encourage class participation, and increase comprehension.