What are teaching strategies and what are they for in the educational context?
There are many teaching strategies, and every teacher should know them to be able to choose which is the most appropriate depending on the occasion, the students and the content to be taught.
Whatever is going to be taught, it is essential that in order to achieve meaningful learning the teacher makes his classes enjoyable, fruitful and that arouses the interest, curiosity and motivation of his students.
Next we will see what teaching strategies are, in addition to seeing the most common and applicable in education.
What are teaching strategies?
Teaching strategies are methods, procedures or resources used by teachers to ensure that their students achieve meaningful learning. The application of these strategies allows teachers to transform learning into an active, more participatory process that the student remembers more easily. Many of these strategies share in common being very cooperative, something that facilitates the assimilation of values, develops a better emotional adjustment in students and prepares them for life in society.
These strategies, although very versatile, should not be applied without prior knowledge of the material to be taught. The selection of the teaching strategy must be made taking into account what purposes are to be achieved, as well as the competences that are to be developed in the students. It is very important that the teacher knows how to play their role, since it is their responsibility to promote a learning environment
Traditionally, the teaching strategy has focused on transmitting knowledge from the teacher, seen as an absolute expert, and the student, seen as completely ignorant. This process placed special emphasis on the memorization of the contents, evaluated by means of exams or written exercises that, in many cases, did not invite to take critical positions, prioritizing being easy to correct by the teachers.
Fortunately, this has been changing, making teachers more aware that, to achieve better learning, it is necessary to apply varied teaching strategies, suitable for each type of person, content and situation. Thanks to its diversity, the teaching process can be made really effective, awakening the curiosity of the students, their participation and adding an important recreational component.
The most common teaching strategies in education
Next we will see the most common teaching strategies, which every teacher should know to make their teaching work something truly fruitful. These methods can serve both to activate the knowledge already mastered by students and to teach them new ones, in addition to fostering a critical spirit and better logical argumentation.
Illustrations are visual representations of the concepts, objects or situations described in the theory, or a specific topic that has been discussed in class such as a historical photograph, a drawing exemplifying the structure of a building, diagrams, graphics and other supports visuals. There are four different types with different function.
- Descriptive: shows figures, photographs and drawings.
- Expressive: figures or drawings in which attitudinal aspects stand out.
- Logical-mathematical: they are diagrams of mathematical concepts or functions.
- Algorithms: these are diagrams that include the steps for a procedure.
Although they can be used with students of any age, they are essential for the little ones, since they still do not have a wide knowledge of the world and the best way they have to construct it is through visual representations.
The objectives are statements that establish the conditions, the type of activities and how learning will be evaluated. It is through his explanation at the beginning of the course that he makes the students understand what is expected of them, as well as outlining the path they should follow.
It is very important to establish these objectives, since, in addition to serving as a guide for the teacher, it makes the student know, in advance, what they will have to do during the course.
In this way, students are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own learning, investigating on their own rather than waiting for the teacher to tell them what to do at the beginning of each session. Thus, students will not be surprised every day, but will at least have a slight idea of what is going to be given and will be able to relate it to knowledge from other courses more easily.
3. Previous presentation
It consists of preparing the introductory material well in order to facilitate the process of acquiring it. This strategy should not be confused with that of the presentation of the objectives, since the previous presentation implies introducing the content in each session awakening knowledge that the students already have or preparing them for the agenda to be explained. Either through pre-reading or a brief and explanatory presentation, the process of acquiring new information can be greatly facilitated.
4. Debates and guided discussion
The incorporation of debates and guided discussions is an essential teaching strategy in any education that wants to promote freedom of opinion, critical thinking, respect and the understanding that other points of view exist.
Discussions should be informal exchanges of ideas and information on the topic at hand, always under the direction of the educator to ensure that students do not stray from the point to be discussed. During the debate, opposing positions will be presented on a certain topic, each participant having to defend their point of view from respect and tolerance, using logic, reflection and due argumentation.
It is very important that if the teacher chooses this strategy, they present a topic that gives rise to different approaches and points of view. In addition, the teacher should act as director or mediator in the debate, asking a series of questions to invite their students to make their opinions known. Ideally, they should know the topic that is going to be discussed in advance, or have an idea of what it is about, so that they can be a little prepared and argue their positions.
It is very important that the questions raised by the debate mediator follow a logical order, in addition to reaching a conclusion after the debate is finished. In this way, the debate will allow for an organized reflection and presentation of one’s own arguments, stimulating critical capacity. Students will develop better critical and reflective thinking skills, collaborative work and better communication skills.
The transformation of theoretical classes into workshops is a very good teaching strategy, useful for acquiring new knowledge in a practical and collaborative way. In the workshops, groups are created so that the students present their own proposals, debate them and carry them out, in addition to using logic and making intelligent use of the theoretical content seen in the classes. This strategy promotes the development of cognitive, procedural and attitudinal knowledge.
The grace of this type of activity is that students learn in a context very similar to real life, in the sense that, once they are older, they will not have access to a book or presentation that explains what to do in a situation new. The best way to put creativity and intelligence into practice is through this teaching strategy, allowing them to think outside of the box in a situation they have never faced before.
6. Practical classes
Although they may seem the same as workshops, they are not. The workshops invite students to explore on their own how to do things, discuss what to do with each other, and do various activities. Instead, practical classes are the organizational modality in which activities directly related to theory are developed, that is, it is the practical representation of what the teacher has already explained in class or what appears in the book.
It involves teaching through practical examples the basic and procedural skills related to the subject under study. This type of strategy is ideal for subjects and other subjects that have a high practical component, such as computing, biology, chemistry or physics. The practical classes can take place in special classrooms such as the laboratory or the computer room.
Problem solving is putting into practice theoretical knowledge but that can only be adequately acquired through exercises in which formulas, algorithms or routines are applied. This strategy, also classic, if used correctly, allows students to awaken the interest of seeing how problems of all kinds are solved.
The exercises can have one or more solutions known to the teacher, whose main intention is to apply what they have learned to strengthen knowledge about the theoretical content. It is very important that the teacher is aware of how the students do it, to detect possible procedural errors and prevent them from repeating them over and over again. This strategy is basic in subjects such as mathematics, chemistry and physics.
8. Cooperative learning
Cooperative or peer learning is a form of teaching organization that consists of making small groups in which its members encourage the learning of others, collaborating and exposing what they know. The members of the groups interact with each other, making those who have learned the content best to explain it in a more pleasant way and in a language more accessible to those who have problems.
In addition, socio-emotional and intellectual skills are also worked on, since explaining what has just been learned implies putting into practice a better capacity to organize information, explaining it in an empathic way for those who have more difficulties. It is through all this that not only class content is acquired, but also more prosocial values and attitudes.
9. Pedagogical simulation
Pedagogical simulation is a strategy in which students are asked to act out a context or act out a situation.
Thus, students have to abandon their own personality and identity for a moment, acquiring the one they should represent. This allows them to have a greater understanding of the characteristics of, for example, professions, ethnic groups, injustices or everyday situations since, when representing them, they have to put themselves in the role and act as if they were really someone else.
This can be seen as a kind of game and, in a way, it is. Students have to assume their role, acting creatively and openly based on what they have to represent, or how they think the person they have been representing behaves. Within the pedagogical simulation we have role plays, role plays and psychodrama.
10. Interleaved questions
The interleaved questions are inserted in the teaching situation or in the reading of a text, with the intention of keeping the attention of the students and favoring the practice and obtaining of relevant information.
These questions are productive, since it is from them that it is possible to know what is the degree of involvement and, at the same time, understanding of the students. With them it is possible to bring out the latent knowledge in the mind of the individual that, perhaps, it would not have occurred to him before to make known because, simply, he did not remember. It is giving you the clues to remember what you may know.
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