Instructional Practices

10 Effective Teaching Strategies for Every Classroom

5 Min Read
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Many teaching strategies work for any classroom, no matter what the age of the students or the subject. When a teacher implements a combination of effective teaching strategies, their students have more opportunities to perform better in class.

There are many different approaches you can use in your classroom. Which ones will work best depends on your and your students’ preferences, as well as your schedule. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices in teaching that you can employ.

10 Best Practices in Teaching You Can Use Right Now

1. Model As You Teach

When presenting a new subject to your class, it helps to include a demonstration. While some students will be able to grasp a new concept by hearing the information alone, others will prefer to see it.

In certain classes, this is practically required. For example, when you’re teaching a math unit, you’ll usually need to display your work on the board, or else your students will be completely lost. This is how the class can follow along with better comprehension.

Some students will need to see more than one example to get a good understanding. Make sure that you include several different demonstrations for each new unit, as repetition is a big part of committing new ideas to memory. 

2. Make Mistakes

Teachers are the ultimate resource for students when it comes to learning. When you are presenting your lesson plans, you usually show an example of a way to do things. This is a great way to introduce a concept, but you also want to solicit a more in-depth understanding.

A great way to do this is to make intentional mistakes and ask the class to fix them. If you’re an English teacher, you can write an excerpt on the board and riddle it with grammar mistakes. Instruct your students to identify these mistakes and rewrite the passage correctly.

This teaching method requires kids to apply the knowledge they’ve gained in class. It also gives you a chance to evaluate how well each student comprehends the subject.

Once everyone has completed the assignment, you can review it as a class. Show each student how the passage should be written and address any questions that may arise.

3. Work As a Team

Splitting the class up into small groups to complete an assignment is a classroom teaching strategy that works wonders, especially at age groups where students insist on always working with their tight-knit circle of friends. Group assignments encourage teamwork and help your class to succeed.

For instance, in science, you can split the class into small groups for lab-based assignments and give each person a certain job to complete. You might have one person perform the experiment, another write notes, and someone else read instructions, for example.

Make sure to pair children who need extra support with those who have a better understanding of the material. This way, those who are stronger in the subject can share their knowledge to help their peers. All in all, group work is a fun and interactive way to teach a lesson.

4. Encourage Learning from Experience

The best lessons often happen outside of the classroom. Getting out into the real world offers a new perspective for children and can help them gain a more profound understanding of what goes on in the classroom.

Studying the different types of fish in a local pond is an excellent example of learning from experience. You would start in class, going over the different species and how each animal contributes to the environment around it. Once you’ve completed the lesson, take the class to the local pond. Have them search for the different animals you discussed in class. After locating each animal, they will be able to observe the roles discussed earlier in class.

Field trips like this offer valuable, real-world experiences to students. They’ll gain confidence and motivation in class since they will be able to see that everything they learn has a connection to the world around them.

5. Let the Students Teach

Letting students lead the class in teaching requires preparation and a deep understanding of coursework. You can assign this task individually or break up students into groups.The goal of this strategy is to get your students to display the knowledge they have and to share it. In order to give a quality lesson, they will need to put extra time into making sure they fully comprehend the project. If they struggle in some areas, they will be motivated to ask questions in order to get the grade.

You can help students prepare for this assignment by offering a rubric that outlines the areas in which they’ll be graded. You might give points based on lesson length, preparation, and creativity. The weight of each section will depend on the project and your preferences. Some teachers also allow the class to grade a section of the assignment. If you choose to go this route, it can be helpful to pass out a scoring guide to the class. This way, each student knows how to grade the “teacher.”

6. Integrate Technology Into the Classroom

Technology is perhaps the most powerful tool you have at your disposal. It’s an essential part of modern jobs and has a lot to offer in the way of education. Computers, laptops, and tablets can allow you to enhance your lesson plans with online educational activities. There are several free resources that you can access with a simple Google search. Try looking up educational videos or playing free math and science games.

Your students will not only enjoy the time they spend online but also gain a deeper understanding of your classwork. Use all the resources you have at your disposal to your advantage — you’ll have a more engaged and motivated group of students as a result.

7. Try Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers, such as pie charts and Venn diagrams, are a great way to display information visually. When you ask your class to create one, your students will have to apply their knowledge in a visual way. This will also help them form connections and understand similarities and differences.

8. Emphasize Classroom Management

Classroom management is an important part of being a teacher. Teaching strategies often give you plenty of structure regarding how to teach a class, but not how to manage it. We have many articles to help you manage your classroom, which delve deeply into common themes, such as establishing routines and building relationships with students. There are also tools, like HMH Classcraft, to help manage classrooms. Look for tools that give insights into student performance and behavior and, ideally, offer activities and lessons to meet students exactly where they are. By way of example, Classcraft has a few features to help you manage your classroom:

  1. The Control Panel is the educator-only view that provides access to ready-made, standards-aligned lessons. From this view, educators can plan instruction with built-in teacher notes, view real-time insights on student performance and readiness, and adapt instruction to meet individual student or whole-classroom needs.
  2. The Active Student Panel keeps students on task and encourages ownership of learning. From this view, students can interact with instructional tools like Learning Goals, Turn and Talk, and Polls, collaborate with classmates or respond independently, and may even have their screens paused by educators to ensure they are staying on task.
  3. The Classroom Panel is the whole-classroom instruction view. From this view, educators can control what is being displayed in the front of the classroom, share student responses anonymously to encourage further discussion, and use classroom management tools like a timer, stopwatch, grouping, and volume meter.

9. Utilize Visual Aids

Visual aids, such as smartboards and projectors, can ramp up your lesson in class. Some children prefer to absorb information and have a deep understanding of it from hearing a lecture alone. Others prefer visual aids to help them organize information. Try displaying informative graphics that relate to your lesson on the board or projector. Reference these illustrations as you speak to allow everyone in your class to get what they need out of the lesson.

10. Implement Inquiry-based Learning

Inquiry-based learning is an effective teaching technique used to appeal to your students’ curiosity. Implementing it in the classroom means allowing the students to identify questions that interest them and to explore those questions in an educational setting.

Once your students have identified a topic of interest, they’ll need to research their chosen subject and deliver a presentation to the class. You must be there to offer support, such as by helping your students identify reliable online sources for research.

After the presentation is over, ask your students to reflect on the project as a whole. You want them to evaluate what went well, what didn’t, and what could be done differently in the future. Moreover, you want your students to focus on not only what they learned but also how they learned it. This builds independent, confident learners who have a clearer path to success.

It's a smart idea to have a few teaching practices in your back pocket to use in the classroom. These best teaching practices are sure to get your students thinking, learning, and staying engaged with your lessons each day.

This article was adapted from a blog post initially developed by the education technology company Classcraft, which was acquired by HMH in 2023. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of HMH.

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