15 best teaching strategies to support student learning

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 24 November 2022

Published 28 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

With the right teaching methods, educators can create an enjoyable and productive classroom experience for students. There are many frameworks that a teacher can use to support students with different interests, abilities and learning styles. If you're a teacher or a professional in the education field, you might benefit from learning about new instructive strategies you can use at your school. In this article, we discuss the definition of teaching strategies and outline the most effective teaching methods.

What are teaching strategies?

Teaching strategies are ways to instruct students in a classroom, helping them to understand and remember what they've learned. The best teaching methods allow educators to convey information in a clear and concise way while also ensuring students retain it over the long term. If students can comprehend facts on a deep level and practise skills properly in the classroom, they can apply their knowledge and abilities to their personal lives and future careers.

Teaching methods can provide opportunities to make learning engaging, inspiring and fun for students. They can help teachers to fulfil their responsibility of guiding the social and emotional development of children. By using the right strategies, teachers can promote values of respect, empathy and cultural sensitivity. They can also use teaching methods to prepare students for standardised testing. Your classroom philosophies and principles can vary based on your preferences as a teacher, your school mission statement, your subject areas and other factors.

Related: How to become a teacher in the UK

15 best teaching strategies

There's a wide range of approaches and techniques that a teacher can use in a classroom. A combination of these techniques can help teachers achieve learning goals and improve their students' performance. Here are 15 effective strategies to consider:

1. Explicit instruction

Explicit teaching is a direct and goal-oriented technique that allows you to fully control the learning process and ensure student understanding. Explicit instruction is useful for teaching material for which clear understanding is more important than creative thinking. It usually involves dividing information into several topics that allow the students to learn in small, consistent steps. Explicit teaching is a preparatory technique that provides students with the knowledge required to perform independent activities.

2. Differentiated instruction

The design of differentiated instruction provides an individual approach that corresponds with the needs of a particular student. It may include individual content accessibility frameworks, specific tasks, evaluation criteria or even the physical set-up of a classroom. Many students have diverse needs and capabilities, so it's important to adjust your methods to ensure that all students have equal opportunities in the learning process. A differentiated approach to teaching is highly beneficial for students with disabilities as it maintains a comfortable academic environment.

3. Lecture-based learning

Lecture-based learning is a traditional way to structure classroom lessons. It allows the teacher to introduce new topics, provide examples and explain the fundamentals. You can encourage the students to ask questions about the material. It's important to keep the lessons brief to maintain attention and improve student performance. In addition, it's highly beneficial to rely on visual cues to keep students interested in the content.

4. Technology-based learning

As digital devices have become an established part of modern life, it's essential to use the benefits of technology in teaching. Students and teachers can use digital devices to access information and learning materials while at home or school. Technology also provides an opportunity to use interactive content and educational games to increase engagement. Furthermore, students may develop valuable technology-related skills and improve their digital literacy.

5. Summative and formative assessments

Assessment plays a crucial role in teaching as it may significantly influence your students' performance. Consider using summative assessments to evaluate the quality of learning after completing a block of work. Teachers use formative assessment to identify how well the student understands a particular topic. Formative assessment is critical as it allows the diagnosis of gaps between students and the introduction of an effective individual approach. You can also use formative assessment to focus more on topics that can challenge students' understanding.

6. Questioning techniques

Questioning is a vital element of teaching. You can use it to evaluate your students' knowledge and to encourage them to engage in critical thinking. Therefore, it's particularly important to rely on effective techniques while questioning. Consider asking clarifying questions such as 'Are you sure?' or 'How do you know?'. These questions may encourage critical thinking and ensure that students understand the topic.

7. Deliberate practice

Teachers frequently use deliberate practice to introduce a new concept that requires several skills. This technique involves dividing the learning process into stages that focus on a particular skill required to understand the topic. It's important to isolate the skill, develop it and evaluate the level of development. After developing each individual skill, you can introduce the general topic and use retrieval practice to review the combination of skills and ensure understanding of the topic.

8. Developing problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills, particularly mathematical problem solving, may require explicit teaching. Students frequently focus on the surface of the problem and may not always understand the multi-layered nature of the task. Therefore, it's particularly important to help students develop thinking and problem-solving skills. You might try using mathematical problems that have similar surface features yet have different structures. An approach like this could help your students to recognise the elements of multi-layered problems.

Related: How to become a maths teacher

9. Providing recognition

Student performance and dedication are closely linked with the concept of recognition. Ensuring that successful completion of tasks is rewarding can increase your students' willingness to learn. This approach can motivate students to study and can improve engagement. As a result, students tend to build knowledge faster and understand topics better. It's important to recognise success and acknowledge full effort regardless of the end result.

10. Group learning

It's important to help students socialise and develop soft skills throughout the learning process. The ability to communicate and cooperate with peers plays a critical role as it also impacts out-of-school activities. You can try allocating students into groups to encourage class participation and collaboration. Group assignments may develop a variety of skills that can help students while they're studying and in their future careers.

11. Individual learning

Individual learning is an effective method of teaching that improves engagement significantly and allows the teacher to better evaluate performance. Even though it's challenging to introduce an individual approach for each student with a class of 30 pupils, it's vital to maintain personalised learning. Consider assigning individual tasks to your students to encourage them to develop their thoughts and analysis. It's also beneficial to focus on creativity within the concept of individual learning. Writing assignments may provide the students with an opportunity to demonstrate personal skills and knowledge.

12. Kinaesthetic learning

The concept of kinaesthetic learning relates to learning through movement. This strategy involves using physical activity as a learning tool to improve engagement and develop creativity. Playing is one of the most common forms of kinaesthetic learning. It may encourage students to move around and learn simultaneously. Another example is drawing, which helps to develop creative thinking and fine motor skills. Building activities may also improve coordination and thinking skills.

13. Game-based learning

Students' motivation plays a central role in the learning process. It's essential to maintain high engagement to achieve learning goals, so you might aim to implement a variety of techniques to increase your students' motivation to learn. Game-based learning is one of the most effective methods of improving engagement and exciting children about learning. You can use educational games as learning opportunities or rely on them to keep pupils motivated and focused.

Related: How to become a primary school teacher in 6 steps

14. Expeditionary learning

Expeditionary learning is a teaching technique that involves learning through practical experiences, such as projects, case studies, lab experiments in the classroom or field trips to places around your school and community. For instance, in a history class, you may visit a nearby museum to learn more about the area's historical events. This type of approach encourages students to apply classroom knowledge and skills to the real world. It can help them comprehend the purpose of their efforts and return to schoolwork with enthusiasm.

15. Connecting with learners

One of the most important techniques in teaching is connecting with students. It's vitally important to build trust with pupils and earn their respect, as the relationship between the teacher and students may significantly influence the learning process. Students are more likely to stay motivated and perform better if they feel connected with the teacher. Introducing an individual approach to each student and treating them with respect can help you encourage this connection to develop.

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