How to Make Teaching more Effective?
Education is an enlightening experience. It brings an integrating permanent change in one’s thinking and capacity to do things. According to Bell Hooks, “education was about the practice of freedom” (Hooks, 1994). Knowledge has no end, but it only grows from time to time. Solomon Ortiz said, “Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students.” Learning is one aspect of education but teaching is another whole aspect. Some people might argue that without learners. There would not be teachers. But I believe learning is a process that you need to go through to get the knowledge you need, teaching is also processing that a facilitator or a teacher needs to transmit the knowledge he/she is trying to deliver. But learning goes both ways. “Any classroom that employs a holistic model of learning will also be a place where teachers grow and are empowered by the process. That empowerment cannot happen if we refuse to be vulnerable while encouraging students to take risks” (Hooks, 1994, P.7). Learning isn’t about a facilitator or teacher coming to class and preaching to you what he/she had to say. Education is about exchanging knowledge and supporting the social and emotional being of both teachers and students.
A classroom is an energetic environment that brings together students with different backgrounds. They have different abilities and needs that require teachers to be effective. Teachers need to incorporate creativity and innovation into their teaching strategies to cover their students’ needs. A question one should be asking themselves is, how can one be asking is how to be effective in teaching? What strategies do I need to use in order to be effective?
In this article, I’ll be sharing four effective teaching strategies that every teacher should include in their teaching.
According to Bonwell and Eison, active learning is a process that allows students to participate in the learning process (Bonwell and Eison, 1991). Active learning promotes a deeper understanding of the material. According to Claire Hoogendoorn’s study on the neuroscience of active learning stated that “learning is enhanced when multiple neural pathways are activated at the same time. In plain terms, the more we can activate students’ brains in different ways, the more they learn” (Hoogendoorn. C, 2015). It helps students to engage with the content, maintain students’ concentration on learning, and gaining high-level skills and critical thinking. It also increases students’ problem-solving abilities and helps students to acquire positive attitudes towards learning. A lot of teachers promote active participation but not active learning. Active participation doesn’t necessarily mean that students are practicing active learning. For example, in every classroom there few students who are constantly participating does that mean they are actively learning? No, because the classroom is very diverse and not everyone likes talking, so few individuals can’t present the rest of the class. The difference between Active learning and active participation is that active learning covers everyone’s learning on their own pack while active participation favours few individuals. “Once the space for dialogue is open in the classroom, that moment must be orchestrated so that you don’t get bogged down with people who just like to hear themselves talk, or with people who are unable to relate the experience to the academic subject matter” (Hooks, 1994, P.160). Active learning prevents students from being bogged down in the learning process.
Allowing students to participate in Decision Making
Learning requires students to be the center of their own learning by collaborating with their teachers. Students need to understand why, what, and how learning takes place. Students need to understand the value that education brings to them. They also need to understand what skills they are gaining from this particular subject and why it is important to again that skill or value. Having them engage and experience the content beforehand helps teachers or instructors incorporate student feedback. It also makes students feel that they are part of shaping their own learning. Learning happens anywhere, but helping students shape their own learning increases their interest in that subject. For example, if you are teaching math, and you want to teach, it may be the way you have been taught or something, it might not work for your students for a number of reasons. But the better way to approach it is by asking them how they want to go about and what would help them understand better. Teachers should be putting their students at the center of the learning design and incorporate their feedback into the learning process. One of the learning theories is Social and emotional learning. This goes both ways (Teacher to students).
Peer learning is another method of learning that promotes effective teaching. According to Hooks, “Seeing the classroom always as a communal place enhances the likelihood of collective effort in creating and sustaining a learning community.” (Hooks, 1994, P.17). Peer learning promotes collaboration and sharing knowledge. According to Topping, K., & Ehly, S. 1998, “Peer learning is the acquisition of knowledge and skill through active helping and support among peers who are equals in standing or matched companions. Peer learning occurs among peers from similar social groupings, who are not professional teachers, helping each other to learn and, in doing so, learning themselves” (Topping, K., & Ehly, S.,1998). When a teacher is advocating for or including peer learning in their teaching strategy, it enables them to increase their students’ knowledge. For example, in a traditional learning environment students are more likely to compete. I’m not saying there is something wrong with compassion, but there is no knowledge sharing in that environment. Not everyone is learning and growing in that environment. So peer learning helps students to be engaged and effective in their learning process.
According to Hooks, “As a classroom community, our capacity to generate excitement is deeply affected by our interest in one another, in hearing one another’s voices, in recognizing one another’s presence” (Hooks, 1994, P.75). The power of listening and hearing the voice of others is called feedback. A big number of teachers think that teachers are the only source of knowledge that students have so they are the ones who are always right. “The classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy” (Hooks, 1994, P.75). Most of them don’t listen or hear what their students are saying, so it is hard to give them feedback. There are different types of feedback, but in this article, I’m touching on the importance of feedback, so feedback is effective and essential when it’s received and adjusted. Feedback is not disparagement, criticism, or judgment but it’s a tool that is essential towards positive learning environments. Hearing your students isn’t a crime but rather a way of cooperating with each other to promote an effective learning process.
In conclusion, effective teaching motivates student learning and engagement. It helps teachers to see the capability of their students to achieve more than they think they are capable of. I believe education should be fun, so Effective teaching boosts the enthusiastic and fun part of the learning process. The above mentioned strategies promote and develop teacher’s effectiveness and enhance effective learning processes.
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Topping, K., & Ehly, S. (1998). Peer-assisted learning. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Hooks, B. (1994). Teaching to transgress.
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