Principals of effective teaching in the schools

6 principles for effective teaching

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Schools across the country reopened earlier this year after prolonged lockdowns but the students which came back were different than the ones that left. There was a sea change in students including in their attention spans, behavior, learning loss that happened during the period of absence from school.

Teachers are now required to assess students’ progress closely on these fronts to be able to implement catch up initiatives or remedial education for whole cohorts with focus on individual development. Classroom teaching has become cumbersome after extended remote learning, especially for new teachers who joined just before the pandemic.

Constant pressure from parents and authorities has made it crucial for teachers to improve their teaching and assessment skills to be able to deliver on the learning outcomes.

Here we will discuss six principles of effective teaching in the school:

1. Explanation

It is vital to have subject knowledge. Teachers with strong subject knowledge are better equipped to give students understandable, clear and varied answers. They are also good at ensuring the students are able to retain their explanation by removing misconceptions, providing analogies and presenting various concrete examples.

Teachers who speak confidently, share various models, anecdotes, and conduct practical in the classroom are more successful in inspiring young people in their subjects than others.

2. Challenge

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Teachers should ensure that they set high expectations and benchmarks for their students which they should test by setting challenging goals and assignments. This ensures that the students are pushed to a zone of struggle where they are required to think and initiate a higher level of learning and creativity. It is also important to remind the students that it is okay to get things wrong but definitely not ok to not try to get it right.

3. Modelling

In education, modelling is used by educators as an instructional strategy to save time for teaching while improving their teaching skills. Every time an instructor explains a concept to a student, the instructor is modelling. Teachers can also execute modelling in the following ways:

  • When setting up an activity, share it with students, with an example, via past created models or work of teachers on “what a good activity looks like”.
  • Showcase galleries of excellence in classrooms, corridors or via school social media accounts
  • Before independent practice, encourage students to study worked examples through an “I do, we do, you do” approach
  • Provide phased examples of calculations or sentence starters as scaffolding
  • Encourage the students when they are stuck by reflecting on their prior skills and knowledge to help them deconstruct and tackle the problem

Also Read: Back at school, Indian teachers face a crisis of discipline. How to solve these issues?

 

4. Deliberate practice

Deliberate practice allows students to complete learning activities that focus on specific and well-defined goals. Such activities push students beyond their comfort zones. For example, a teacher can increase the learning level by giving weekly quizzes with multiple-choice and short answers based on threshold concepts and critical facts that students must know for deeper understanding and fluency of the subject.

5. Questioning

Questions are part of the introductory lesson structure. Lessons are introduced with open-ended questions to induce curiosity among students. Teachers must ask questions throughout the studies that check for challenge, probe, understanding, encourage metacognition and promote oracy. For example: How did you know that it was the correct answer?

How did you work it out? What makes it a good answer? What can the alternative viewpoint be? If a student’s initial response is “I don’t know”, then teachers should provide students with possible answers. Also, remember to provide adequate time for students to think and answer challenging questions.

6. Feedback

The quality of what you say or write is the key to making feedback effective. Feedback should be actionable, understandable, goal-oriented, personalized and specific. Is there any improvement in students by what was told to them? Is the language you use clear, simple and understandable? For example,

  • “Your answer was too vague”. Do students know the meaning of vague?
  • “Please add more details to this answer”. Such as what? Consider including an example in your feedback.

It is easier to provide high-quality feedback if the success criteria is explicit. An important part of feedback is that it is delivered while the teacher is moving inside the classroom, pointing out mistakes on the spot. 

The demand for academic excellence has increased exponentially ever since the pandemic. The constant need from parents and students has pushed schools to take actions to improve teachers’ teaching techniques.

Teachers’ professional development plan is a much required step towards quality education to strengthen the students’ current classroom learning and overall learning levels. These techniques will help teachers improve their teaching experience.

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