We have made it to another year, and it is now time to return to the world of learning objectives, grading papers, and lesson planning. Throughout the challenges the world of education has overcome in the last couple of years, you have made the conscious decision to continue your career to impact student lives, and we all know now more than ever that being a teacher is not for the faint of heart. As a teacher, you push past it all and begin the magic of designing differentiated, rigorous, and power-packed lesson plans that access and activates student potential. Let's face it. You deserve a round of applause! It is a fact that if you are still dominating in the virtual or in-person classroom, you are here for the long haul and are determined to make an impact on the little lives in your classroom using effective and purposeful instructional strategies.
What are Instructional Strategies?
The approaches that educators take to engage their students in instruction are called instructional strategies. These strategies guide teacher instruction, create learning objectives, and arm students with what they need to increase their academic achievement. This blog is meant to inform you of 5 instructional strategies that have proven to make the impact most teachers intend to have on their students by creating powerful lessons that work toward student achievement. The most effective instructional strategies cater to the learning styles and developmental needs of every student in the classroom. For this reason, teachers’ instructional strategies are an essential aspect of high student achievement. A great balance of instructional strategies has been known to leave students engaged with the learning material, increased student learning experience, and often looking for more outside of the classroom setting. Instructional strategies often vary with the students in the classroom and the content being taught. Educators who use the following instructional strategies allow students to connect meaningful concepts learned in class and real-life situations. After reviewing a list of instructional strategies used by teachers, the five most common strategies that can be used effectively at all levels and subject areas with a wide range of learning styles are:
- Essential Question: Teachers must be intentional about the outcomes or expectations they have for their students. The goal is to achieve this at the highest level of learning. Students' ability to analyze and apply with an extended response reflects a complex understanding is how success is determined. Aim to access multiple skills and abilities that align with the lesson objective.
- Activating Strategy: Get the students thinking! Initiate discussions that help students to activate prior knowledge of the material. Here, you would also be able to gauge student gaps in knowledge and the things that they already know. Link the lesson to the prior knowledge and help students understand how their interests can create opportunities to learn new and meaningful information!
- Relevant Vocabulary: Using the most effective and appropriate vocabulary for the students and the material is critical during instruction. Limited and meaningful vocabulary can help students interactively utilize and be comfortable with the vocabulary and learn new ways to use words correctly. Using personal experience to unlock vocabulary and using a graphic organizer to connect with those personal experiences can equip students with a lifetime of resources.
- Limited Lecture: Include more activities and less lecture time! After 12-15 minutes of lecture, students should have the opportunity to apply their knowledge by having group discussions, reflect on their learning, complete an example problem, or answer a question. Excessive lecture time decreases the odds of an engaged classroom. Be sure to activate students' learning by putting the lesson in action. Students often learn best through a combination of limited lecture and application.
- Student-Centered: As teachers, we must ensure that our efforts are centered on student academic success. Adopting a student-centered approach implies that you are creating an environment that invigorates the little minds of your students. This includes using technology and providing your students a relevant method of learning that helps them access and attain valuable skills to their fullest potential.
Teachers are not just here to push knowledge onto students. You are creating an experience that is purposeful, specific, and impactful to your students. Mastering instructional strategies that unlock student potential is not a simple feat. However, you have bravely taken it on. One step at a time, you make an effort to give the upcoming generations what they need to be equipped to deal with the outside world. Just remember that the moment your students step into your classroom, they are entering a world that you created of learning and application with the instructional strategies that you choose. Be sure to choose wisely and make it your intention to make an impact on your students.
Let us know if you are already implementing some of these strategies and have more suggestions that would be useful for educators still struggling with ways to adjust! If you found this information interesting or useful, let us know by submitting your feedback! We would love to hear what you have to say about the topics we share and what you would like to hear more about. As we grow, be sure to like and share us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so that we can expand our reach and move closer to our mission of equipping educators everywhere!