A Cake Recipe for Success
Mrs. Blessy Varghese
Assistant Professor, Child Health Nursing, MGM Muthoot College of Nursing, Kozhencherry
Effective teaching strategies are one of the cornerstones of classroom success. Effective teaching is a complex mix of the teacher performing the role of what Hattie calls the 'activator', taking direct charge of lessons and leading the learning, being the 'sage on the stage', and sometimes performing the role of 'facilitator', setting the scene and handing the reins to the students, being 'the guide at the side.' 1
But no matter what methods and techniques are used up, effective teaching techniques all have the same 'ingredients' in common.
“TEACHING IS LIKE BAKING A CAKE”
ü All teaching involves a partnership between teacher and student. The teacher can't do it without the students and its best if teachers think of doing it with the students rather than doing it to them.
ü Once the partnership is established, all effective teaching has a clear purpose - everyone needs to know what teaching this information aims to achieve.
ü The process is the means by which teachers enable students to learn and the product is the final outcome of the teaching and learning process. 1
The next level of the effective teaching strategies 'cake' is made up of 5 more 'Ps':
ü Effective teachers prepare their students at the start of every lesson to be in the right frame of mind and ready to learn. They do this by helping students to 'warm up' in the same way that athletes do, except in lessons the warm ups are mental rather than physical - these starter activities also help settle students and give a clear signal the lesson has started.
ü After that the teacher needs to present the information to be learned. There are many effective teaching techniques that can be used to present information: successful teachers build up, over time, a wide repertoire of presentation techniques that take account of different ways to learn, the nature of the learning, and the need to motivate and engage all learners.
ü Next comes the crucial practice phase. Often teachers spend a lot of time presenting, to the detriment of practice. Students need time to assimilate and organize what they experience in the presentation phase, to make mistakes, to make their own sense of it.
ü The logical next step is for students to have the opportunity to perform what they've learned. Performance here means students get the chance to show what they know. These might include: literally performing by using drama techniques to show what they know, producing posters, creating web pages or other ICT -led activities, presentations to other students, short video presentations, formal examination questions... with imagination the list can stretch a long way.
ü Making the learning permanent is crucial. So techniques to help students recall what's been covered in lessons over a period of time are necessary. These are more than just homework assignments or class-based memory tests - a systematic program of revisiting key information by spacing learning over time and getting students actively to recall the learning will help to optimize the learning for students. 1
The next level of the effective teaching strategies 'cake' comprises 4 'Es
ü If the teaching activities don't engage students they won't be successful. Students will accept some dull activities for a while if they can see a greater ultimate value further down the road, but strategies for effective teaching depend on being able to engage students most of the time.
ü We may not often be able to get the pulses of our students racing in lessons, but if we do get the opportunity to spice things up with a dash of real excitement we should take it and use it to best effect.
ü Most people accept that learning can be more effective when it's fun, even though we need to accept the fact that successful learning really depends on thinking hard and working hard. Nevertheless, all teachers know that sometimes learning can get a little 'gritty', and teachers need to make real efforts to enable students to enjoy lessons.
ü An important ingredient is evaluation because you need to to test if what you're doing is successful. Testing here does not necessarily mean academic testing of knowledge, although clearly that is appropriate some of the time. Evaluating also means getting feedback on how students learn as well as what they learn. 1, 2
The next layer comprises the 3 'Cs':
ü Choices based on different learning activities can often make learning much more accessible and represent a 'win win' situation for all learners. Of course, effective teachers know [or learn] how to control choice in the interests of good learning
ü Despite what they sometimes say, most students repond well to being challenged in their learning, but it needs careful handling and is a long term process in developing effective teaching strategies.
ü .Creativity doesn't mean teachers have to be particularly artistic. Effective teachers encourage creative responses to learning. 1,2
ALL THAT REMAINS IS TO PUT THE TOPPING ON OUR EFFECTIVE TEACHING STRATEGIES CAKE
The icing on this particular cake is a liberal sprinkling of the teacher's own....
We are all different and we need to let our students see our personality, in the same way as we need to get to know our students' personalities. We don't have to be their best friends, but we should let them see that we enjoy being in their company, and that we are human beings who empathies with them as 'learning partners'.
And the final touch...
Drizzle some humour over the top of the effective teaching strategies cake. Drizzle it liberally so it permeates all the way through. It will add a light touch to all classroom proceedings, and will be a powerful way to take students with us on the learning journey. Humour should never be at anyone's expense, it should always be respectful. Teachers who learn how to laugh with students are often much more successful than their more strait-laced colleagues.
The best advice about using humour is, start with yourself - when students see you can be good sport and poke gentle fun at yourself, you're on to a winner, provided of course you can serve up all the other ingredients of the effective teaching strategies cake. 1
OUR TEACHING STRATEGIES CAKE IS COMPLETE AND LOOKS LIKE THIS:
Choice Challenge Creativity
Engage Excite Enjoy Evaluate
Prepare Present Practice Perform Permanent
Partnership Purpose Process Product
Received on 28.03.2015 Modified on 16.04.2015
Accepted on 28.04.2015 © A&V Publication all right reserved