The following bullet points provide effective strategies to help your learner's reach their learning goals.
Framing the Lesson: make sure to start the lesson with the objectives for the day. Let the learners know where you’re headed.
Returning to Objectives: Throughout the lesson pause periodically to make learners aware of where they are in the process of learning. “Here’s what we’ve done, here’s what we still need.”
Closure: At the end of the lesson, remind learners of the objectives and do a quick check to see if they’ve got it or not. Teachers will often give an “exit ticket” which is a short quiz or reflection in which the students demonstrate an understanding of the objective. Use the exit ticket to determine if you can move on the next day or if many of your learners will need more time with this objective.
Differentiation: Everybody learns differently. Do not just stick to one style of instruction. Vary your instruction regularly. It used to be believed that there were different styles of learning (Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, Kinesthetic). Current research suggests that nobody is distinctly one style, rather the best way to learn is to have access to all styles.
Learning Styles Debunked: There is No Evidence Supporting Auditory and Visual Learning, Psychologists Say
This means that you should include classroom discussions, physical movement when possible, engage their auditory skills and provide visuals. Allow learners to demonstrate their understanding in different ways. In other words, don’t just require tests. Allow oral tests, projects or performances as alternatives. For a great resource on differentiation, check out Jennifer Gonzalez’ “Starter Kit” on her website:
A Starter Kit for Differentiated Instruction
- Incorporate “Doing”: learners learn best when they actually physically do something. Avoid lecturing when possible and instead allow learners to get their hands dirty and experiment. The learning will be deeper and they’ll be more engaged. There’s a great podcast about this here. A major movement in education that is inspired by this philosophy is the “maker movement”. “Making” is the modern-day version of learning a trade. It allows learners to use skills in a context that makes them real. Fifty years ago learners would learn a trade that they could master and execute for life. Today’s learners will need to have a wide variety of skills that they can apply in the rapidly changing contexts of our evolving world. For more on the Maker Movement check out Vicki Davis’ edutopia article:
How the Maker Movement Is Moving Into Classrooms
- Grappling: It is important to give your learners the opportunity to grapple, do not just spoon-feed the content to them. For a great article on the importance of grappling and how to create a culture of grappling check this out:
Creating a Culture of Grappling: Building Perseverance and Emotional Stamina in All Students
- Tap in to Recall: According to brain science, every time we try to recall a fact or piece of knowledge, drawing it out of our long term memory, we strengthen that neural pathway and make it easier to remember the next time. This helps learning “stick”. For a great video on this concept look here: