A famous American educator, Henry Adams once said that the “teacher’s influence never stops, it affects eternity.” Perhaps, this is the reason why the search for the best methods of teaching is continuous for those teachers who would like their classroom environment to be very lively, dynamic, conducive to learning, and influential. Since these teachers are highly interested in not only what their learners do in the classroom but also in how well and why they do it, then they always like to be updated with newer trends and methodologies of teaching.
This article examines various methods of teaching which are lifted from various education books, journals and proceedings of seminar-workshops that the writer had attended either locally or internationally, and from his teaching experiences in over two decades. One must not lose sight of the fact that there is no known best method as it is at the teacher’s disposal to blend all teaching approaches and methodologies which he knows to be most appropriate for his lesson of the day.
Table of Contents
The Methods of Classroom Teaching
Based on the writer’s readings and experiences, teaching methods can be grouped into ten, namely (1) Presentation, (2) Demonstration, (3) Reading, (4) Drama, (5) Discussion, (6) Cases, (7) Graphics, (8) Playlikes, (9) Gaming, and (10) Learner’s Directed Inquiry.
I. Presentation Methods
These methods of teaching under this group essentially aim to provide information to classroom teachers. They merely provide content background for a given subject matter. If the teacher does not know how to handle these methods because of inexperience and lack of genuine interest in making his classroom highly interactive, he may put his learners into a sleepy or disinterested mood. Examples of presentations are:
- Lecture – It is a prepared verbal exposition by a teacher before his students. It is commonly used by social science teachers. To overcome the sleepy mood of learners, the teacher must always appear dynamic and interesting in his approach.
- Lecturette – As the term implies, it refers to a short lecture. Although a few learners may be put to sleep, the teacher here requires more discipline in handling this method. He should be systematically prepared in his presentation of lessons.
- Lecture-Forum – This is a method where a lecture is given first and then is followed by a question-and-answer session. The teacher should be skillful in acting as a moderator for all questions propounded by his learners. It is usually used in big lecture classes ranging from 100 to 200 students.
- Panel – This is a planned conversation before a class on a selected topic. Classes in public speaking and argumentation and debate use this method. It comprises three or more panelists and a leader. Here, the panel leader should be diplomatic in his approach in order to generate better interactions with his fellow classroom learners.
- Panel-Forum – This is actually a panel method followed by a question-and-answer session chaired by a designated leader. The teacher should have skill in generating interactions with his students.
- Expanding Panel – This is a panel with a vacant chair(s). Any member of the class can be a member of the panel when he feels the call and then vacates the chair after he has given his idea on the pre-selected topic for discussion. The teacher here must have a solid set of ground rules so that the flow of presentation of ideas is clear to all members of the class.
Other presentation methods of teaching include the following:
- Debate – This is an organized argument having two teams arguing for a given issue: affirmative and negative.
- Film method – It is used for getting content information and for entertainment.
- Slide shows – It is a presentation of lessons in photo slides.
- Prepared videotapes – It presents lessons on videotapes prepared earlier by the teacher.
- Presentation with listening teams – The class is divided into groups and each group is given a listening task, that is, listening for points that are debatable. At the end of the presentation, the group members develop questions relating to their assigned task.
- Presentation with reaction panel – After every presentation of a lesson, there is assigned reacting panel that represents the whole class. The method is most effective in social science classes.
II. Demonstration Methods
These methods are means for modeling the right techniques or procedures, and are used for skills learning. Learners may or may not be actively participating in classroom sessions. The teaching methods in this group are:
- Demonstration with practice – It is a demonstration followed by a participating of all members of the class.
- Dry run – This refers to a sketchy practice in a planned activity or show. If planned properly by the teacher, this method invites the interest of all class members.
- Coaching – This provides tips for improving performance in classes.
- Rehearsals – This is a method in which the students are allowed to practice their way of answering before actual performance. It motivates learners to perform well as they are allowed to practice before they are graded or evaluated in their actual performance.
- Drills – This is a skills practice method of learning which involves a series of repetitions to the point of mastery.
- Puzzle – It is an interesting variation in which the skill is not demonstrated but is rather presented in a form of question or problem designed for testing ingenuity.
- Skills practice laboratory – This can be combined with other methods mentioned earlier.
III. Reading Methods
Teachers should show that these methods are vehicles for getting information. When learners lack adequate background knowledge on the subject matter to be discussed in the class, they should be assigned to read the references first and can even critique the reading materials, if necessary. The moment the lesson will be taken up in the class, all of them are ready to participate in the discussion. Examples of reading methods would include:
- Individual Reading
- Read and Discuss
- Read and Report
- Reading Aloud
IV. Drama Methods
The methods in this group present information that oftentimes can be debated by members of the class. These are best fitted for knowledge learning and may serve as a tool of stimulating reactions from class learners through involving them in a drama or actual happening of events. Examples of drama methods are:
- Skit – This is a short rehearsed portrayal that gives a message.
- Pantomine – It is a short non-verbal portrayal often used in guessing games. Here, all learners in the class can participate if the teacher assigns them to do the act and keep their mouth shut while doing the activity.
- Guerrilla theater – The class members use a script that describes only basic action and they ad-lib the rest. This is a very interesting method of teaching if the teacher is well-prepared to use it in his class. The writer had tried this in his speech improvement class and the learners participated enthusiastically, although they were quite nervous at the very beginning of the session.
IV. Discussion Methods
The writer found these methods best for initiating oral communication from students. These methods provide the learners an opportunity to manipulate information for discussion purposes. It some cases, they are also means for attitude learning. The methods included here are:
- Group Discussion – It is an open discussion of a given topic by a small group of 3 to 5. A leader is appointed to have control of the off-tangent discussions.
- Group buzz – This is a short discussion of a given topic; it sets time limits, and no leader is assigned to facilitate the discussion.
- Brainstorming – It is a method of problem solving in which class members suggest in rapid fire order, all the possible solutions they can think of. This method encourages every learner to participate actively in the ensuing class discussion.
- Diagnostic session – Groups are formed by the teacher to diagnose a given problem. This generates interactions from all members of the class.
VI. Case Methods
The methods of teaching in this category provide simulated solutions drawn from real life, thus providing the class members an opportunity to apply previously learned knowledge. The writer found these methods to be effective in psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics classes in which the learners become highly interactive. Examples of these methods are:
- Case study – An account of a problem situation is provided to the class, and classroom learners may have an opportunity to analyze the problem involved. In the process, all learners are dragged into the discussion as the case is a slice of life that encourages diagnoses, prescription, and possible treatment of problems. The teacher should exercise good control to avoid off-tangent discussions.
- Mini-case study – A mini-case is read aloud by a member of the class. The problem is discussed and conclusions are stated. This is done by subgroups created by the teacher.
- Critical incident method – This method touches only a small piece of a case and states only the most important transaction. It can be the basis of classroom discussion.
- In-basket – This is a form of a case study in which letters, memos, and messages are given to the selected class members playing assigned roles. They will write their actual responses to the items found in their basket for their appropriate action. This method is good for teaching writing and developing analytical skills.
VII. Graphic Methods
Basically, the methods of teaching under this category are used by classroom teachers for warming up and developing the spirit of togetherness among members of the class. The teacher utilizing these methods should explain clearly the activities to be done as these methods require a good deal of the learners’ self-direction in order to accomplish the expected output after a given class session. Included in this group of teaching methods are:
- Doodling – This is a method resorted to by classroom teachers when they observe their learners to be bored especially in values education, social studies or engineering laboratory classes. The learners are instructed to do aimless scribbling, writing, designing or sketching.
- Portrait – This method of teaching is a means of provoking thoughts. The learners are asked to draw their ideas on a topic currently being discussed in the classroom. They may be required to draw a picture of their family, their friends, their organizations and others. More over, to know more about their classmates, they also are required to do rough drawings on the way their classmates are doing or behaving when they are in the classroom. The teacher should avoid making evaluation or critiquing the work of his learners for they might not do what they are expected to do.
- Group painting – This is a method which develops camaraderie among class members. Evert member of the group smears finger paint on the paper or canvas. The apparent output of this method is that everybody has participated in the group painting activity. This is usually used in humanities classes.
- Group collage – This is a method of teaching almost similar to the group painting method. The learners use paste and magazine cutouts, instead of paint. It creates fun and enjoyment among learners.
VIII. Playlike Methods
The methods in this group will develop the oral communication skills and analytic minds of learners as they play-act the behavior of the characters they are to portray. Examples of this category are:
- Role play – This method is an unrehearsed, dramatic enactment of a response to a situation or human encounter involving one or more persons in “playing-like” mood.
- Mini-role play – This is similar to role play, except that this is a shorter activity.
- Play yourself – This method involves acting out a fictitious person, thus the learner plays himself in a make-believe situation but preferably close to a real-life situation.
- Role reversal – This method develops oral competence and closeness among members of the class. In a play-like situation, one learner acts out the way he sees the characteristics of his fellow learners and vice-versa.
- Mirroring – In this method, while two or more learners engage in a role play, other learners may simultaneously enter in by moving beside the players and translating what they say into what they mean. This method develops trusting or friendly attitude among class members.
- Movie – This method entails a number of learners, that is, one acts as a director, others may assume the role of an actor or an actress, the villain, or still others, the role of supporting actors and actresses. This method develops a learner who acts as movie director to be orally competent in the use of language.
IX. Gaming Methods
The teaching methods under this group are primarily designed to involve learners in all classroom activities. No learner is left behind in his seat; hence, the class using these methods is highly interactive in both written and oral activities. War games, business games, and simulation games are examples of these methods.
The teacher should explain procedure of the game so that the expected output is achieved. For instance, in the war games method, the teacher should identify the characters, such as the leader of the army squad and the members, and the group mission to accomplish. He may provide introductory dialogues of the war games to guide the learners on the activity to be undertaken.
X. Learner’s Directed Inquiry Method
The essential purpose of these methods is to involve completely the learns in their own learning process. These will develop the learner’s ability to be analytical and independent or self-reliant. Two good examples of these methods are:
Mutual inquiry – In this method, the class is divided into two (2) or three (3) groups. There is no assigned leader for each group. The teacher assigns them activities to be done or plans a series of learning activities for them to execute or carry out according to their own way of learning. Expected outputs are submitted to the teacher on the agreed time and date.
Learning-teaching – This method follows almost the same procedures of the mutual inquiry. What is added is that the group members should be teaching one another based on the readings and individual activities they have independently undertaken.
The teacher is considered the best actor in the classroom. He fully understands what it means to teach. He knows and always remembers that there are four faces of the teaching-learning process, namely: “what to teach?” “why teach it?” “whom do we teach?” and “how?”. One quick answer to the aforesaid questions is only the teacher’s grasp of various methods of teaching. If he is creative and resourceful enough to blend the methods of teaching at his fingertips before his eager and knowledge-thirsty learners, then he can obtain considerable success in his teaching.
The listing of methods in this article is far from complete. Any classroom teacher who is more than willing to discover and experiment in his class with other methods of teaching can add to the current list to be shared with his fellow teachers.
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Learning Concepts Inc.
Gregorio, Herman C. 1967.
Principles and Methods of Teaching. Quezon City:
R.P. Garcia Publishing
Photo Courtesy: Roselyn Lanuzo / DAZSMA Antipolo City