Who is a teacher? Can anyone become a teacher? Or is there a league of chosen ones who are deemed fit for this role? The Wikipedia definition of a teacher is, “A teacher, also called a schoolteacher or formally an educator, is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence, or virtue, via the practice of teaching”.
Hence, anyone who contributes to the learning process with their own knowledge is a teacher. We learn from everyone and everything every day. However, a teacher is officially meant to refer to someone who trains an audience of learners in an educational institution.
A teacher explains all the things they know. They follow it with instructions to make students understand the content and also follow the principles of the universal design for learning. And to do so, they make use of instructional strategies.
Instructional Strategies are mediums used by educators for conveying lessons to their pupils. These techniques aim at intriguing students and encourage their active participation in the learning process. An instructional strategy is considered efficient and successful only when its students are able to practically apply and enrich their knowledge base as and when needed.
Let us learn more about these techniques with the help of some examples of instructional strategies. In this post, we have gathered information about the various strategies that are popular, along with the high-yield instructional strategies.
Only an enthusiastic learner can become a great teacher. A teacher should never shy away or take a break from learning. The more a mentor learns, the better a guide they become for their students.
There is a plethora of instructional strategies examples out there, and no teacher can know them all. The best they could do is constantly explore and adopt fresh high-yield instructional strategies for teaching. Let us begin by knowing more about them.
What are Instructional Strategies?
Instructional strategies can be regarded as the toolkit a teacher needs to, in a way, transfer their knowledge to their targeted learning audience. They can simply be understood as strategies to give instructions. All students are capable of achieving their learning goals. It is the teacher who assists them in the process.
The fulfillment of the curricula depends upon the teacher and the teaching methods. And these techniques of imparting skills are collectively called instructional teaching strategies.
Before embracing any instructional strategy, the teacher needs to be well-informed about the curriculum, the existing knowledge domain of the students, their sphere of interest, learning styles, and age groups. Classroom instructional strategies are chosen based on the information regarding the previously mentioned factors.
To understand more about the intricacies of instructional strategies, let us dig in to explore the concept.
History and Origin of Instructional Teaching Strategies
American educational psychologist, Robert Mills Gagné, discovered and instigated what he called the ‘science of instruction’. His work, Gagné assumption, has been cited in instructional strategies since the beginning of the 1960s. Gagné classified learning into 3 distinct domains and 9 different steps.
We will now elaborate on the domain-based classification of learning along with 9 learning events and understand the perspective of Robert Mills Gagné.
The Three-Tier Domain-Based Classification of Learning
Gagné observed the behavioral and cognitive patterns of individuals in the military during the Second World War. This later became the basis of his theories. In his book, Conditions of Learning (1965), he postulated the various types of learning and how these require distinct instructional strategies.
He proposed 3 domains of learning:
- Cognitive Domain: The instructional strategies used in this domain teach a student how to adopt, create, and originate.
- Affective Domain: This sector of learning influences attitudes by letting the student pick out options in terms of choose, prefer, elect, and favor.
- Psychomotor Domain: Students are now motivated to turn their knowledge into action with types of instructional strategies like, execute, perform, and carry out.
The 9 Learning Events
Gagné demonstrated that the process of learning actually occurs in the form of 9 distinct events. The series of events has to follow the exact same order as proposed, and no stage can be skipped. The stages can be started only after the completion of the previous stage.
- Gain Attention: Presenting knowledge in a way that compels the student to pay attention. Teachers need to come up with ways to make learning fun and thus evoke the interest of the students.
- Informing Learners of Objectives: The educator has to communicate the motive behind the lesson. When students understand the purpose of the learning process and how the knowledge will benefit them, it inspires them to learn.
- Stimulating Recall of Prior Knowledge: Tapping into their existing knowledge pool helps the students connect and gain new information.
- Presenting the Stimulus: The educator has to demonstrate the lesson with special emphasis on some specific areas.
- Providing Learning Guidance: The teacher assists the students in their learning journey through various plans and guides that organize the lesson in relevant sections.
- Eliciting Performance: Now, students need to be asked to illustrate their knowledge about the lesson(s). This lets the educator know about the students’ learning curves and the areas they lag in.
- Providing Feedback: After reviewing the learner’s progress, the educator must offer insightful feedback.
- Assessing Performance: Assessment is based on the student’s performance.
- Enhancing Retention and Transfer: The educator now has to introduce a different set of practice exercises for the students to test their comprehension.
The instructional strategies try to follow these 9 steps. The Gagné instructional strategy also follows certain rules to analyze the impact of the lesson. At the end of a lesson, an evaluation of its instructional strategy is done to determine whether the objective of learning is achieved, if the approach is better than the traditional one, and what the overall effect of the program is.
There are various high-yield instructional strategies for teachers to choose from. Each of them comes with a unique set of perks. We will now get to know more about instructional strategies examples.
Examples of Instructional Strategies
High-yield Instructional strategies are always student-centric. The teacher must get to know their students better before adopting any instructional strategy. We are now presenting a range of popular instructional strategies examples. Go through the list and choose whichever best meets your needs.
Direct or Explicit Instruction
The name implies the technique. In this instructional strategy, the educator explains everything in detail without leaving any room for questions or doubts.
Information is presented with guidance for developing skills, bit by bit. The teacher exemplifies whatever facts or theories they are presenting, thus offering an exact picture of the knowledge. The direct or explicit instructional strategy includes explicit lectures and examples, didactic questioning, and practice.
This is one of those instructional strategies examples that teach the values like teamwork and healthy peer discussion along with the curriculum. Interactive instruction means imparting knowledge through conversations and sharing. There are many courses of action for implementing this classroom instructional strategy.
Class discussions, group projects or debates, and pairing students to complete assignments is how this instructional strategy is implemented. Students learn social skills, the art of argumentation and debate, and how to have a clear mindset.
Experiential or Hands-On Learning
The activity-oriented instructional strategy. This technique is learner-centric, meaning the student has to self-reflect on what they learned and deduce results from their observations.
Hands-On learning methods encourage students to experiment with the theories and observe actual results. This is a practical manner of learning where knowledge is put to use. Someone has rightly said, “Hands-on means mind’s on”.
This form of instructional strategy is based on the belief that students learn in many different ways. And they learn best in their preferred learning style. The traditional classroom setup assumes that all students can be taught in the same way, and if they find it difficult to learn, the fault is solely theirs.
However, in 1983 Howard Gardner came up with the theory of ‘differentiated intelligence’, also known as multiple intelligence. Gardner proposed the idea that there are 8 different ways individuals process data: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.
The developmental psychologist added two more to the list, namely existential and moral, in 2009. This revolutionized the pedagogy world and inspired educators to teach the way students learn rather than forcing them to follow a uniform learning style.
Multiple intelligences also prompted the acknowledgment of every learning style.
A fantastic and systematic way of note-taking. Many pieces of research have shown that writing by hand is a more useful way of learning than typing.
This is because writing engages many portions of our brain and thus helps us remember better. We have many stimuli for recalling stuff we write– the hand movements, the visual picture of the words, the paper, the ink, etc.
The Cornell method seeks the perks of handwritten notes, and we get this extensive note-taking method. There are 5 steps to the Cornell note-taking method, which are called the 5 R’s of note-taking:
- Record: Write down everything the teacher is reciting.
- Reduce: Minimize the sentences into small clues or keywords.
- Recite/Recap: Pen down a recap of what you have studied.
- Reflect: Test yourself on how much of the information you have retained.
- Rehearse: Re-read and practice the notes frequently to retain them.
This instructional strategy is implemented by dividing a sheet of paper into three columns called the ‘note area, cue column, and summaries’. We “record” in the ‘note area’, enter the “reduced” points in the ‘cue column’, scribble the “recap” of the lesson under ‘summaries’, and “reflect” and “rehearse” using the ‘summaries’ section.
Independent study or independent learning is an instructional strategy where a learner learns without needing any expert guidance or supervision.
This instructional strategy encourages self-reliance and self-improvement among students. Alongside this, the student becomes confident enough to take the initiative, thus evolving organizational and time management skills.
Differentiated instruction means using various kinds of distinct learning tools, study materials, and mentoring methods for teaching the students.
American educator, Carol Ann Tomlinson, has made significant contributions in the field of differentiated instruction. She says that “ensuring that what a student learns, how he or she learns it, and how the student demonstrates what he or she has learned is a match for that student’s readiness level, interests, and preferred mode of learning”.
The teacher begins with a lesson plan with something for every learning style. And when the students have their pick, it also lets the teacher know their preferred learning style.
Differentiated classrooms generally make use of choice boards, a graphic organizing tool with a variety of activities related to the lesson. Students get to indulge in learning activities they know they would enjoy, along with discovering, and maybe liking, other learning styles too.
Inquiry-based or Discovery Learning
Ask to know. The inquiry-based instructional strategy prompts the student to ask questions about any topic as per their understanding. This implicit method of learning enhances the thinking skills of the learner and also reveals potential doubts to the teacher.
After asking the questions, the students are then encouraged to involve themselves in research activities to ‘discover’ the answers to their queries through practical experiences. They follow the 5 Es of the instructional model:
This instructional strategy begins outside the classroom. The students acquire insight about the lesson, probably at home, through reading the notes and related videos.
Now, when they interact with the same information in class, it becomes easier for them to understand as they are already familiar with some of the concepts.
Additionally, they gain newer perspectives on the concepts and build new knowledge quickly.
An instructional strategy in which even the students teach. Cooperative learning or cooperative classroom instructional strategy takes into account not only the instructions of the teachers but also benefits from the discussions with the peers.
Each student is asked to voice their understanding and insights about the lesson while the others listen and reflect on their thoughts. This instructional teaching strategy develops social skills which have lifelong behavioral impacts.
When both offline and online resources are used together, we get the blended learning or blended instructional strategy.
The students are provided with both digital content like lesson videos and the obvious classroom discussion. They can either have an in-person session with their teacher and then proceed with the digital content to have a better understanding or have a personal insight about the lesson first with the lecture videos.
The De Bono Method
De Bono’s 6 thinking hats have given a fresh new turn to the process of problem-solving a long time ago. It is a parallel thinking process that amplifies productivity. The 6 hats have 6 different colors, and each hat signifies a different element of the event. This way, you can take up any role you want as per the call of the situation, and your mind is instructed to think that way.
The six thinking hats are:
- White Hat– For the facts.
- Yellow Hat– Optimism and concentrating on the positives only.
- Black Hat– The risk management hat.
- Red Hat– The emotional hat. The wearer of the hat empathizes with feelings and takes account of likes, dislikes, fears, etc.
- Green Hat– The color of productivity and hope. It signifies and concentrates on all the possibilities, new concepts, and fresh perspectives.
- Blue Hat– The thinking hat. This one manages that all the other “hat” responsibilities are running smoothly.
Role Playing Instructional Strategy
Enacting a lesson further elaborates the sequence of events. In the role-playing instructional strategy, any event in the lesson is demonstrated by acting it out.
The written text and theories are given the touch of reality by setting up a scene as if the event is taking place just now. The students get a real-life experience as they are made part of the event.
Desmond Tutu said, “There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time”. This means that the most difficult and overwhelming tasks become easier if they are broken down into tangible portions and completed gradually.
Teachers also must divide the lesson into smaller sequential sections called “chunks” and teach these sections one by one in the correct order. This will help in avoiding cognitive burdens for the students.
Cloze Test-Based Learning
This can also be called the “fill in the blanks” method. The teacher presents the information to the class just as they studied it. However, there is a twist. Certain bits of information are intentionally omitted, and the students are expected to fill in the answers.
The fishbowl approach involves both discussion and observation. The classroom is divided into two groups: the inner circle and the outer circle.
The inner circle sits in the middle of the class and holds debates and discussions regarding the topic taught. Meanwhile, the outer circle, which is the observational group, intently listens to them and takes notes.
After a certain period of time, the roles are reversed. This provides a two-way perspective on the concept and promotes better understanding.
Questioning something offers greater comprehension of the concept. To thoroughly explore any theory, we need to put forth as many queries as possible. The same goes for learning.
After getting familiar with the topic, the student must ask ‘Why’. For every case included in the topic, ask 1 ‘why’. After the 5th ‘why’, the answer and the discussion must take a different turn. Now the bigger question should be ‘Why are these doubts arising?’.
Studying through games. Sounds fun, right? This is a simple concept of blending facts with fun. There are various games that can aid in the student’s learning process. This sort of kinesthetic learning approach engages students and also maintains their interest. It can also cultivate many values like teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership, and self-belief.
For instance, playing Scrabble or Spell Bee can help in strengthening the vocabulary of the students. Or involving Trivia content will enrich their knowledge base in an exciting manner.
This instructional teaching strategy involves an educator explaining and illustrating every task at hand. Students learn from the first-hand examples showcased by the teacher, reducing potential mistakes and, sometimes, hazards. It is also regarded as a part of direct Instructions, as it is interactive instructions from your mentor.
The educator would exhibit planned errors and wait for the students to detect them. These sorts of intentional mistakes encourage the students to be more attentive toward the lesson and also feel confident about their knowledge as they are able to spot their teacher’s errors.
Learning only what you need. This one from the House of instructional teaching strategies edifies you about the task at hand only. For instance, you will learn about computers only at the moment of need. This sort of practical teaching helps retain information for much longer.
When learning is open to discussion, it makes the students confident and prompts their involvement. In the case of open-ended questioning, the teacher asks for a detailed and explicit answer to several questions. The students have to give an all-inclusive, point-by-point answer to the questions.
Students are encouraged to do better with rewards. There should be complimentary gifts associated with each level of achievement, which will motivate them to work harder and smarter.
Students are assigned projects related to the concepts they are learning. They can be asked to design a 3D or working model of some theory, or they could also direct a play about a particular event, etc.
This way, the students have to research and indulge in the topic from a different perspective and gain a deeper understanding of the concept. This also encourages cooperation among peers, as more than one student might be involved in one project.
Just like the name suggests, it’s like a bulletin board of keywords. This interactive tool is built by writing down all the important or difficult words on a board, which is then displayed on the classroom wall. The students regularly make use of the word wall by reading and practicing the words written there.
The goal of this instructional teaching strategy is to build new information while strengthening the existing knowledge base.
The teacher reads the lesson aloud to the class and the students listen to it. This process of recitation and dictation is good as an instructional strategy, as students go through the content as a group and can have the same mental imagery of the theories.
This way all of them can be on the same page. Also, when the teacher is reading it out to the students, they can pinpoint the important part or keywords to them.
The most common of all instructional strategies. Rote learning can simply be regarded as learning through memorization. The students are provided with all the information by the teachers in the form of notes. Now all the students have to do is memorize the concepts.
All facts, theories, and every bit of data is memorized and retained by the students. This instructional strategy is the best fit for many concepts like learning multiplication tables, formulas, etc. In this case, memorization is a much better option, as calculating may take up a lot of time.
Instructional scaffolding aims to solve all learning problems with personalized guidance. The instructor or mentor helps each student during every step of learning in their preferred learning style till the learner is self-sufficient.
There are 3 major steps in instructional scaffolding: communication between the learner and the expert, the balance between what learners can and cannot do on their own, and the gradual withdrawal of support.
This gives students the freedom of learning the concept the way they want. Every student is given individual time to interact with the concept. They are offered the liberty of learning the lesson and taking their own sweet time for the riot. This is beneficial as students are not pressurized to catch up with others and gradually take their time to understand the topic properly.
This can be regarded as a sort of cooperative instructional strategy. Firstly, students are left to study and understand the assigned concept on their own. After they have a mental map of the topic, two students pair up for a discussion. This is followed by 2 pairs coming together to form a group of 4, then subsequent grouping results in a group of 8.
Just as the name suggests, this instructional teaching strategy has everything to do with revisiting concepts already learned. A teacher refers to a previous topic while teaching a new one. Hence, the topics get interlinked. This is helpful as new knowledge is learned by recalling the existing knowledge base and the known concepts also get brushed up, ensuring their better retention.
Teaching to Mastery
The teacher breaks down a lesson into several small subtopics. Now each portion is studied individually till it is comprehended entirely. The notion is to “master” one portion before moving on to the next.
Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down
This method can be regarded as a short review to connect with the student. The teacher explains the concept and asks for student feedback in the form of thumbs up and thumbs down. Clarity of the concept is indicated with a thumbs up 👍 and the ones who are not clear with the theories show a thumbs down 👎.
We can all agree that we understand best with examples. In the same way, when students are provided with examples of performance, it helps them understand what target they have to achieve.
If they are presented with essays with the respective grade achieved, they understand the difference in the quality of the content right away.
These were a few picks from the long line of instructional teaching strategies. There are surely many more, and even more, are being discovered with time. These effective examples of instructional strategies not only aid in the current learning process of the students, they even help develop a lifelong desire for learning.
The instructional strategies eventually become learning strategies when the learner can choose one on their own. The full range of benefits offered by various instructional teaching strategies is discussed in the next section.
What Makes These Instructional Strategies Beneficial?
The types of instructional strategies discussed in the previous section help diversify your teaching methods. A teacher must constantly be on the lookout for improving their mentoring techniques. A ‘classroom action research’ is inevitable as it reveals the needs of a classroom and also highlights where there is room for improvement.
Whichever classroom instructional strategies are used by educators, the ultimate goal is upscaling the learning process. Instructional teaching strategies aim to mold the teaching system in a way to help all students achieve their learning goals using their preferred learning style.
So how else do these instructional strategies assist in the betterment of the educational system? Take a look.
- The right instructional strategies motivate students as they are able to capture student attention.
- When students actively take part in the learning process, they understand better, retain the details for much longer, and become better acquainted with the subject.
- Learner-centric instructional strategies take care of all learning styles. This means ‘say no to following the herd’. Every student can study as per their learning pace, and style. Learning becomes fun and relaxing, and everyone feels included.
- Classroom instructional strategies connect new knowledge with existing knowledge by recalling known facts during a new lesson. This paves the way for meaningful learning. The students become capable of utilizing what they learn in their daily life or in various situations.
- Effective instructional teaching strategies strengthen the cognitive abilities of the students. They enhance critical thinking and problem-solving capacity, give a boost to creativity, and transform learners into confident decision-makers. These 21st-century skills make the students job-ready.
- When educators introduce interactive instructional strategies for teaching, they also promote values like harmony and collaboration. When students learn to work in groups from a young age, it teaches them social skills like how to get along with others, how to take responsibility for the assigned task, and how to calmly settle matters of disagreement.
- Instructional strategies like self-paced learning also make students self-reliant. They select their course type and length, which makes them responsible for their learning. This contributes to self-discipline, time management, and overall personal growth.
- Employing more than one instructional strategy helps the teacher evaluate student performance against various factors. This provides an all-around assessment of the students, and the teacher is able to offer better and more extensive feedback.
- When educators thoroughly understand the notion of instructional strategies, they are able to better connect to the learning necessities of their pupils. Teachers who have schooled themselves about these strategies stay ahead in their mentoring game by revamping their teaching style as per their students’ developing needs.
Educators who think about the multifaceted progress of their students must have access to some tools that can aid their instructional strategy. Let us enlighten you about this domain.
Tools for Instructional Strategies For Teachers
Individuals who learn and grow constantly will never be outdated. This is one of the goals of instructional strategies. The techniques lead the students to evolve at the pace of the world.
Incorporating instructional strategies in the training process can be facilitated with some tools. These help in understanding both the student requirement and subsequent strategy and effectively utilizing it.
- Tool #1: Make use of technology and go for “E-learning tools”. There are many mobile applications and websites that can prove to be excellent guides for anyone trying to level up their instructional teaching strategy. These sources are developed by experts and many of them offer active platforms for your queries.
- Tool #2: If you are someone who wants to design their own course as per their classroom action research, you can find “digital course builders” to be pretty handy. These online organizing tools can save you the trouble of creating everything from scratch. Just pick the format you like and fill up your content.
- Tool #3: When the pandemic hit the globe, it put a stop to many things. But thanks to “virtual communication tools”, businesses could run and conversation could flow even without physical meet-ups. Applications like Zoom and Google Meet make interactions possible even when the participants are oceans apart. These sorts of tools must find their place in your instructional strategy kit.
- Tool #4: When it becomes cumbersome to keep track of your learning curve, it is better to turn to “digital planners”. These planners decide your learning goals and subsequent high scores for you to achieve. Also, they provide a personalized experience by analyzing your learning style and thus the process keeps you motivated.
Together with these tools, it becomes easier to implement the instructional strategy of your choice and carry it out effectively.
To Sum It Up
From gaining the learner’s attention to offering efficient edification, instructional strategies work out all kinds of learning troubles. The ultimate goal of all types of instructional strategies is to present the learner with the necessary conditions for learning.
There are 3 main methods of teaching: lecturing, demonstrating, and collaborating. Each instructional strategy, somehow, follows these methods and thereby merges both the traditional and newer teaching techniques in a convenient manner.
CLAC SLOs, An evidence-based strategy, Student Learning Objective, Instructional Strategies List
, Community Training and Assistance Center and Washoe County School District, 2015.