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2.3 CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING TEACHING STRATEGY

Several authors have posited criteria for the purpose of selecting appropriate methods in a school situation.

McNeil (1985) argued for philosophical criteria, psychological criteria, technological criteria, criteria from pressure groups and practicality as a criterion in the procedure. for selecting teaching-learning strategies, While these criteria are valuable, some of them lack direct practical application for school curricula.

Zais suggested aims, goals and objectives; foundation commitments; content; and students’ experience as appropriate criteria.

Brady (1992), however, argues for the selection criteria to include variety, scope, validity, appropriateness and relevance as means by which to judge learning activities.

The model advocated in figure suggests four criteria that we may use which can serve the function of sifting through a range of learning strategies to determine the appropriate. These criteria are objectives, appropriateness, resources available and constraints.

  1. Objectives

Many teaching strategies are available to the curriculum developer and the teacher to select from but only a few may be appropriate to facilitate the curriculum’s intention. Thus the first of the four barriers to pass through is to determine if the teaching strategies can possibly achieve the curriculum’s objectives.

For example, if a science curriculum’s objective requires students to understand the operation of scientific equipment such as a Bunsen burner, then the interactive and expository strategies would be appropriate, although the inquiry would not. However, if the same science curriculum’s objectives sought students to operate a pipette correctly and safely, then the interactive method, individualization would be applicable.small-group, and perhapsSimilarly, if the curriculum objective seeks to emphasize cultural empathy in literature, then inquiry, and models of reality teaching strategies would be far more appropriate than expository and interactive strategies. In the end, it is important for the curriculum developer to determine exactly what the stated objectives seek to achieve when deciding the most suitable learning activities for inclusion in the curriculum. In turn, this process reinforces the need for well- constructed and clearly phrased statements of curriculum intent.

The major point to be made in applying the objectives criterion of the method-selection algorithm is that the type of method or techniques selected by the curriculum developer is primarily dependent upon the nature of the objective involved. As there are many teaching strategies available and many appear to meet the curriculum’s intentions, it is important to limit the range of potential techniques to those which suit the objective as a first step. This selection process will further reduce the number of strategies as subsequent steps of the algorithm are applied.

2. Learner appropriateness

Having limited the range of potential methods to those which satisfy the needs of the curriculum’s objectives, it is important to consider which of the remaining methods are consistent with the characteristics of the students involved, namely, the students’ interests, abilities and levels of development. In one sense this criterion will already have been considered when the objective itself was decided upon. In applying the criterion of attainability to the selection of objectives the astute curriculum developer would have taken such obvious characteristics as age, general ability and stage of intellectual development into account when deciding on the appropriateness of the objective for the group of students in mind.It is also possible to relate teaching strategies to the concepts argued by developmental psychologists such as Jean Piaget. Here, some activities would be more appropriate to a particular level of learner development than others.

Expository and inquiry strategies, for example, may be more appropriate to the formal operations level, although for different reasons. In earlier stages, drill and repetition may be more appropriate as might individualization and small groups. After considering appropriateness of the strategies to the learner, the available pool of methods has been further reduced in number.

3. Resources

Having considered the nature of the curriculum’s objectives and the characteristics of the learner, teachers should ap the piterion of resource availability. Some methods will require access to hardware (for example, film projectors, computers, tape-recorders) and software (for example, films, computer programs, tapes). But do these resources exist within the institution and are they available at the required time? An objective that required students to observe the action of the ocean waves in practice is extremely difficult for students in Multan! Clearly, the availability of needed resources is a significant criterion to be applied to the selection of methods. When each potential method is assessed in terms of this criterion, the number of viable methods remaining is likely to be reduced substantially further.

4. Constraints

In all teaching-learning situations there is a number of constraints that operate to further reduce the choice of the ideal (or most appropriate) methods. Perhaps the most significant constraint in schools is time. For example, after having considered all the earlier criteria, one may have decided that an excursion or field trip is the best way to put across your objective(s).

However, an excursion may take half a day, while an audio-visual presentation may have nearly the same impact in just twenty minutes and with considerably less opposition.

Another constraint might be a teacher’s recognition of his/her own limitations. For example, some teachers may feel uncomfortable with the noise generated by group discussions and simulations, or the seeming chaos resulting from individualized self-pacing. This, of course, further reduces the choice of appropriate methods available for a given objective. Other constraints to be considered when selecting learning activities in a school setting include:

1. Finances available:

2. Availability of staff (for example, for fieldwork, team teaching).

3. School policy.

4. Central organization policy

This model or algorithm suggests how developers might proceed in selecting appropriate teaching strategies. The modek further suggests that developers have an intimate knowledge of the institution in order to select methods effectively. And while the examples cited relate to schools, the selection criteria are equally appropriate other to organizations involved.

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