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SIGNIFICANT TEACHING STRATEGIES

The following are some of the more significant teaching strategies available to teachers in schools. When examining each category of method, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each approach as well as the essential features involved. Further more, it is useful to view this variety of strategies as a problem-solving device to overcome the difficulties experienced in classroom teaching. If, for example, a teaching strategy is not working effectively, you should reflect upon whether it is appropriate to the learning context. When considering a variety of teaching methods one should also distinguish between different categories as well as within the same category in order to locate the most appropriate strategies. The principal groupings of teaching- learning strategies are:

1. Expository teaching

2. Interactive teaching

3. Small group teaching/discussion

4. Inquiry teaching/problem solving

5. Individualization.

6. Models of reality.

Some writers distinguish practice/ drill as a separate strategy, although they may be considered more a method of reinforcement than a learning strategy. Once a student has learnt something, through one of the above strategies, it may be deemed prudent to reinforce that learning through practice/ drill. The important point here is usually acquired elsewhere and the practice or drill serves to consolidate that learning. In schools, practice and drill are continuously used in subjects such as maths, physical education, dance and so forth. The reinforcement role they serve is important thought this is usually more the responsibility of the teacher, as user of a curriculum, than the curriculum developer.

A useful way of summarizing the teaching strategies discussed in this chapter is to place them in perspective with each other, such as in a continuum. At one extreme of learning strategies on the continuum we could include learning through reality.

Learning by participating in a real situation is certainly a powerful way of acquiring information, skills and values. However, it is one over which curriculum developers and teachers generally have no control, as it is beyond the domain of the educational institution concerned. While reality may be an effective teacher it is rarely an efficient, systematic and thorough teacher where learning through a specifically designed curriculum can be extrapolated from one context to another.

In recent years, therefore, we have witnessed a significant trend towards formalized learning situations in many institutions involved in some form of education. Take, for example, learning how to sail a yacht. One could learn through participating in real situations-through trial-and-error as well call it. But does learning to sail on a mirror or similar centre- board dingy prepare one effectively for sailing an ocean racing sloop? To some degree the answer is yes, but if one participated in a sailing school and learnt how to sail through learning the saling curriculum, then one should have acquired generic and specific skills transferable to many different contexts.

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