Updated August 20,
All teachers, especially those new to the
profession, are always on the
lookout for ideas and practices that actually work and are not just passing
"fads.". In the course of a career as a
teacher, you will discover many things that work for you, but maybe not for your
fellow teacher down the hall. You will also, if you get really good at teaching,
invent things that work, and that is what this little page is all about -- what
Not everyone agrees on the most effective ways to teach
content to all children or to motivate them. Much depends on variables over
which the teacher has little, if any control. However, there are a number of
principles that have nearly universal agreement. Below are a number of these.
Additional information will be added to the ADPRIMA site on a regular basis.
An effective way to teach writing is to teach it as a
process of brainstorming, composing, revising, and editing.
Having a clear sense of purpose for any writing assignment
helps students become more interested in writing and the quality of their
Children learn vocabulary better when the words they study
are related to familiar experiences and the knowledge they already possess.
When reading is taught by someone who reads a lot, and who
has skills in both whole language and phonetics instructional techniques, student achievement
in reading increases significantly.
Children are more likely to derive meaning from a reading
assignment if the teacher precedes the lesson with background information about
the topic and
follows it with discussion.
When students work in a cooperative learning situation
that involves reading,
possibilities exist for increases in self-esteem and the responsibility they
take for their own work.
When students hear good readers read, and when the teacher
encourages students repeatedly to read passages aloud, they are more likely to
become good readers.
Telling young children stories can motivate them to want
to read. Storytelling can also introduce them to different cultures and literary
traditions before they can read, write, and talk about such stories themselves.
Science and Mathematics
Children in the early grades learn mathematics more
effectively when they use physical objects in their lessons.
Children learn science best when they are able to do
experiments and see "science in action."
In addition to leaning how to solve mathematics problems
to derive an exact answer, children also learn mathematics by learning to
Social studies encompasses a wide range of content. It is
not learned by memorizing facts - there are just too many.
Having students construct their own knowledge by making
connections about facts and ideas reinforces and deepens understandings about
Simulations, games, and role playing can be one of the
most effective techniques for teaching social studies, but require the teacher
to be a good explainer of the background information and manager of the
When teachers explain exactly what students are supposed
to learn and demonstrate the steps needed to accomplish a particular academic
task, students learn more.
Student understanding increases and achievement rises when
teachers ask questions that require students to apply, analyze, synthesize and
evaluate information in addition to simply recalling facts.
When teachers set high expectations for students,
communicate those expectations to the students and hold the students to them,
student achievement rises.
Students are more motivated if they perceive value in what
they are supposed to learn
When students connect success to personal effort, rather
than ability or luck, they are more likely to be motivated to learn.
Young children, ages four through eight, attend more to
social reinforcement and praise than to feedback about performance.
Older children are more extrinsically motivated and are
more likely to engage in appropriate activities to get a good grade.
Inappropriate or indiscriminate use of extrinsic rewards
has a long-term negative effect on student motivation to learn.
There are, of course, hundreds of other little gems about
teaching and motivating students that could be added here. Those above represent
only a small portion of what teachers have found to be effective. One caveat
must be mentioned. Sometimes, a teaching method that works for one teacher will
not work for another. The reason has to do with temperament and personality.
It's perhaps not so much to do with the mechanical components of the method as
much as the way they are implemented.
If you would like to add to this list, please feel free to
do so by sending Email