There’s an old adage that says “The worst teaching method is the one you always use.”
We may consistently use a particular teaching method because “it works,” or, because we may be unaware of other methods that can help engage students to bring about learning outcomes. Admittedly, we sometimes don’t use a greater variety of methods because we fear risking that it may not work, students may not like it, or, it’s beyond our comfort zone.
Expanding our teaching repertoire by offering a greater variety of student learning methods and activities is not about making things interesting or entertaining (though those are not bad in themselves). Learning activities:
- Tap into multiple intelligences
- Increase student engagement
Aid in concepts-attainment Help tap into different facets of understanding (Explanation, Application, Interpretation, Perspective, Self-knowledge, Empathy) Provide an opportunity for application Tease out creativity Help students make connections (the brain learns by making connections) Help students retain what they have learned (if a student has not retained it, they haven’t learned it).
Attached is a Student Engagement Methods checklist that can help expand your teaching repertoire. Methods applicable to the online learning environment are identified by an asterisk. Note that most classroom learning methods can be applied to the online virtual context to some extent or in some form.
Review the checklist and check those methods you use most frequently. Then, check those methods you have never used. Finally, review the list to determine which (new) methods can serve as effective student engagement learning activities that can help your students achieve your course or lesson learning outcomes. Be adventurous, try something new!