In this season of COVID-19 schools have been temporarily closed down and other avenues of teaching and learning sought for. The traditional classroom method of teaching and learning has failed. technology is now the order of the day. The most important factor in teaching and learning is the ability of learners to be receptive to what is being taught. Such a learning experience would depend on the teaching methods or techniques applied. Effective teaching methods always deliver the best learning experience to learners.
There are lists of teaching methods used by different schools, groups, and individuals in the process of learning. The UNCC compiled a list of 150 teaching methods individuals, groups, and institutions might use in the process of learning. These 150 teaching methods include a combination of the same methods in different forms. These teaching methods can be categorized into four (4) types namely: teacher-focused, student-focused, content-focused, and participatory teaching methods.
In the teacher-focused, the instructor is the king, an expert, and a professional in the subject matter being taught. In the learner-focused teaching methods, both the teacher and the learners are learning at the same time. In the content-focused teaching methods, both the teacher and the learners must fit into the content being taught. The content is king in this regard. Finally, in the interactive teaching methods, both the teacher and learners get involved in a practical learning experience.
Also, there are specific teaching methods that belong to the above classes. Some of the popularly known teaching methods include the lecture method, brainstorming, discussion method, role play, demonstration, group participation, instruction method, and many more.
In recent times, technology has helped us redefine teaching methods, where teaching and learning use somewhat a high-tech approach. Platforms exist that utilize cloud technology to provide tools that assist in teaching and learning. Such platforms as G-suite for education and Google classroom, adobe Spark for education, Storybird, and many more. With these platforms, teachers and students can always interact outside the classroom, especially in this period of COVID-19 pandemic.
Teachers can create teaching materials, upload tutorials, classwork, and assignments. While students can use the same platform to submit already finished classwork and assignments. Teachers will also mark the assignments and make the results available to the students.
Relevance of Technology in Teaching and Learning
Technology has been viewed to be helpful in the process of teaching and learning between teachers and learners. In India, technology has been observed to effectively accelerate the process of learning language and linguistics. This is so because technology provides audio-visual content, interactive grammar sections, and modified language lessons that suit children’s language needs, even at an early age of 3 years. Also, learners’ adaptability to different subjects can be easily determined through various technological mediums. This helps teachers and educators to easily build on such adaptabilities to deliver a better learning experience to the learners.
Recently, Microsoft released a report on the class of 2030. The report was put in place from the interview granted to students, teachers, policymakers, technologists, and researchers drew across four countries of the UK, US, Canada, and Singapore. They made an educated guess to determine the skills that will drive the job market in the near future owing to the role of technology.
Technology plays an important role in education, business, and industry. Microsoft believes that with the advancement in technology and Artificial Intelligence, most jobs will be taken away in the near future. Hence, the teaching and learning of future graduates would base on the interpretation of complex data patterns. Also, other higher-level cognitive skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity will be in high demand.
Some of the technologies transforming teaching and learning include Machine Language, Chatbots, AI, Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality, and many more. Machine Learning can be used to predict the strengths, weaknesses, and levels of understanding of a student. Chatbots can answer common student’s questions. The introduction of these technologies will completely change the teaching techniques used in school.
Looking at the future of technology, effective teaching techniques are required to provide an excellent learning experience for our children.
What are Teaching Methods?
Let us look at the meaning of the term teaching methods. Wikipedia defined teaching methods or teaching techniques as comprising of the principles and methods used by teachers to enable students to learn. For a particular teaching method to be appropriate and efficient, it has to be in relation to the characteristic of the learner and the type of learning it is supposed to bring about.
Teaching methods can also be defined as the general principles, pedagogy, and management strategies used for classroom instruction. According to TEACH, the choice of a method depends on one’s educational philosophy, classroom demography, the subject area, and the school’s mission statement.
Learning experience refers to any interaction, course, program, or other experience in which learning takes place. It may occur in traditional academic settings (schools, classrooms) or nontraditional settings (outside-of-school locations, outdoor environments).
It may also include traditional educational interactions (students learning from teachers and professors). Or nontraditional interactions (students learning through games and interactive software applications).
Technology advancement is increasingly delivering the best learning experience to students and educators. Technology provides designers with unlimited opportunities to develop the best User Experience (UX) that will enhance learning. The idea behind this article is to divulge the teaching technique with the best learning experience.
The Teaching Methods
Teaching is essential for adequate knowledge acquisition to guarantee personal and national development. Effective teaching methods boost learning at all levels. To guarantee the best learning experience, teachers and learners need to work hand in hand. To achieve this, the following questions need to be answered.
What teaching methods/ techniques are available to teachers in our schools? How effective are these teaching methods? Do these teaching methods provide the best learning experience for students?
After I thought of the above questions, I gathered some groups of children who were playing in the vicinity. Those between the ages of 3 to 7 precisely. I asked them, what did you learn today? After seconds of hesitation, one of them said in a low tone, “stay and capita”, that is States and Capital.
I said, wow! Who can read it for me? Almost everyone wants to, but I selected one for about 7 years. She did fantastically well, reading: “Abia – Umuahia, Adamawa – Yola, Anambra – Awka, …” till the end.
Then I said, clap for her. Everybody clapped. Then I asked one question: what is the capital of Anambra State? To my greatest surprise, no one could answer the question. Wait a minute, she correctly read the states and capital which I knew every one of them could have done the same.
But how come no one could answer my question? Here comes the defect in our teaching techniques and methods. It is good we teach our children with songs and rhyme. But it is more important that we make them understand the purpose of what is being taught.
I’ve seen my wife teach our two-year-old daughter – A for Apple, B for Ball. I also saw her showing the little girl the physical representation of each item that is handy. As a result, each time my little daughter hears “B for the ball”, she will jump up and kick her leg as if she was playing ball.
She has the consciousness of what each item represents and is being used for. This is how education should be. We should always use appropriate teaching techniques when teaching our children. This will help them assimilate what is being taught.
Different teaching methods have been used by educators to deliver different learning experiences to students. Some of the traditional methods highlighted above include:
Lecture method – Here, the authority, lecturer, instructor, or teacher passes information to the students, while the students are passive receivers.
Demonstration method – Also called coaching method uses multimedia, storytelling, and real-life examples to illustrate the subject of discussion to the students.
Interactive method – This method includes classroom discussion and interaction with the students. It allows students to be actively involved in teaching and learning.
Other methods of teaching include collaborating, debriefing, classroom actions, group, and hybrid method. Goconqr identified five methods that need to be tried on students. They have flipped classroom, design thinking, self-learning, gamification, and social media. The learning experience can be teacher-centered or student-centered; it can also utilize high tech or low-tech approaches.
Impact of Learning Experience on Retention
I was surprised to found that different types of learning and their impact have been documented since 1946. Edger Dale and American Educator developed this system to show how effective different types of teaching/ learning can be. The system is known as the cone of learning or cone of experience.
Consequently, the system was revised in 1969 to elaborate on the impact of the different learning types on learners. According to the cone of experience, if a group of people was taught with different techniques, the results will be as follow after two weeks.
- They will remember 10% of what they READ
- They will remember 20% of what they HEAR
- They will remember 30% of what they SEE
- They will remember 50% of what they SEE and HEAR
- They will remember 70% of what they SAY
- They will remember 90% of what they SAY and DO.
Let’s represent this in a diagram.
From the diagram above, we can observe that the cone of learning defines three modes of teaching/ learning. Let’s briefly explain them.
Descriptive & symbolic learning
This can also be termed learning by abstractions. It involves the use of definition, description, listing, and explanation in learning. When teachers teach by defining, listing, … things to their students, they are using this method. This method should not be far-fetched, because it is predominantly used in our education system. Ironically, this method guarantees only 30% remembrance of what is taught in two weeks.
Iconic learning method
This is learning by observation. It is a method of teaching/learning where the teachers demonstrate or display sample images to the learners. These images could be videos, still images, or live images. They can be displayed on the screen or shown through life exhibitions or excursion sites. In this mode, the learner observes the demonstration of what is being taught. This type of learning can help learners retain 50% of what is learned in two weeks.
Concrete & purposeful learning
The third method of learning is learning by doing. This method can also be called an active learning experience. This is because the learner is actively involved in what is being taught. In this method, the learner would be encouraged to take part in learning through participation.
By so doing, learners would maximize their memory retention capacity to 70 – 90% depending on their level of participation. Participation could be in the form of analyzing and/or evaluating what is learned, teaching others what is learned, modeling what is learned to create real-life experiences, and so on.
Shortly technology will change the way we teach and learn in our schools. The advanced countries are already experiencing these changes, however, ours will take a bit of time to come. But we must prepare for it. Meanwhile, we still need to refine our teaching techniques to make for better learning and understanding.
From the cone of learning, we saw three teaching techniques producing different results on learners. The best thing to do in this case is to choose the techniques that give the best learning experience to learners.
In summary, the first two modes of teaching/ learning are known as passive learning because the learner is the receiver. However, the last method is called active learning because the learner is actively involved. It would be good if the second and third methods are offered frequently in our schools. Thus, the emphasis would not just be on teaching alone, but on the application of what is being taught.
This, I believe, will not only guarantee knowledge but will make our graduates employable as well as creative. In as much as instructors would endeavor to drive home the topics, they teach using different methods, it is the responsibility of the learner to appropriately apply the information.
We should understand that our ability to remember what is learned deepens our application in real life. This is what our schools need and what every organization wants. The ball is in your court. Choose your method and keep teaching/ learning. Success will never elude you. Tell us what you think is the best teaching techniques you love.