5 Incredibly Effective Teaching Practices

As teachers and educators, we are in a state of flux. Traditional teaching methods are becoming behind the scenes while emerging new methodologies are pushed to the fore. In fact, the educational landscape is changing so rapidly that it is difficult to predict what our classrooms will be like in the near future.

Technology is certainly a major factor in this change but it is not the only one, and certainly not the silver lining for education. External environmental factors have a say in what happens in the education sector. Think of the current pandemic and the seismic impact it is having on education, an effect whose ripples still reverberate across the educational spectrum.

teaching practices

School closures and the widespread disruption caused by the outbreak prompted the education community to put emergency and crisis management in place where improvisation prevailed, at least during the first few weeks of the outbreak.

Teachers were suddenly faced with an unprecedented situation where they had to adopt new strategies and adapt their teaching practices to a new environment, one very different from the pre-pandemic environment. Virtual teaching has become the new normal.

As the pandemic has taught us, nothing should be taken for granted. What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow hence the importance of cultivating a growth mindset, a mindset that is fiercely open to new ideas and expansion.

In this post, I share with you some of the key teaching practices that teachers, both new and experienced, need to incorporate into their professional practice in order to improve instructional pedagogy and enhance their students’ learning.

1- Co-teaching

Co-teaching is, as Hall (2017) stated, “a useful activity for sharing and comparing teaching practices and getting ideas to help make your teaching events something special (p. 64). Co-teaching enhances teachers’ reflective practice and enables them to enrich and expand their professional development. Web technologies facilitate Educators should look for collaborative opportunities with other educators For example, web and video conferencing tools are great platforms where this collaboration can happen Tools like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams offer collaborative features that facilitate shared teaching across different time and geographic boundaries .

2- I teach a magazine or portfolio

Maintaining an educational file is an effective professional development practice. Besides enhancing teachers’ sense of accountability to their education, it also provides them with a treasure trove of data to use to track their progress, analyze their performance over the years, determine what works and what doesn’t and why, and design new strategies to meet emerging educational needs.

Reflexive writing is an important component of the teacher’s portfolio. It is a metacognitive work that allows educators to develop an increased sense of awareness about “their ways of knowing not only their students but also themselves and their beliefs” (Roe & Vukelich, 1997, p. 16).

There are many web tools that teachers can use to create digital portfolios, and Google Sites is my favorite tool in this regard. Check out the Google Sites guide to learn more about how to take advantage of the educational capabilities of this platform.
For reflective writing, Google Docs is definitely my go-to tool. I’ve been using it for reflective writing for a number of years now. However, documentation of one’s teaching experiences does not have to be exclusively text-based, but can also be achieved through other expressive media such as visuals, infographics (eg, Canva, Adobe Spark, Illustrator) and video (eg, Wevideo, Camtasia), hyperlinked media, podcasts, and many more.

3- Formative calendar

Taking frequent formative assessments in class is a great way to keep a constant check on the effectiveness of your teaching. Like reflective writing, student feedback can provide you with valuable insights regarding your teaching practices.

Surveys, questionnaires, exit tickets, open-ended questions, and game-based tests, among others, are all forms of questions that you can use to design formative assessment activities in your class. In fact, I’m always amazed at how much insight the two questions below generate when asked at the end of the semester:

  • what did you learn?
  • What do you find difficult to learn?

Although there are many web tools to help you create formative assessment activities, I particularly lean towards game-based platforms such as Quizalize, Blooket, Quizizz, Kahoot, and Quizlet. You can use these tools to create your own quizzes to host directly in your class for each student to take or you can assign them as homework for students to work at their own pace. All of these tools have a Reports section where you can access analytical statistics related to individual student performance and progress. Some of these platforms allow you to share performance reports directly with parents.

4- Hybrid teaching

Nowadays, mixed teaching methods are the hype in education. Digitality is now a major player in the pos-pandemic classroom and is asking teachers to break out of their comfort zone and start experimenting with new ways to bring their education into pace with rapidly changing conditions.

Hybrid teaching is an educational method that combines in the classroom with virtual forms of teaching. Blended teaching, as the University of Edinburgh states, “it does not assume a primarily on-campus or online model but is designed to ease students’ transition between the two. Blended teaching will consist of a mixture of digital and on-campus activities, where students can attend on-campus sessions or Digital sessions in the same time zone or digital sessions in a different time zone.”
Video conferencing platforms and tools such as Google Classroom, Google Sites, Flipgrid, Wakelet, and Funbrain are particularly promising in this regard and can be used to supplement and enhance the teaching/learning that takes place in the classroom. You can use it to create, edit, and share video resources and flipped learning materials with your students while allocating class time for differentiated instruction and remedial work.

5- Enable students’ voice

At the core of student-centered pedagogy is student voice empowerment, that is, the practice of providing students with the freedom (and associated responsibility) to express their opinions and participate in the decision-making process regarding their learning within and outside of a class. Students love it when they know that their voice is valuable and that they have a say in their learning.

With the freedom to express their opinions comes the responsibility of taking charge of their learning. I see that voice and accountability go hand in hand and are intricately linked to each other.

There are many web and platform tools that you can use with students to empower their voices. The Flipgrid shorts are my favourite. Allows students to record videos layered with content to share with others. Read Instructional Tools and Strategies to Empower Students to Voice their Opinion for more ideas and tips.

Resources:

2- Jenny Hall (2017) Developing Best Teaching Practices – Pedagogy, Preferences, and Professional Development, International Information and Library Review, 49:1, 59-64, DOI: 10.1080/10572317.2017.1270692

4- Mary F. Roe & Carol Vukelich (1997) That was then and This now: A Longitudinal Study of Teachers Portfolio Practition Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 12:1, 16-26, DOI: 10.1080/02568549709594712.

This post was last updated in December 2021.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.