Thursday, April 27, 2017
As an educational consultant, my job is to provide instructional coaching and support to districts and campuses that are seeking ways to refine teaching practices and increase student achievement. When working with campuses I'm frequently asked, "what are the best teaching methods?". My answer is always the same, "it varies". This response is often met with sighs of exasperation as teachers are sincerely seeking a beeline to best practice. Understandably, teachers who feel pressured to cover a large amount of content in a limited amount of time want a quick and easy response. However, as rushed as we may feel, student-centered teaching methods are the goal of every engaging classroom. What do student-centered teaching methods look like you ask? Well... it varies. Ideally, a teacher would limit direct instruction to small increments of time, then during guided practice provide individualized support based on each child’s learning style. Often teachers feel this type of teaching takes too much time. However, when students receive instruction that is aligned with their unique learning styles, mastery time is expedited and teaching becomes more efficient. In other words, as we differentiate we maximize student learning and increase mastery of the content, which ultimately reduces the need for remediation and increases student achievement. Kendra Strange, Ed.D.