Classroom Practices

Beat Classroom Routines with Fun and Effective Teaching Methods

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Have you run out of ideas on how to teach your students? It happens. You know that it’s practically impossible to stay creative and full of ideas when you have thousands of tasks to do – creativity is possible when you have time to think everything over.

So, do you feel the lack of creative ideas or are you fed up with all the old learning and teaching styles?

Then you’re more than welcome to use these fun and effective teaching methods and strategies in your classes.

Brainstorming method

Brainstorming stands for collective discussion of the issue. Students share their ideas that can be rough and undeveloped, and in the process of solving a problem they try to better their ideas, helping each other. It’s a good chance to work in a team.

It’s important to explain to students that they should be tolerant toward each other and forget about criticism. You as a teacher control and direct the process of discussion. Encourage inactive students to suggest at least one idea. In order not to forget ideas suggested by every student, compose a list of them.

There is one more variant of brainstorming – reverse (or negative) brainstorming. The difference is the following: You have a list of ideas that your students already offered, and your next task is to figure out what can spoil this certain idea or what negative things can happen to it, and after that find solutions.

Similar to traditional brainstorming, you don’t criticize each other, and you let each student from the group speak out.

Slip-writing method

The slip-writing method is similar to brainstorming: Students using sheets of paper put down their ideas (one paper – one idea). Set a minimum and maximum number of ideas you expect to get from each student and collect all of them when they are ready. Then you review the papers as a group – sort them, group, grade and so on. And the last step is to discuss which of the ideas is the most on-point.

Concept-mapping method

The concept-mapping method helps visualize information you’re currently working on. You create a table with boxes (where you write concepts) and arrows (to show connections among boxes). This way you depict interrelation between concepts you consider and build hierarchy. Such a clear diagram enables a student to understand complex issues and see the full picture in details.

As a background for your diagram, you can use a blackboard or big sheet of paper, draw boxes or circles with concept names inside them (or, alternatively, you can use office stickers for this purpose) and draw arrows.

Concepts are movable, because together with your students you can reconsider ideas and, accordingly, change concepts’ positions in the whole hierarchy. That’s why you’d better draw the diagram with pencil, so you could easily remove them later.

Role-playing method

You imagine a problem to find a solution. Students receive their roles and play them out. Thanks to the role-playing method, you can consider alternative points of view and understand actions taken by each person.

Your task as a teacher is to spell out each role and then control if they coped well with it. The more details students know about a certain role, the better they can play it.

This method is captivating, and students take part in this kind of activity gladly. It’s especially good for law and literature classes as well as for mastering public speaking techniques in some foreign languages.

Brain-sketching method

To work according to the brain-sketching method, your students sit in a circle and prepare their sketches on how to solve the issue you raise. When everybody is ready to work further, students pass their sketches to the group member sitting next to them. After that, students work on sketches of each other, trying to improve them. In the end, if you want your work to be more effective, you should discuss the sketches as a group.

Please share what are the teaching methods you use in your classes or have heard about and which of them students like most of all!