10 Effective Teaching Strategies for the Classroom and Remote Learning in 2024

Edited by Ben Jacklin

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The past couple of years has seen no shortage of challenges for teachers and students. Quarantines and social distancing requirements have necessitated fully remote and semi-remote learning. To help educators as they rethink teaching strategy and teaching techniques, we’ve put together a few of our favorite in-person and remote teaching methodologies from today’s top teaching experts.

Teaching strategies for the classroom

1. Personalized and individualized learning

One of the first things to consider when developing strategies in teaching is that every student is different. Albert Einstein is often quoted saying, “Everyone is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” While Prof. Einstein may or may not have ever said this, the sentiment is true. Each student has their own strengths and weaknesses.

Customizing lessons and personalizing learning activities as much as possible can have significant positive impacts on students’ academic success. For example, a study on personalized learning conducted by the Gates Foundation found that after implementing this type of program:

  • Relative to national averages, elementary and middle school students’ test scores increased dramatically.

  • Students with lower starting achievements saw significant relative growth rates.

  • Two-thirds of students saw statistically positive results.

100% personalized or individualized learning may not be possible for all schools or programs, but this is one of the most effective teaching methods that we know of. The more you cater to your students’ strengths and interests, the more engaged they’ll be with any lesson.

2. Gamification and play

Speaking of student engagement, all too often, students view their lessons as punishment. They’d rather be outside or playing games on their phones or tablets, but school doesn’t have to feel like this. Teaching is not just about discipline and controlling students’ behavior. The best method of teaching is to make learning as fun as possible.

Gamifying lessons is a fantastic way to do this in almost any subject, and many educational strategies employ gamification to help improve student engagement and retention. For example, in math class, help students improve their arithmetic with a beach ball. Label the different parts of the ball with whole numbers, fractions, and/or decimals. Have the students stand in a circle and bounce the ball to each other. Every time a student catches the ball, they have to quickly add their number to the number that the last student got. This gets students up and moving, and it turns arithmetic drills into a fun activity instead of a chore.

And math isn’t the only subject that works better with gamification and play. Other types of games can be used for different lessons and subjects. For example, you might play a modified game of Heads Up to identify and learn facts about historical figures. Use your imagination and see what kinds of games you can add to your curriculum to help your students in the classroom.

3. Visualization and real-world experiences

Of course, games aren’t the only effective teaching methods to improve students’ performance and enjoyment in class. Bring lessons to life with creative visualizations. Often, when students read about mathematical concepts, events in history, literary devices, and other lessons, the subjects can feel too abstract to really get their attention. However, if you can engage them with real-world examples, they can get a better understanding of why these subjects matter and how they work in real life.

Visualization can be as simple as encouraging students to bring in pictures or sound recordings of things that relate to a lesson’s theme. You could put together in-class experiments and activities that bring lessons to life, or you could plan a field trip to get students out of the classroom and into a more engaging and interesting environment.

4. Collaboration and cooperative learning

Collaboration and cooperation are often included in the best teaching strategies for multiple reasons. First, when you have one student who is strong in math and another who is strong in English, you can pair the two to help each other with their respective stronger subjects. This kind of collaboration also helps student gain real-world skills that will equip them for the working world – skills like learning to work together as a team and how to manage their time effectively.

A few examples of collaborative and cooperative activities might include:

  • Writing and acting out a short play to demonstrate understanding of a historic event.

  • Demonstrating the steps in solving an Algebra equation.

  • Designing and conducting scientific experiments.

5. Interdisciplinary activities

More and more, educators have found that the best teaching techniques often incorporate multiple subjects. When students are taught each subject in isolation, they don’t get a good sense of how much the separate elements of their education will one day work together. The skills they learn in arithmetic don’t just help them in Algebra and geometry – they help them in their science classes, in learning about economics, and – later down the road – in lessons on geopolitics and socioeconomics.

Interdisciplinary activities can help students get a stronger grasp of how the subjects they study in school apply to the real world. These activities might include things like:

  • Finding the best deal: Students are given multiple choices of products for sale. Some are discounted by a percentage, and others are discounted by a dollar amount. Which products offer the most bang for the buck?

  • Plan a trip to a historic site: Have students choose a historic site that interests them. They’ll then need to plan an imaginary vacation at this site, using their research skills and the lessons they’ve learned in history class about their chosen destination.

  • Play the stock market: Develop a lesson on math, economics, and current affairs by giving them a hypothetical amount of money to “invest” for a specific duration of time. Discuss short-term and long-term gains and losses and how the market impacts other aspects of the economy.

  • Mix and match: Provide students with two sets of cards. One set of cards will have vocabulary words written on them. The other will have those words’ definitions. Make a game out of matching the definition cards to the word cards.

Teaching techniques for remote learning

1. Media literacy

Today’s students are immersed in media from morning to night. Whether they’re playing on a tablet or a gaming console, participating in virtual learning, watching TV, or listening to a podcast in the car with their parents – there’s almost no break from media exposure. That’s why media literacy is one of the most important components of methods of teaching today.

In a remote setting, you can teach media literacy by assigning students to identify and analyze forms of media in their environments. From cereal boxes to advertisements for shoes and the latest TikTok memes, students can learn to dissect and analyze underlying themes, common tropes, and the mechanisms that different media sources and marketing strategies use to sway people’s opinions or drive the desire to purchase products. Media literacy exercises can apply to multiple subjects, including but not limited to English, economics, world history, cultural studies, and, of course, media studies.

2. Experiential learning activities

One of the greatest pedagogical struggles with remote learning is keeping students engaged and on task. This is especially true for younger students, but too much screen time can impact students at any age or learning phase. This is where experiential learning activities can help a great deal.

While there are numerous types of experiential learning activities available for remote classrooms, all of the best teaching techniques have a few things in common. They’re all student-focused, and they all have the goal of developing students’ knowledge and skills through their individual experiences. With this in mind, learning outcomes, projects, and other results will need to be more flexible than traditional lesson plans.

In an experiential learning environment, a student may find something incredibly fascinating about a particular segment of a subject, and this may lead them to a deeper knowledge of that particular area. They might not achieve the same goals that they set out to achieve at the beginning of the lesson or activity, but they’ll have a deeper understanding of the subject and better knowledge of their own interests and learning patterns.

3. Project-based lessons

Building off of the concept of experiential learning, you can break up the monotony of a remote learning day with project-based lessons. To complete a project, students must be engaged in the learning process, which is likely why this learning technique has become even more popular in the age of remote learning.

Much like experiential learning, there are almost endless ways to implement project-based lessons. In a remote environment, though, video projects and presentations are almost always a good idea. Movavi Academic is a great tool to facilitate these assignments. Students and teachers can create instructional videos and easily share projects and presentations. Plus, students interested in video editing can gain new experiences and skills in a fascinating field that could help them in their careers one day.

4. Problem-based learning

Among the many teaching approaches that can help students thrive in online classes is problem-based learning. Give students a problem to solve that necessitates the use of skills they’ve acquired in your class. Depending on the assignment, different types of problem-based learning could help students step away from the screen for a few minutes while staying on task, or they could help students pay closer attention while working at their desks. Some examples might include:

  • Build the tallest tower possible with the items on a student’s desk.

  • Plan a successful hiking trip, including the supplies needed to survive in certain dangerous conditions.

  • Propose a plan to improve community access to healthy foods.

  • Create a video presentation on how to make lessons more engaging for students who are struggling.

The problems your students solve could be as serious or light as you want, depending on the age of your students and what most interests them. There is no “one size fits all” approach to problem-based learning. Essentially, the most effective strategy will be designed around your students’ needs and interests. The good news is, though, that taking a student-centered approach allows you the freedom to make changes to your curriculum and adjust your ways of teaching to match your students’ needs.

5. Video mini-lessons

Of course, students aren’t the only ones who need a break from long hours of screen time. Consider how many resources you use in the classroom to help develop students’ understanding of the subject matter. You use videos, images, books, interactive media, and more. So why not do the same in the virtual classroom? Resources like TeacherTube provide mini-lesson videos for multiple subjects from elementary through high school. Teachers can use these to enrich their curriculum, and students can use them for research or as inspiration to create their own videos. Video mini-lessons also help break up the day, as they only require a short amount of time, and students can watch them before completing assignments or projects.

Summary: Choosing the best new teaching strategies for your class

Whether you’re teaching in person or online (or a little bit of both) this academic year, this list of new teaching methods should hopefully give you some inspiration. You don’t have to try to implement all of these methods and strategies to develop an innovative curriculum with an engaging experience for your students, though. Consider your students’ needs, their age, and the subject matter that you’ll be tackling with them this year.

As you ask yourself, “What is the best teaching method for my students?” consider a few questions that may help provide an answer:

  • What have been your most successful lessons with students at this age in this subject?

  • How can you implement tried-and-true methods with the newest education methods?

  • What problems do your students face on a daily basis, and how can you help them solve these through your curriculum?

  • What different types of projects do your students best engage with?

  • What alternative lessons or projects would you accept from a student who is having trouble staying focused on the current lesson?

Keep these in mind as you read back through the teaching strategies and examples in this article. And remember, effective teaching strategies for elementary school might not be the same as those for high school, but all effective teaching strategies will focus on the student, their interests, and the best way to engage them individually and as a group.

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