Methods of teaching in Institutions of higher learning
Developments in technologies for communicating and disseminating information have a large potential impact on the practice of teaching because teaching is an activity in which communicating and disseminating information are significant aspects. Depending on the nature of subject, number of students, and the facilities available, there are different methods teachers are using in the classroom. Below are given various methods of teaching used in Institutions of higher learning:
1. Lecture Method
A lecture is an oral presentation of information by the instructor. It is the method of relaying factual information which includes principles, concepts, ideas and all theoretical knowledge about a given topic. The lecture method is just one of several teaching methods, though in schools it’s usually considered the primary one. In a lecture the instructor tells, explains, describes or relates whatever information the trainees are required to learn through listening and understanding. It is therefore teacher-centered. The instructor is very active, doing all the talking. Trainees on the other hand are very inactive, doing all the listening. Despite the popularity of lectures, the lack of active involvement of trainees limits its usefulness as a method of instruction. The lecture method is convenient for the institution and cost-efficient, especially with larger classroom sizes. This is why lecturing is the standard for most college courses, when there can be several hundred students in the classroom at once; lecturing lets professors address the most people at once, in the most general manner, while still conveying the information that they feel is most important, according to the lesson plan.
i. In this teaching method a large amount the topics can be covered in a single class period.
ii. Student listening skills developed.
iii. Lectures can be presented to large audiences.
i. Lectures fail to provide instructors with feedback about the extent of student learning.
ii. In lectures, students are often passive because there is no mechanism to ensure that they are intellectually engaged with the material. Students’ attention wanes quickly after fifteen to twenty-five minutes.
iii. Lectures presume that all students learn at the same pace and are at the same level of understanding.
iv. Lectures are not suited for teaching higher orders of thinking such as application, analysis, synthesis, or evaluation; for teaching motor skills, or for influencing attitudes or values.
v. Lectures are not well suited for teaching complex, abstract material.
vi. Lectures requires effective speakers.
vii. Lectures emphasize learning by listening, which is a disadvantage for students who have other learning styles.
2. Heuristic Method
Heuristic method was proposed by Armstrong. The word ‘Heuristic’ is derived from Greek word ‘heuriskein’, which means ‘find’. The aim of this method is to make students learn curiously by discovery, instead of receiving information as such from teachers. Students should try to explore, explain, describe, and predict the topic given to them by the teacher. Principles of activity, logical thinking, known to unknown, purposeful experience, self-thinking, self-study, etc. are used in Heuristic method. In this method, the teacher gives a topic or problem to students and they have to find the solution using library, laboratory, online resources, workshops, seminars, etc.
i. It is a student-centered approach.
ii. The teacher encourages students to learn on their own.
iii. It focuses on developing scientific attitude in students for problem solving.
iv. It helps in the all-round development of students.
v. It also develops confidence in students.
i. It is not meant for students of primary level.
ii. Not all students possess the same set of skills. So, below-average students will not be comfortable with this method.
iii. It is important here for students to have access to library, laboratory, and internet, but some institutes might not be able to provide these. So, in such circumstances, it will be difficult to use this method
3. Flipped Classroom
A flipped classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. In a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures, collaborate in online discussions, or carry out research at home while engaging in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of a mentor. The flipped classroom intentionally shifts instruction to a learner-centered model in which class time explores topics in greater depth and creates meaningful learning opportunities, while educational technologies such as online videos are used to ‘deliver content’ outside of the classroom. In a flipped classroom, ‘content delivery’ may take a variety of forms. Often, video lessons prepared by the teacher or third parties are used to deliver content, although online collaborative discussions, digital research, and text readings may be used. It has been shown that the ideal length of the video lesson to be is eight to twelve minutes.
i. Students can study video lectures and ham outs at their own pace.
ii. There can be better discussions on assignment in the classroom.
i. Teachers as well as students should be aware < the latest technologies which can be used for recording and sharing lectures.
ii. There could be problems if teachers and students do not have good internet connection.
4. Kinesthetic Learning
Kinesthetic learning or tactile learning is a learning style in which learning takes place by the students carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations. As cited by Favre (2009), Dunn and Dunn define kinesthetic learners as students who require whole-body movement to process new and difficult information.
i. It involves lesser use of technology.
ii. Such activities are good in engaging students as they learn with greater interest and curiosity
iii. It helps students in retaining what they ha\ learnt.
i. Not all subjects can be taught using sue method. For example, to teach students about rockets, it will not be affordable for ever school to provide hands-on experience at the space center.
ii. Students might understand the working easily using this method, but they will not have deep knowledge of concepts. To overcome this, it should be used with lecturing, but not as a substitute of lecturing.
Discussions can act as a better source of learning than lecturing or explaining, as discussion involve two-way communication and lecture involves only one-way communication. There can be discussion between the teacher and students, or discussion between students, where the teacher initiates the discussion and then listens to the viewpoint of student; At the end of the discussion, the teacher can summarize all the points discussed. Discussions can b planned, partly planned, or totally unplanned.
i. Discussions can enhance confidence of students, if they are encouraged to speak.
ii. There is a tendency of high student participation in discussions.
iii. It also improves communication skills, critical thinking, creative thinking, etc. of students.
iv. It is a group-centered approach.
i. It can turn out to be time-consuming.
ii. It may also lead to emergence of inferiority complex in introvert and shy students as they will have difficulty in participating in discussions.
iii. It is suitable only for small groups.
6. Team Teaching Method
In team teaching, not only one teacher plans the class activity, rather two or more teachers plan the activities, aids, evaluation strategies, etc., for the same set of students.
i. It encourages friendship among teachers which will bring positivity in the learning environment.
ii. Different teachers have different teaching styles, ideas, so their collaboration will improve the learning.
iii. It is helpful for interdisciplinary approach in learning.
iv. It is a teacher-centred approach.
i. There is a need of consensus among teachers regarding the methods, aids, strategies, etc., to be used.
ii. Such an approach cannot be used for all subjects
7. Open Learning
Open learning as a teaching method is founded on the work of Célestin Freinet in France and Maria Montessori in Italy, among others. Open learning is supposed to allow pupils self-determined, independent and interest-guided learning. Open Learning is a form of learning in which there are no barriers of age, place, time, etc. Students can learn wherever and whenever they wish to. Learning is the responsibility of students. Even students have choice about when they will attend exams. Housewives, employed persons, students from remote areas, etc., can complete the course without any restriction of attending lectures. There is a difference between open learning and distance learning. Distance learning, also known as correspondence course, takes place when the teacher and student are geographically distant. Students can learn from postal courses, audio or video call, television programmes, books, newspaper, online materials, etc. UGC, CBSE, and other educational institutes provide video lectures to students through YouTube. Students can enroll for such forms of learning with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), State Open Universities, or other universities offering open courses. But before enrolling, the student should verify the validity and authenticity of the institute and course from UGC’s website. Also, there are online platforms like edX and others which offer courses offered by foreign universities as well as reputed Indian institutes free of cost.
i. Open learning is a student-centred approach of learning.
ii. Students can study at their own pace, place, and time.
iii. It is helpful for those students who cannot attend regular classes.
iv. There are no restrictions on learning.
v. Open learning has greater flexibility.
vi. It saves time and money.
i. There is a high tendency of getting distracted as students will not meet the teacher and other classmates every day. Everyday interactions keep one aware of the deadlines; also students learn from the peer groups.
ii. Students have to keep themselves motivated and dedicated to successfully complete the course.
iii. Many ‘open learning scams’ have been reported.
8. Project Method
It was developed by William Heard Kilpatrick. The Project method involves activity-based learning. Project can be static or working model, or it can be in the form of a report. Project work is also a part of many degree programmes. In project reports, students conduct research, carry out survey, and then present the findings of research in the form of a report. Projects can be used in sciences as well as social sciences. Projects can be allocated to students individually, or in groups.
i. It is easy to evaluate.
ii. It is a student-centred method of learning.
i. It can be time-consuming.
ii. Readymade projects are also available in the market easily; if students purchase these, instead of preparing on their own, then the purpose of projects is not fulfilled.
9. Panel Discussion
In panel discussion, discussions about a topic are held among the panel members. Panel members can be chosen from within the class or subject experts can be invited for panel discussions.
i. If planned and executed well, these can engage more listeners than a lecture or single speaker activity.
ii. Students will get to learn from experts in the field.
iii. By observing the discussions, students will learn how to communicate their ideas and viewpoints.
i. Discussion will not be of any use if the members do not have adequate knowledge regarding the topic.
ii. Rest of the class might get bored during such an activity.
Brainstorming is a large or small group activity that encourages students to focus on a topic and contribute to the free flow of ideas. The teacher may begin a brainstorming session by posing a question or a problem, or by introducing a topic. Students then express possible answers, relevant words and ideas. Contributions are accepted without criticism or judgement and usually summarised on a whiteboard by the teacher or a scribe as the ideas are called out. These ideas are then examined, usually in a open class Discussion format. Brainstorming is an excellent teaching strategy to generate ideas on a given topic. Brainstorming helps promote thinking skills. When students are asked to think of all things related to a concept, they are really being asked to stretch their thinking skills. it motivates, stimulates, and promotes student interaction.Brainstorming was developed by advertising pioneer Alex F. Osborn
i. The views presented by the students during the session are not subject to criticism.
ii. It is a group-centred approach.
iii. These can generate many ideas within a short span of time.
iv. There is greater scope for participation by almost all students.
v. Such sessions boost creativity, confidence, and innovations.
vi. It can be used for small as well as large groups.
i. Some students might hesitate in participating.
ii. Such sessions may not always be effective.
iii. These may not always be peaceful sessions.
iv. More focus on quantity than quality.
v. It can be time-consuming if not planned well.
11. Programmed Instruction
Programmed learning takes place in a series of controlled and sequential steps. Programmed material is provided to students and they cover it as per their convenience. One of the features of this method is immediate feedback to student. Students are provided correct answers immediately after they have solved the questions. They progress gradually with the content. Such type of method can also be used in the absence of the teacher. The programmer has to fragment the topic into small sections. There will be evaluative tests after each section and correct responses are provided immediately.
i. It addresses individual differences.
ii. ‘Learning by doing’ principle is used in this method.
iii. There is flexibility in teaching and learning.
i. This is time-consuming, so it will be difficult to cover the entire syllabus in a limited time period.
ii. It can be costly.
iii. It is not meant for primary level students.
iv. There is need of experts for planning programmed instructions.
12. Personalized System of Instruction
PSI is also known as the Keller plan. First described by Fred Keller in Good Bye Teacher – Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (1968). Personalized Learning refers to a set of methods, strategies, experiences, and techniques which are used to address the diverse needs, interests, and aspirations of the students. Learning style, pace of content, environment can vary from student to student on the basis of experience, prior knowledge, requirements, interest, and goals of students. The learner has choice over what material he should use to meet the course targets. The course objective also varies from student to student. It is a student-centred method of teaching. The students learn from what they do. They accomplish their own learning. It is an alternative to ‘one size fits all’ approach of teaching.
i. Learning is self-paced and student-centred.
ii. Learners are more autonomous and independent.
i. Students need to be self-disciplined in order to complete the course within the specified duration.
ii. It cannot be used for primary level students.
iii. It will be difficult to use in case of swiftly changing course content.
13. Differentiated Instruction
Just as everyone has a unique fingerprint, every student has an individual learning style. Chances are, not all of your students grasp a subject in the same way or share the same level of ability. Carol Ann Tomlinson is a leader in the area of differentiated learning. Tomlinson describes differentiated instruction as factoring students’ individual learning styles and levels of readiness first before designing a lesson plan. Differentiating instruction means that you observe and understand the differences and similarities among students and use this information to plan instruction. Research on the effectiveness of differentiation shows this method benefits a wide range of students, from those with learning disabilities to those who are considered high ability.
Differentiating instruction may mean teaching the same material to all students using a variety of instructional strategies, or it may require the teacher to deliver lessons at varying levels of difficulty based on the ability of each student. According to Tomlinson, teachers can differentiate instruction through four ways: 1) content, 2) process, 3) product, and 4) learning environment.
The Differentiated system of instruction is different from personalized system of instruction. The latter is student-centred, while the former is teacher-centred. The goals to be achieved will be the same, but the teacher can differentiate the subject matter, learning practices, learning environment, etc., to address the individual needs of students. There is flexibility in instruction, grouping, and evaluation.
i. It is a teacher-centred method.
ii. It is flexible and can be adjusted according to the requirement of students.
iii. It can be used effectively for small groups.
i. The teacher needs to understand all students before planning differentiated activities for them.
ii. There will be difficulty in implementing such a method for a large group of students.
14. Role Playing
Role-play is any speaking activity when you either put yourself into somebody else’s shoes, or when you stay in your own shoes but put yourself into an imaginary situation! It is widely agreed that learning takes place when activities are engaging and memorable. Role playing is a learning structure that allows students to immediately apply content as they are put in the role of a decision maker who must make a decision regarding a policy, resource allocation, or some other outcome. This technique is an excellent tool for engaging students and allowing them to interact with their peers as they try to complete the task assigned to them in their specific role.
i. Students immediately apply content in a relevant, real world context.
ii. Students take on a decision making persona that might let them diverge from the confines of their normal self-imposed limitations or boundaries.
iii. Students can transcend and think beyond the confines of the classroom setting.
iv. Students see the relevance of the content for handling real world situations.
v. The instructor and students receive immediate feedback with regard to student understanding of the content.
vi. Students engage in higher order thinking and learn content in a deeper way.
vii. Instructors can create useful scenarios when setting the parameters of the role play when real scenarios or contexts might not be readily available.
viii. Typically students claim to remember their role in these scenarios and the ensuing discussion long after the semester ends.
i. Sometimes, expensive equipment may be required for training.
ii. It is not easy to recreate the real-life situations in artificial setting due to their complex nature.
15. TV or Video Presentation
Another way of engaging students is playing some educational video presentations or educational channels on television. It can be used specially for showing documentaries. There can be a discussion session or question hour followed by the presentation.
Videos can be shown in the classroom or these can be uploaded online. If it is uploaded online, then its link can be shared with students to watch it at their own pace.
i. It can help in gaining the interest of students.
ii. Students will be able to retain information.
iii. Lectures of teachers from highly reputed institutes and other experts can be shown to students even in remote areas. For example, there are online lectures available of professors of IITs, IIMs, and other reputed institutes. Those who were not able to get admitted in these institutes can also watch these lectures and discussions online.
iv. Students can save video lectures for further use.
i. It is difficult to update videos with new information. If there is any update regarding a topic, then a new video should be recorded.
ii. It can be expensive, as software and equipment are required to record videos and present these in the class.
iii. For accessing online lectures and presentations, good internet connectivity is required.
iv. There is only one-way communication. Queries of students are not resolved as they cannot ask questions to experts in the video.
16. Live Sessions
Video presentation or telecast on television has the drawback of lack of two-way communication. This can be overcome with the use of Live Sessions. Teachers can go live on their Facebook pages, groups, YouTube channels, etc. Students can provide feedback, ask questions in the chat section, or comments.
i. No pre-recorded videos are required. Teacher can go live from his/her smartphone as well.
ii. Students can ask questions immediately.
iii. Video of live sessions gets uploaded online. If anyone has missed the live session, he/she can watch it later as well.
iv. Any number of viewers can watch it. There is no restriction on the number of viewers.
i. It will be difficult for students from remote areas who don’t have smartphones and good internet connection to watch the sessions.
17. Interactive Video
In an interactive video, there are quiz questions along with the video. Video will take a pause and the viewer has to answer questions and responses will be marked immediately. So, the viewer will get immediate feedback. If any of the answers is wrong, he can rewind the video and clear that doubt.
i. This approach is flexible.
ii. Students have immediate feedback in the form of correct responses.
iii. It improves the decision-making power of students.
iv. It is a student-centred approach.
i. It is time-consuming.
ii. Resources and experts are required for implementing such an approach.
18. Computer-assisted Learning
Computer assisted learning is the future, and that future is now. Education, as a process and discipline, is mainly concerned with imparting knowledge, methods of teaching, and providing/maintaining a conductive learning environment as opposed to informal education and other means of socialization. Computer assisted learning (CAL), as the name implies, is the use of electronic devices/computers to provide educational instruction and to learn. Computer assisted learning can be used in virtually all fields of education, ranging from TV/DVD play-learn program for kindergarten kids to teaching quadruple bypass surgery techniques in medicine. Computer assisted learning (CAL) is also known as computer assisted instruction (CAI). By playing and using materials stored on DVDs, mobile phones, and other web-based resources, learning becomes more attractive and dynamic, and offers the students entertaining avenues to showcase their listening and learning skills.
i. CAL offers a wide range of experiences that are otherwise not available to the student. It works as multimedia providing audio as well as visual inputs.
ii. It enables the student to understand concepts clearly with the use of stimulating techniques such as animation, blinking, graphical displays etc.
iii. CAL provides a lot of drilling which can prove useful for low aptitude students.
iv. Individual needs of the students can be addressed.
v. It is a student-centred approach of learning.
vi. There is active participation by students.
i. .It is expensive due to use of costly hardware and software.
ii. Teachers may not be willing to implement it.
19. Game based learning (GBL)
It is a type of game play that has defined learning outcomes. Generally, game based learning is designed to balance subject matter with gameplay and the ability of the player to retain and apply said subject matter to the real world. Game based learning describes an approach to teaching, where students explore relevant aspect of games in a learning context designed by teachers. Teachers and students collaborate in order to add depth and perspective to the experience of playing the game. Game-Based Learning (GBL) can be successfully used to improve both learning and teaching. It simply means including games in your instruction. One of the greatest challenges for educator is with-success teaching giant groups of students, all of whom having totally different personalities, different capabilities and different learning preferences. With high expectations of everything digital, students wish variety of activities, rewards, surprises and humour to stay up their interest in learning. Finding new ways to grab the attention of learners and engaging them in the learning process is one of the main issues nowadays. Learning is not just rote memorization. Students won’t be able to gain any information and skills out of dull learning process but they understand the application of skills and knowledge to solve real-life problems with help of effective learning process. There are gaming apps for building vocabulary, practicing typing, memorizing the periodic table, solving mathematical problems, etc. The teacher can plan games according to the need of the curriculum.
i. Use of games increases the student participation and also boosts their interest.
ii. Students don’t have to wait for results, they get immediate results.
iii.Students can learn as per their convenience.
iv. It is not completely student-centred, as the teacher plans the activities.
i. It is expensive as costly equipment and software will be needed for its implementation.
ii. Teachers need to undergo training so that they can plan games according to the curriculum effectively.
iii. There is lack of willingness in teachers to use such methods.
Seminars can also be used as a teaching method. Seminar is similar to classroom interaction, as there is an expert or a group of experts from similar areas who addresses a number of students or participants. Experts present the papers, which is followed by the question session in which queries of participants are resolved. Slides are also used in seminars to engage the participants. The topic of seminar is decided in advance and experts on that topic are invited to present papers. Seminars are organized in almost all educational institutes every year.
i. Seminars are a great source of information as the experts of a particular field present the topics, so the information received is authentic.
ii. The presentation skills of participants improve in seminars.
iii. Participants get to know about research activities.
i. Organizing a seminar can be costly as expenses have to be incurred for inviting experts, arranging accommodation and food for participants and
ii. It is time-consuming and at times could be boring for participants.
iii. If students don’t participate wholeheartedly, then the purpose of organizing the seminar is not fulfilled.
iv. There is no mechanism in evaluating the knowledge which participants have received from seminars.
Tutorials are used as follow-up of classroom lecture. After delivering the lecture, a teacher can group students on the basis of their needs and queries. The teacher can then provide remedial teaching to clear their doubts in theory content or in practical work. If the concept is clear to students, then the teacher can assign them a topic to present in the class. The student presents and the teacher supervizes the presentation. It is followed by a question session, where other students can ask queries; if the presenter is not able to resolve the queries, the teacher can help.
i. It is a student-centred approach.
ii. It is an effective way of teaching as the teacher addresses the individual needs of students.
iii. It sharpens the communication skills of students.
i. It will be difficult to implement in larger classrooms.
ii. It can be time-consuming and the syllabus will not be completed on time.
Assignment means the task on the work that is given to an individual student or to a class. It is also the process of assigning a specific physical or mental exercise or expedition to a student or a group of the students. It is an important aid to the learning process. The teacher gives different types of assignments to the students such as the assignment of chapter page or paragraph, topic project exercise, individual or group report and practice etc.
i. It develops creative thinking in students.
ii. Grades can be awarded for completing assignments on time.
iii. Students learn time management skills by working with deadlines.
iv. It is a student-centred technique. Students have flexibility in completing it at their own convenience but before the deadline.
i. It is difficult for the teacher to check all assignments, especially in case of classes with large number of students.
ii. Deadlines for submitting assignments can pressurize students to focus on completing them without taking care of the quality of content.
iii. Students can copy assignments from each other.
23. Case Study
Cases are narratives, situations, select data samplings, or statements that present unresolved and provocative issues, situations, or questions (Indiana University Teaching Handbook, 2005). The case method is a participatory, discussion-based way of learning where students gain skills in critical thinking, communication, and group dynamics. It is a type of problem-based learning. Case studies are have long been used in business schools, law schools, medical schools and the social sciences, but they can be used in any discipline when instructors want students to explore how what they have learned applies to real world situations. Most case assignments require students to answer an open-ended question or develop a solution to an open-ended problem with multiple potential solutions.
i. It is a student-centred method of teaching and learning.
ii. It boosts creativity, critical thinking, communication, interpersonal, and time management skills in students.
iii. Students work on solving real-life problems.
iv. These bridge the gap between theory and practical, that is, students learn to apply theory to tackle real-life situations.
i. Teachers should be trained properly so that they can use case studies effectively.
ii. It might be difficult to find a case from real-life situations involving the concept under study.
iii. There are chances of one perspective getting more focus, with little or no emphasis on another perspective.
iv. Case studies cannot be used effectively for short-term courses.