Instructional strategies are the various means through which teaching and learning are undertaken in the classroom. The strategies come with appropriate instructional methods that are facilitated by the teacher.
Direct instructional strategies
This refers to the more general teaching approaches. In this strategy the teacher dominates the whole learning environment and fully controls the classroom. According to Meyer (1984) the strengths of this strategy include the ability of the learners to go over previously learnt concepts. This triggers recall of information that is useful in learning. This strategy promotes a good interaction between the teacher and the learners. A good working relationship is established between the teacher and the learners hence the learner is likely to benefit. Through direct instruction the teacher has the capacity to identify individual differences between learners and therefore can help them and improve their learning process. This strategy exposes the students directly to the content material. This is very important for them to get used to the materials and apply the learnt concepts in future studies. With direct instructional strategy content coverage is much faster because of the straightforward nature of the instructional process. Direct strategy has the capacity of striking clarity in the way instruction is made. It becomes easy to notice errors in the instructional process and make corrections. In terms of evaluation, direct instructional strategy is easy to evaluate especially on individual learners. This is achieved through simple tests directed to the learners if they have grasped what is expected of them.
This strategy is very useful when teaching sciences which do not require so much hidden information in the instruction.
A lecture method is a good form of direct instruction in class.
Another good example of an instructional method with this strategy concerns the beginning of a lesson whereby the teacher should first of all ask learners questions concerning the previous lesson in the class. The response of the learners should be received and appropriate feedback given to the students. The current lesson should be a development from the previous lesson and should create a relationship and continuity.
Another example of direct instructional method would involve the teacher asking the learners to take notes after providing an explanation to a certain concept in class. This can be used through instructional materials like the textbook.
These are strategies that are learner centered in the sense that the teacher acts as a facilitator in the learning process. The teacher therefore performs the stimulation role in class and leaves the rest of the work to the learners to carry on. As indicated by Katherine (2008) with indirect strategy the learner stands to benefit a lot from the learning process since he or she is made active in the process. Indirect instruction stimulates inquiry and thinking processes in the learners for them to come up with new concepts and ideas. The spirit of creativity is enhanced in the learners because they have to make a good contribution to the learning process after the facilitation of the teacher. By being active in the learning process, in elementary schools indirect strategy can be viewed in the sense that it is done by the student rather than the teacher doing it for the student.
Much of the workload in the learning process is transferred to the teacher. In this strategy it is also easy to evaluate the extent of learning especially for individual learners by measuring their individual contribution towards tasks given in class.
Indirect strategies are fundamental in developing problem solving skills in the learners. This is of great importance to the future of the learners. This strategy is normally resource based and consequently it goes far in terms of breadth and length of the learning process.
An example of an indirect instructional method entails the teacher providing creativity exercises to the students for instance a topic on which learners are supposed to start writing on their own from scratch. Another example of an indirect instructional method is when the teacher gives the learners a project to work on in specified time duration. In this case the learners are supposed to come up with workable ideas in line with content they cover in class.
In simple terms, interactive learning can be viewed in terms of learning by doing. Teachers and students are all active in the process of learning. According to Louis (2008), this strategy is geared towards keeping the mind of the student focused on the important learning processes. The teacher helps the students to made good use of their learning experiences in the classroom environment. The teacher can interact with individual learners with this strategy and assist them in finding value to their experiences. This can be done by the teacher challenging the ideas of students and helping them to come up with new ideas and concepts. The learners therefore stand to benefit a lot from the teacher who is an expert in the field he is teaching. Through this strategy the teacher can perform a diagnosis of learners either in groups or individuals. After the diagnosis, efforts can be put towards enriching the thinking of the learners especially with scientific concepts. This strategy also empowers the learner in class. This kind of empowerment in driven towards independence in the learning process. The role of the teacher becomes that of correcting misconceptions amongst the learners. The teacher can be said to be a cognitive coach and facilitates discovery of new ideas in the learners.
An example of an instructional method with this strategy entails the organizing for a group project activity where students are required to plan, implement and evaluate the usability of specific materials either in class or outside.
Another example of an instructional method is when the teacher asks the students to critic an already undertaken work of another person in the classroom. The learners can provide their views which can be challenged by their teacher.
In an English lesson the teacher takes the students through a reading process whereby a story is read then followed by a clear analysis by both parties with the teacher managing the discussion on the various aspects of the story.
Independent strategy in learning is an individualized affair in elementary schools. The teacher plays virtually a minimal role in this study because everything is based on the learner. Independent studies are essential to learners as far as individual development in the cognitive process is concerned. The learner is provided with an opportunity to demonstrate independent thought and come u p with meaningful activities that are vital for enriching his or her learning experiences. Independent study being resource based can be tailored to suit the learners because the learner has the chance to choose the best types of resources that would be suitable for learning. This strategy empowers the students at this early stage to be good managers of the available resources for their own use in learning.
Through this strategy, knowledge and skills which cannot be easily taught in the classroom can be transferred to independent study programs. This gives the teacher some time to cover only what is necessary in the classroom. An independent study makes learning convenient for the students. Students can therefore choose on the suitable time in which they want to learn and therefore learning to be made more useful to them than in the group affair. The leaner is in charge of progress in the process of knowledge acquisition. Good learners can make good use of this opportunity to capitalize on their talents and develop important skills that would shape their careers and occupations in future. This is because the teacher’s and other group interference is not there and the students have a good opportunity to do what they wish in the study. Independent study benefits the students in the sense that they develop self motivation, attention and sense of discipline towards the learning activity. (Marlow 2000)
At elementary level a good example of an independent study method would entail the teacher giving a particular topic to the students to research on their own using computers and present the findings later. Another example of an independent study method in an elementary class would involve the going out to collect views a subject of their own choice. The teacher is this case does not make any contribution to the subject the students are interested in making findings about.
Marlow, John. 2000. “Learning Alone.” The American School Board Journal 87 (12):56–62.
Meyer, L.A. Long-term academic effects of the Direct Instruction project follow through. Elementary School Journal. 84: 380-304 (1984).
Katherine T. Thomas, Amelia M.2008, Physical education methods for elementary teachers. ISBN 0736067043.
Louis Abrahamson, 2008, Web.