Building an Arsenal of Effective Instructional Strategies

instructional strategies
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Instructional strategies include all approaches that a teacher may take to engage students in the learning process actively. These strategies drive a teacher's instruction as they work to meet specific learning objectives and ensure that their students are equipped with the tools they need to be successful. Effective instructional strategies meet all learning styles and the developmental needs of all learners. Teachers must be equipped with a well-rounded arsenal of effective instructional strategies to maximize their effectiveness and to increase student learning opportunities.

Teachers are best served when they utilize a variety of instructional strategies as opposed to one or two. Variety ensures that students are never bored. It also ensures that students will likely be exposed to strategies that align with their preferred individualized learning style. Students will enjoy being taught with a variety of instructional strategies and are likely to stay engaged longer. Ultimately a teacher should align the instructional strategies they are using with the students they are serving and the content they are teaching. Not every instructional strategy will be the perfect fit for every situation, so teachers must become adept at evaluating which strategy will be the best fit.

Popular Instructional Strategies

The following list includes twenty popular instructional strategies. This list is by no means comprehensive. New instructional strategies are being developed and implemented in classrooms on an almost daily basis. Each of these instructional strategies can also be completely customized meaning that they can be tweaked and configured to fit any situation. Two teachers can be using the same instructional strategy but doing so completely different based on their own individual preferences and needs. Teachers should put their own creative spin on these instructional strategies to make them their own.

  • Alternative Assessments
  • Analysis of Student Work
  • Cloze Reading
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Conferencing
  • Direct Instruction
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Hands-On Learning
  • Independent Learning
  • Jigsaw
  • K.W.L Charts
  • Learning Centers
  • Modeling
  • Scaffolding
  • Small Group Instruction
  • Strategic Grouping
  • Student Goal Setting/Self Assessment
  • Thematic Instruction
  • Think-Pair-Share
  • Word Wall

Ways Effective Instructional Strategies Can Boost Student Learning

  1. Instructional strategies provide a delivery mechanism for presenting great content. Instructional strategies are the how, and content is the what. In many cases, how you present the content is more important than what you present. Students latch onto content that is packaged in an interesting and engaging way. A lack of a great delivery system will fail to make connections with even the most interesting content.
  2. Instructional strategies provide teachers with the flexibility necessary to meet individual learning needs. The sheer number of instructional strategies at a teacher's disposal provides flexibility the flexibility to differentiate instruction. What works well for one group of students may not necessarily work well with another. Teachers must adapt to each group and utilize multiple instructional strategies to maximize their effectiveness.
  3. Instructional strategies can make teaching and learning fun. The majority of students learn best through active, engaging learning opportunities. Many instructional strategies embrace this and feature components that ensure that learning is fun and engaging. Teachers must make every effort to feature instructional strategies that keep students engaged, on their toes, and wanting more.
  1. Instructional strategies, when used correctly keep students from becoming bored with how they learn. When a teacher uses the same strategy over and over again, it becomes boring to students. This is a great way to cause students to lose focus and interest in learning.  When a teacher varies activities, changes them up, and uses a wide range of instructional strategies students stay engaged, ultimately helping them learn more.
  2. Instructional strategies enhance instruction and boost learning. When teachers are continuously exploring and tweaking their delivery system, a beautiful thing happens. Over time, they become more effective at not only finding great instructional strategies but also with implementing them into their class. Likewise, when students are exposed to a variety of instructional strategies it broadens the scope of how they learn essentially giving them multiple ways to process and learn new information.