In today’s fast-paced tech advances and the ever-increasing demands on students to keep up, the importance of compelling classroom motivation cannot be overlooked. The key is to use a variety of teaching approaches.
In this article, I’ll be recommending the four best pedagogical approaches teachers can use to make students more engaged in their education and see their learning improve.
The Nature of Teaching
Teaching is a difficult job at the best of times. It requires communication, insight, patience, and a lot of hard work. And when we don’t have much time to do it, we will do everything in our power to make sure that our students get the best understanding of what they’re learning.
Educators like us will find many things to consider about a hands-on approach. What are the best approaches to help students be engaged?
The best pedagogical approaches have the ability to engage students and make them feel comfortable in the classroom environment. This means that they will pay attention to what is going on in class, and be creative and willing to try new things.
The best pedagogical approaches are practical because they help students to build a strong foundation for learning, which would otherwise be impossible with weaker or less effective techniques.
What are the best pedagogical approaches?
The answer to this question is easier said than done. Many teachers have come and gone over the years and their methods have evolved over time.
Some of the most successful educators today credit themselves with creating their own teaching methodologies, while other teachers simply teach what they were taught.
Here are some pedagogical approaches that teachers can use to make students more engaged.
1. Collaborative Learning
An approach that ensures the active participation of everyone in the class is collaborative learning.
Collaborative learning is a learning method in which students work together to solve a problem or complete a task. This type of learning can be used in a classroom setting or online.
When students actively work together, they develop and improve their communication and interpersonal skills. And as they share ideas with their groupmates, they increase their ability to work in teams and improve their problem-solving skills.
- Peers working together to complete a task or project
- Students working in small groups to discuss small problems
- Students working together to create and revise a piece of writing
Takeaway: No matter what the specific situation, collaborative learning requires effective communication, positive interactions, and a willingness to work together. When done correctly, it can be a highly effective way to learn.
2. Inquiry-based Learning
Inquiry-based learning is a student-centered approach to learning that encourages students to ask questions and pursue answers independently to give them the opportunity to explore their own interests.
This type of learning allows students to take an active role in their education, and it can lead to a deeper understanding of concepts and help them think critically about the world around them.
Additionally, inquiry-based learning can promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Moreover, with this approach students are encouraged to conduct research to find answers, as opposed to being taught information by a teacher.
This type of learning encourages students to be active and engaged in their learning as they are encouraged to ask their own questions, explore answers, and find their own solutions.
- Students work together in designing and conducting a scientific experiment
- In history, students create a historical timeline of a particular event
- In English class, students put together and arrange a news report on a current event
- Students write a research paper on a chosen topic
- In Biology, students build a model of a cell or the solar system
Takeaway: There are endless possibilities for using inquiry-based learning and it can take on many different forms, but some common examples include scientific experiments, research projects, and field studies. This type of learning is often used in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) courses, but it can be used in any subject area.
3. Problem-based Learning
Problem-based learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which students learn by solving problems. This type of learning allows students to learn through active and hands-on engagement.
It also encourages students to think critically and to apply what they have learned to real-world situations. Likely, students are presented with a real-world problem to solve and they are to work together in small groups to find a solution.
Also, this is a highly-used approach in the K-12 curriculum as students learn through active engagement with the material and are honed to learn how to think critically and solve problems which are essential in the 21-century skills boost. Most importantly, this initiates students to learn how to work cooperatively.
- Asking students to design a new product
- Developing a marketing plan
- Research a historical event
- Conceptualizing practical solutions and innovative products
Takeaway: Problem-based learning can be used in a variety of subject areas to develop students’ critical thinking and collaborative skills and apply their knowledge to real-world situations. If you’re looking for a new way to spice up your classroom, PBL may be the perfect fit.
4. Socratic Method
Here’s another student-centered approach that helps build students’ critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.
The Socratic method is a method of questioning in which you ask a series of questions to determine the truth of a statement or proposition.
It allows us to pose questions and track student responses in real-time. Hence, we can use this approach for formative assessments, quizzes, exit tickets, and more.
Similarly, this approach also allows for student-led learning, as students can create their own quizzes and share them with classmates.
- Asking comprehension questions after reading a short story and making the discussions interactive
- Giving the summary of a text
- Conducting a panel discussion in the English class
Takeaway: The Socratic method is still widely used today because it encourages students to think quickly and develop their critical thinking skills. Moreover, when students are aware that you will be asking a series of questions, they come to school more prepared and attentive.
5. Integrative Learning
Integrative learning is an approach to education that emphasizes the connection between various academic disciplines. It is based on the idea that the world is best understood as a complex system, and that no single discipline can provide all the answers.
The goal of integrative learning is to help students see the world more holistically and to develop the skills they need to solve complex problems. This is achieved through a combination of collaborative learning, teaching, and student engagement.
With its best implementation in the classroom, integrative learning has been shown to improve critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. It is an important tool for preparing students for the real world.
- Use scientific content in the English class ( writing essays, writing sentences correctly)
- Ask students to connect the concepts to their real-life experiences (After reading a selection, the students will relate the theme to a real-life situation)
- Integrate the lesson and a lesson from other subject areas
Takeaway: Integrative learning creates meaningful learning experiences for the students so they develop a sense of values and self-direction. Also, with the integrations, students can figure out the connectivity of content and its relevance to real-life situations which provide opportunities for social commitment.
Practical Approaches to Increase Student Engagement
Practice active listening.
Keep track of your student’s comments and ask them to tell you more. Pay careful attention to how you react when they don’t do well on an assignment. When they’re stuck, figure out where they need help and guide them there.
Ask open-ended questions.
Asking questions is fundamental to teaching. It’s how we assess student understanding, prompt critical thinking, and encourage student collaboration. But not all questions have the same level of difficulty.
Open-ended questions are questions that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. They require students to think critically and to use evidence to support their answers. Ask your students, “How did it happen?” “Why do you think it happened?” It can spark discussions and conversations.
Always give them a choice.
Giving choices and alternatives is part of classroom management. More likely, students get excited to learn and avoid misbehaving if they enjoy the activities in the classroom.
Some students may prefer to learn through listening to lectures, while others may prefer more hands-on activities. Giving students a variety of activities from which to choose allows them to learn in the way that best suits their needs.
Provide feedback on class participation, not just their grades.
Students get interested to know how they participated in class. They need feedback and you can create a safe space if you give proper feedback in a way that will be helpful.
For example, if your students have done a project you’re proud of, and it’s not as good as they’ve planned, but it’s at least good enough to give them the credit they deserve, then give them feedback that this was a good idea.
Takeaway: pay attention to what works and what doesn’t work.
In order to improve your approaches, you need to analyze the results or end products to recognize what works and what doesn’t work. Is there a need to modify your strategies? Or will it be more effective to adopt a more effective one?
Positive results are more possible when you’re using tested and proven pedagogies. Hence, it’s best to collaborate with your fellows and seek help from experts when needed.
In other words, it’s more effective if you assess your teaching on a regular basis and make adjustments and modifications to ineffective ones. Also, recognizing that students learn in different ways creates an impact on your teaching pedagogies.
Teaching is most effective when students are deeply engaged in learning. The teaching pedagogies you use can either make or break students’ learning interests.
Thus, it’s always best to find ways that make students figure out what’s interesting about your subject through the different effective teaching pedagogies you use.
For effective teaching, I encourage you to explore different pedagogical approaches to increase student engagement so students can take an active role in their own learning.