February 21, 2015
Instructional strategies, according to Alberta Learning, are “techniques teachers use to help students become independent, strategic learners. These strategies become learning strategies when students independently select the appropriate ones and use them effectively to accomplish tasks or meet goals.” the strength of instructional strategies is that they determine how teachers can go about realizing their teaching objectives.
Instructional strategies are derived from different educational theories. Here some examples of 4 key instructional strategies as identified by Gayla S. Keesse :
1- Direct Instruction
This is what some refer to as the traditional method. Direct instruction is primarily teacher centred and consists of direct lecturing or vertical teaching. It is a form of explicit teaching that consists of repetitive practice, didactic questioning, drill and demonstration. This strategy is particularly useful for ‘providing information, or developing step-by-step skills.'
As its name indicates, this strategy consists of creating learning environments conducive to interactions and discussions. It posits that learning takes place through interactive communication of knowledge and this interaction can happen in different forms including: open or closed group discussions, collaborative project work, whole class discussions …etc
3- Experiential learning
One of the seminal works in experiential learning is Dewey’s "Experience and Education". This strategy highlights the primacy of the process of learning over the product of learning. The purpose is to enhance students motivation and increase their retention rates by connecting classroom learning to their lifeworlds. This can happen through engaging students in reflexive thinking about their own experiences and how to leverage what they learned in the past in new contexts.
Gayla defines this strategy as “the range of instructional methods which are purposefully provided to foster the development of individual student initiative, self-reliance, and self-improvement. Independent study can also include learning in partnership with another individual or as part of a small group.”
Read Gayla’s post for more information on each of these strategies. There are also several other instructional strategies that were not mentioned in her work, here is a one-page PDF from Deming Intermediate School containing more than 40 examples: