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Instructional Methods Information

Part 2

Dr. Bob Kizlik

January 24, 2018

This is a continuation of the Instructional Methods Part 1. As such, the heading information is really the same, so...Instructional methods and teaching methods mean the same thing. Teaching strategies, for all practical purposes, means the same thing. Regardless of what we call such processes, they are primarily descriptions of the learning objective-oriented activities and flow of information between teachers and students. Although some may argue otherwise, to split hairs over whether such methods are meaningfully different adds nothing to the process of learning to be a teacher. Direct and indirect instruction are two main categories that many educators find useful for classifying teaching methods, but it is, as you will see, a bit more complicated than placing all instruction into two categories. Any instructional method a teacher uses has advantages, disadvantages, and requires some preliminary preparation. Often times, a particular teaching method will naturally flow into another, all within the same lesson, and excellent teachers have developed the skills to make the process seamless to the students. Which instructional method is "right" for a particular lesson depends on many things, and among them are the age and developmental level of the students, what the students already know, and what they need to know to succeed with the lesson, the subject-matter content, the objective of the lesson, the available people, time, space and material resources, and the physical setting. Another, more difficult problem is to select an instructional method that best fits one's particular teaching style and the lesson-situation. There is no one "right" method for teaching a particular lesson, but there are some criteria that pertain to each that can help a teacher make the best decision possible. The following teaching or instructional methods relate to the instruction part of the ADPRIMA Instruction System. The methods are not listed in a preferred sequence, no hierarchy of putative superiority of method is intended, and obviously, not all are appropriate for all grades and subject matter content areas.

Small Group Discussion

Allows for participation of everyone
Students often more comfortable in small groups
Groups can reach consensus

Needs careful thought as to purpose of group
Groups may get side tracked

Needs careful thought as to purpose of group
Groups may get side tracked

Case Studies

Develops analytic and problem solving skills
Allows for exploration of solutions for complex issues
Allows student to apply new knowledge and skills

Students may not see relevance to own situation
Insufficient information can lead to inappropriate results
Not appropriate for elementary level students

Teacher has to define problem situation and roles clearly
Teacher must give very clear instructions


Pools ideas and experiences from group
Effective after a presentation, film or experience that needs to be analyzed
Allows everyone to participate in an active process

practical Not practicalwith more that 20 students
A few students can dominate
Some students may not participate
Is time consuming
Can get off the track

Requires careful planning by the teacher to guide the discussion toward the lesson objective
Requires preparation of a question outline

Worksheets and Surveys

Allows students to think for themselves without being influenced by others
Individual thoughts can then be shared in large group

Can be used only for short period of time

Teacher has to prepare handouts

Computer Simulations

Students can work independently
Abundant selection of simulation software in many subjects, especially the sciences and social studies
Effects of decisions can be readily seen and evaluated
Transfer of learning to different subjects may be facilitated

Computer software for simulations can be expensive
Some students may be easily distracted by the medium at the  expense of the subject matter
Not suitable for some subject matter areas such as mathematics

Teacher must make sure the simulation relates to a lesson or unit objective
Teacher must have "plan B" ready in case the simulation is not as expected

Independent Study

Learning skills developed have impressive staying power
Students can learn to increase the rate at which they understand new material
There is a greater opportunity for transfer of learning to other subjects
Increased opportunities for students to problem solve what is needed to learn intended content (prerequisites)
Students may learn how to pace learning and thereby gain self-confidence

Distractions are always a possibility -- requires self-discipline
Appropriate materials may not be available or accessible
Not appropriate for certain age groups such as students below grade four, or  for highly complex subject matter such as physics, which require a good deal of explanatio

Develop plan to monitor and collect feedback about independent study activities for each student
Provide appropriate resources that are connected to the subject matter in question
Provide plan to provide feedback to students during the course of independent study

Guest Speakers

Can provide a dynamic and engaging presence
Can personalize a topic to make it more interesting and/or chalenging
Often breaks down an audience's stereotypes

May not be a good speaker
Can inadvertently present information not appropriate for the age and maturity of the aduience

Contact speakers and coordinate
Interview speakers before making commitment
Inform students about the speaker before the presentation
Make an appropriate introduction

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Robert Kizlik & Associates

Boca Raton, Florida