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Instructional Strategies

Instructional Strategies:


General Outcomes:
The students will understand the designs of and rationales governing several methods of instruction.

Specific Learner Outcomes:
Upon successful completion of the unit, the student should be able to demonstrate the following techniques/strategies:
1. Developmental lessons
2. Show and perform lessons
3. Problem solving lessons
4. Cooperative grouping

  • Teacher-Directed/Developmental Lessons:
    The lesson that you have just developed in the Planning section of this curriculum was a developmental lesson. Teacher-directed lessons are one of the most common forms of instruction and one that every teacher needs to master successfully because they are the starting place for most other instructional strategies.
    Developmental lessons contain the 10 parts that you have just worked with. They are teacher directed and develop the focus point of the lesson through the use of carefully planned steps.
    Show and Perform Lessons:
    Show and perform lessons are used to demonstrate how a procedure is done. First, the teacher shows a skill. Next, a student tries to repeat what the teacher has shown. The rest of the class and the teacher help the student to do this. Then everyone practices the procedure until they have it mastered. This type of lesson works best in these types of classes:
    English - Writing
    Foreign Language
    However, it can be a part of a lesson in almost all subject areas.

  • Problem Solving Process:
    This format works well in science areas.
    1. Understand the problem
  • Identify the problem- unknown
    What are you asked to find/solve?
  • Known
    Define Terms
    Other previous knowledge
    Relevant/irrelevant information
  • Unknown
    Gather further information
    2. Devise a plan
    Sketch a picture or a diagram
    Determine operations
    Take a risk
  • Carry out the plan
    Write out steps
    Perform operations
    3. Evaluate

Is the problem solved?
Is it reachable?


This is how Mary O'Mears, creative director at Young & Rubicam in the sixties, answered that question from a high school student.

There is the sponge part: when you soak up all the information you can discover (and a lot of misinformation).
There is the shake part: when you shake the facts, question the problem and start to imagine all sorts of things.There is the squeeze part: when you wring out the sponge and scribble down the most promising splashes and driblets.
There is the bounce part: when you and another concerned with the problem toss embryonic ideas back and forth until only the fittest survive.
There is the scratch part: like the above, but now you scratch brain against brain hoping to spark a new notion.
There is the once-again-please part: when you examine the survivors in the cold light of reason, abandon most, and incubate a few in the warm darkness of imagination.
There is the dry part: when you quit thinking about the problem and turn your mind to pleasure or routine. (You only think you've stopped thinking.)
There is the yahoo part: when things connect and an idea pops into your head that turns out to be the key to the solution. Often this happens when you least expect it and aren't even thinking about the big problem.
There is the do part: when you use your particular talents and learned skills and those of others concerned to shape and form the raw idea into a proper solution.
Then there is the itch part: which maybe should come first instead of last. The drive to solve problems creatively -- with a new and original solution -- stems from some chronic itch; dissatisfaction with all existing solutions. Even when the latest may be your own.

Cooperative Groups:
Students work together in small groups to arrive at a common solution to a problem. They must work together and as a team to complete the assignment. Cooperative lessons must be carefully planned before they are started. Points to be considered are:

  • The size of the class
    -The size of each cooperative group. Harry Wong tells us that groups need to be sized according to the number of jobs to be done because each member must have a specific task. Examples of tasks might be: recording the group's responses, distributing and collecting papers and materials, speaking for the group, directing the group in step by step activities, reading the assignment and explaining it, etc.
    -The length of time needed to complete the task. You should be flexible about this as it may take more or less time then you counted on.
    -The teacher should set the groups and make sure that strong academic students are mixed with weaker one and that best friends are not always together. Students should be reminded that group work is the key in business and that they need to be prepared to work with many different types of individuals.

Variations on the theme of cooperative learning:
1. Numbered Heads Together:
Teacher has students count off within groups, so that each student has a number: 1, 2, 3, or 4. The teacher asks a question. The group convenes and makes sure each of the four members knows the answer. The teacher calls a number, and students with that number raise their hands to respond.
2. Think-Pair-Share:
Teacher provides a topic. Students first think by themselves. Students pair up and each pair discusses the topic. Then pairs share their thoughts with the class.
3. Team Word-Webbing:
Four or five students write simultaneously on a large piece of paper or on the board, providing main concepts, supporting elements, and bridges representing the relationship between ideas in a concept.
4. Jigsaw:
Each student of a four- or five-member team becomes an "expert" on one topic by working with members from other teams assigned the same topic. (For example, topics for a section on geography might be location, landforms, regions, climate, and rivers.) Upon returning to their teams, students take turns teaching the group about their topics. Students are quizzed on all aspects of the topic. There are only individual grades, no team score. (See Slavin, R.E. Cooperative Learning: Theory, Research, and Practice. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990.)
5. Student Teams-Achievement Divisions (STAD):
Teacher presents lesson. Then students in four- or five- member heterogeneous teams help each other master material. Students take individual quizzes. Students' quiz scores are compared to their own past averages, and points are awarded based on the degree to which students can meet or exceed their own earlier performances. These points are then summed to form team scores, and teams that meet certain criteria earn certificates or other rewards. This system gives students equal opportunities to contribute maximum points to their teams. (See Slavin.)
6. Teams-Games-Tournament (TGT):
Same as STAD, but tournaments replace quizzes. The primary function of the team is to prepare its members to do well in the tournament. Students compete at tournament tables with two or three members of other teams of their own ability level. The winner at each table earns the same number of points for his or her team. This assures achievers of different ability levels equal opportunity for success. (see Slavin.)
7. Group Investigation:
Groups are formed according to common interest in a topic. Students plan, research, and divide learning assignments among members. Group members then synthesize or summarize their findings and present their topic to the entire class. (See Sharan, S., and Sharan, Y. Small Group Teaching. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications, 1976.)

Teaching for Different Learning Styles:
Students must first be aware of the different learning styles. They should determine their own style(s) before continuing with this section. There are many diagnostic tools for identifying learning styles.

Students can access http://www2.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/RMF.html

Dr. Richard Felder's homepage and take a learning style survey or use any learning style determiner. Once they have a clear understanding of the styles, they can go back to their lessons developed in any of the proceeding sections and identify or add activities to provide for different learning styles.

  • Although Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences (MI) is over a decade old, teachers are still trying to find the best way to use this theory to assess students with different styles of learning and varied academic strengths. Multiple Intelligences shape the way students understand, process, and use information.
    Gardner groups student capabilities into eight broad categories.
  • Logical/mathematical (uses numbers effectively)
  • Visual/spatial (is artistically or spatially perceptive)
  • Bodily/kinesthetic (excels at tasks that require physical movement)
  • Musical (perceives and/or expresses musical forms and patterns)
  • Linguistic (uses words effectively)
  • Interpersonal (responds well to others)
  • Intrapersonal (is reflective and inner-directed)
  • Naturalist (makes distinctions in the natural world)


    Take the Index of learning styles Questionaire, and discover your learning styles. What are your learning styles? Is this accurate? Read Learning styles and strategies. Elaborate on a strategy that you will use to help improve on your own learning process.


Answer sheet


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