João Silvestre

Profesor de inglés

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Different Teaching Approaches

I believe every teacher has his own method to teach, a different way to approach students in order to achieve the acknowledgement in the best way possible. This teaching method always depends on what fits with each person (educational philosophy, classroom demographic, subject area(s) and school mission statement) and it refers the general principles, pedagogy and management strategies used for classroom instruction.

With an emphasis on 21st century skills, teaching approaches have begun to take different shapes that cater to specific aspects of student learning. Because of the influence on 21st Century skills and technology, teaching theories can be organized into four categories: teacher- centered, student or leaner- centered, constructivists or inquiry based learning, and collaborative learning.

Advancements in technology have transformed the education sector in the last few decades. Many educators use computers and tablets in the classroom, and others may use the internet to assign homework. The internet is also beneficial in a classroom setting as it provides unlimited resources. Teachers may also use the internet in order to connect their students with people from around the world. In other hand, a more traditional low tech approach is still very used actually, as some learning styles require a physical presence and interaction between the teacher and the student. Some research has shown that low-tech classrooms may boost learning. For example, students who take handwritten notes have better recall than students who take typed notes. Ultimately, tailoring the learning experience to different types of learners is incredibly important, and sometimes students work better with a low-tech approach.

The teacher-centered approach, taken to its most extreme interpretation, makes teachers the main authority figure and the students are viewed as ‘empty vessels’ who passively receive knowledge from their teachers through lectures and direct instruction, with an end goal of positive results from testing and assessment. In this style, teaching and assessment are viewed as two separate entities and student learning is measured through objectively scored tests and assessments. I’m not very fond of this method to be honest.

As I said firstly, matching the teaching method with personal abilities and/or features is a crucial point. My personal features are more related to a student-centered approach, while teachers are still an authority figure but play with the student an equally active role in the learning process. The primary role is to coach and facilitate student learning and overall comprehension of material, and to measure student learning through both formal and informal forms of assessment, like group projects, student portfolios, and class participation. In the student-centered classroom, teaching and assessment are connected because student learning is continuously measured during teacher instruction.

Personally, I prefer to teach under an interactive/constructivist approach, where the students are encouraged to interact with me, the teacher, and with each other, promoting dialogues and increasing the most the ‘student talk’ rather than the ‘teacher talk’. With this, they are expected to construct knowledge and meaning out for what they are taught by connecting them to prior experience.
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