5 Teaching Strategies for the Classroom

5 Teaching Strategies for the Classroom
Carol Ann Tomlinson states, “No practice is truly a best practice unless it works for the individual learner.”  With that in mind, I have assembled a table showing 5 teaching strategies I feel would be most effective in teaching the gifted in a classroom, along with their characteristics, and why I recommend them.  These practices provide multiple approaches to content, process and product, key elements to well-rounded curriculum.

My Recommendations
Cooperative Learning/Group Investigations
A teaching activity in which the teacher purposively uses small group interaction to forward new learning and accomplish academic and social tasks.
Groups should be flexible, ideally 3-5 students, created by teacher, by students or needs-based.  It’s important to set group standards & have students self-reflect on their participation and groups’ function. 
Benefits: Collaboration among students; deeper thinking and understanding; enhanced feelings of empathy for others.
Differentiated Instruction
Student-centered whereby teachers provide appropriately challenging learning experience for all students.  Provides multiple approaches to content, process, and product.  Assessment is ongoing to develop next steps.  Purposeful student movement/talking. Flexible grouping. 
Students become engaged learners when they are appropriately challenged with meaningful lessons.  This method creates a reasonable range of approaches to learning much of the time so that most of the students find learning a fit most of the time.
Benefits: Students take responsibility for own growth /needs.  Collaboration between teacher/students ongoing to develop appropriate lessons.  Builds on what students already know. 
Simulation / Role Playing
An inductive teaching method in which students assume roles of people engaged in complex, real-life situations. / The involvement of students as participants and observers in a simulation of a real-world situation.
Students learn best by emulating real life.  Simulation is an effective method for making real-world situations, past or present, come to life for students as they become part of the event.  Role-playing is fairly easy to employ and can be used across multiple subject areas with a fairly quick preparation time, depending on the complexity of the task.
Sim. Benefits: Increased likelihood that concepts and principles induced from the simulation will be transferred and applied to the real world.

RP Benefits: Growth and understanding as it relates to content; students’ understanding of others’ beliefs and values; problem-solving skills.

Inquiry-based learning
An inductive teaching strategy in which the teacher poses a task, problem, or intriguing situation, while students explore the situation across small changes in the data set, and generate insights about the problem and/or solution.
Inquiry-based learning uses real-life issues with real-life data to solve problems.  Closed inquiry gives the teacher control of the question.  Open inquiry gives control of the question to the student/s.  
Benefits: Increased self-awareness; awareness of different points of view; enhanced curiosity; increased understanding of concepts and principles; enhanced ability to solve problems.

Creative Problem Solving & Problem-Based Learning
An inductive teaching method in which the teacher presents an ill-structured, novel, and complex problem for students to investigate and solve collaboratively with teacher guidance and coaching.
This would be the most ambitious method, but allows for the most autonomy for the students.  Because of the ill-structured nature of the problem, data and resources may not be readily available, creating additional challenges.  The teacher is truly a mentor or guide as students follow a scientific method approach of problem solving.
Benefits: Acquisition of new knowledge, concepts, and principles; enhanced problem-solving ability.

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