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Instructional Strategies

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Instructional Strategies Grand Canyon University: TCH 524
October 9, 2013

"The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery." ~Mark Van Doren

Assisting all the possible discoveries of students are the teachers, who, through the many means of instruction and instructional strategies, guide them in their curiosity, creativity and self-discovery. Students are learning through whole group lessons in the direct instruction strategy, encouraged to observe and problem solve through indirect instruction and are stimulated to engage themselves in the active learning experiences of experiential instruction. Teachers are challenged to incorporate the most beneficial means of instruction for each lesson so that the students in their classes become higher-order thinkers, able to apply all they have learned to each new experience in their life.
Direct Instruction:
Teacher-initiated and directed whole class learning (Orlich, D. C., Harder, R. J., Callahan, R. C., Trevisan, M. S., Brown, A. H., & Miller, D. E., 2013, 348). The direct instruction strategy is a common method of delivering content, usually fundamental knowledge, to the whole class at one time. The learning objectives are typically built upon sequentially, moving through a set path of steps in order to get to the final objective. This method of instruction is beneficial to the teacher because it requires less preparation time, the teacher maintains the attention of the class and the objectives are reached in a timelier manner than that of the indirect or experiential instruction, where students are encouraged to take their time discovering the different aspects of the lesson.

Indirect Instruction:
Students are drawn to learn, seeking information and knowledge for themselves through significant, functional, and thorough means such as group investigations, guided or unguided inquiry and problem solving, just to name a few (natashalcd, 2011). Through Indirect Instruction students are allowed more time to explore the various possibilities of the lesson, taking advantage of the student’s natural curiosities, because it is geared to a slower pace than that of direct instruction. The learning environment is student centered and flexible, taking into account the many types of learners, promoting participation through questioning, observation, and hands-on experiences. This is an active learning experience that supports creative development and reduces fear of wrong answers (natashalcd, 2011, 6) because students are involved in the discovery and are encouraged through questioning. In contrast to the direct instruction strategy, indirect instruction is mainly student-centered, although the two strategies can complement each other (Indirect Instruction, n.d.).
Experiential Instruction:
Students take an active role in learning, instead of being lectured to, like in direct instruction; they participate in the content being studied. Teaching approaches for experiential instruction include activities that incorporate problem solving skills, engage higher-order thinking, and encourage students to take risks (natashalcd, 2011, 45). The teacher is responsible for designing lessons that include active participation and concrete experiences in which the students can discover generalizations from experiences (natashalcd, 2011, 37) and apply their learning to new and different situations, thus creating the experiential learner.

Questioning plays a critical role in teaching (Orlich, et al., 2013, 212). When teachers use questions to stimulate student thinking (Orlich, et al., 2013, 212), creativity, curiosity, and reflectivity are encouraged. If a teacher asks low-level type questions, then he/she can expect to receive simple answers from their students. When teachers ask the higher- level questions, it invokes the thoughtful, problem solving type of thinking.
There are many different questioning strategies that teachers can use during instruction.
Convergent strategy: This strategy is used for students to answer fact based questions with short/one-word responses to the low-level inquiries of the teacher. The convergent strategy is great when used in the appropriate way such as: vocabulary review, spelling skills or for generating participation through verbal responses.
Divergent strategy: This strategy is the opposite of the previous strategy above. Various students respond to the teachers’ prompt, leading to longer, more elicit replies that encourage classroom discussions. Listening skills are modeled by the teacher and improved upon as student’s wait respectfully for their own turn to speak and add to the conversation.
Evaluative Strategy: This strategy comes straight from the divergent strategy; however, the additional factor is that of evaluation. The strategy incorporates “built-in” standards of evaluation, in which the teacher has developed through planning, that encourage the students to respond in a way that demonstrates a broad range of thought (Orlich, et al., 2013, 220) along with the logical development of their reply.
Reflective Strategy: The goal of the reflective strategy is to encourage students to actively cultivate higher-order thinking by stimulating their thought processes through reflective questioning, not through the “wh” questions that are used in the evaluative strategy. This strategy also requires additional planning time of the teacher.
According to the textbook, Teaching Strategies: A Guide to Effective Instruction, there are several reasons to include questioning within the learning environment of the classroom (Orlich, et al., 2013, 234). * Increases motivation to learn. * Improves comprehension and retention. * Encourages creativity and innovation. * Teaches how to think and learn. * Provides a basis for problem solving and decision making.
Advance Organizer Model:
Complex concepts that are hard to teach can be effectively introduced and structured through an advance organizer. Lessons are structured in a hierarchical order, so that the students gain the knowledge of each part and subsequently understand the relationship amongst each part, increasing their motivation to learn because of the understanding (Orlich, et al., 2013). With the understanding comes content differentiation, where the concept is divided further, into smaller bits, so that it may be learned and categorized by the students. Finally, the students will integrate the categories through their understanding of how they relate to the main concept and how the underlying facts may be different or similar (Orlich, et al., 157) amongst the ideas shared.
Concept Mapping: A concept map is a special form of a web diagram for exploring knowledge and gathering and sharing information (Concept Mapping, n.d.). Each concept, item or question is diagramed, using a bubble or cell to surround it, and are linked together with arrows that are labeled, explaining the relationship between each bubble or cell. The diagram, when completed correctly, should read like a sentence. The reader starts at a bubble and follows the arrows around, reading the concept and descriptors.
Technology is a very important integration to any and all lessons, when possible. With the appropriate planning, even though the requirement of extra time and effort by the teacher are necessitated, technology can add a multitude of benefits to the learning environment. The computer itself has a way of motivating the learners, making it possible for them to create quality products and presentations for class. The students are encouraged to experiment with the various formatting concepts with text and imaging, collaborate on, present, and distribute classroom projects in a variety of forms and through multiple network venues using Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, Wikis, and social spaces (Orlich, et al., 2013, 102). The students also use the internet as a means of conducting specific research, giving them the ability to search longer, in a broader, more advanced way.

Concept mapping. (n.d.). Retrieved from conceptmapping.htm
Indirect instruction. (n.d.). Retrieved from indirectinstruction.htm
Natashalcd. (January 18, 2011). The indirect & experiential instruction strategies. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from
Orlich, D. C., Harder, R. J., Callahan, R. C., Trevisan, M. S., Brown, A. H., & Miller, D. E., (2013). Teaching strategies: A guide to effective instruction (10th ed.). Belmont, CA. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.…...

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