Give me examples of non-traditional teaching methods? With an explanation of each method and in use? "Especially the methods used in the teaching of English"
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A traditional discussion in an English classroom is a teacher-centered activity where the students all participate by answering teacher-asked questions in the hope of getting the "right answer" and pleasing the teacher, or in the hopes that they will say enough to get by and then the teacher, being the authority on the literature,will then lecture the meaning. These aren't really discussion because the teacher still ends up doing way more talking than all the students combined! There is little student interaction with each other. A non-traditional method would be a discussion circle of some fashion where only half of the class is in the inner circle and the other half are in the outer circle. The inner circle of students discuss the literature in question with NO GUIDANCE from the teacher. The outer circle of students observe and critique the ideas and the discussion behavior of the inner circle. This is a great way to ensure that the discussion is student-centered.
Non-traditional, in my opinion, comes out of the idea of constructivism (or having students "build" their own knowledge my working with concepts).
Key to this is activating prior knowlege (since there is already a schema in long term memory for this type of knowledge). Once we get that concept out on the workbench...we add to the topic by having students either work on a project or critically discuss the issues surrounding the idea.
It is essential with this type of teaching for the teacher take a back seat and change his/her role from a lecturer to a guide.
Inquiry learning is a non-traditional approach to the study of English. I give students a text, for example Frankenstein, and the students develop an inquiry based on their own summations of the text. Theyalso decide the mode of presentationof the outcome. One student may choose to give a seminar on cloning, another may choose to write a narrative emulating the gothic tradition, a third may present an animation on the context of Mary's Shelley's creation of the story. Without the limitations of a given outcome or framework (it is much easier to set a 1000 word essay on the character of Victor Frankenstein) their is more scope for originality and expression.
I use this unit with my gifted 13 and 14 year olds as an additional extension activity.
One non-traditional teaching method might involve teaching students to debate positions, even encouraging them to defend positions with which they do not necessarily themselves agree and/or to attack positions to which they are sympathetic. This was a method often used in the English Renaissance.
I absolutely agree that for this to happen, teachers must be a guide or reference, taking a back seat for themselves. Kagan activities are really useful for non-traditional methods, getting students out of their seats and talking to each other. One way is to have each student wear a sign on their back with a concept or idea which is important which they must guess correctly. The only clues they are given are the questions which other students ask them about the topic which are in fact clues to the answer card they are wearing. So, if a student wore a card with the word "hyperbole" on it, students might ask, "Are you hungry enough to eat your textbook?" or "Is this a huge exaggeration?" With enough clues, the student will come up with the term on the card he is wearing. It's great review for previously taught concepts before presenting new ones.
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