Why is there no one best teaching method?
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There is no one teaching method that is best because students are very different from one another and so are teachers. For a teaching method to work, it has to be appropriate for both the students and the teacher. (And for the subject matter as well.)
Different students like to learn in different ways. Some respond well to doing things. Others respond better to being told things. Different teachers have different strengths and different likes. It is very hard to teach using a method that does not suit what you, as a teacher, are good at. Therefore, it is better for different teachers to teach in the ways that are compatible with their skills and their style.
When you have something as individual as learning and teaching, it is impossible to have one method that is better than all the others. Some methods will work for some students and teachers, but not for others.
It is true that there is no one teaching method that is best. Teachers need to be trained in a variety of methods. Teaching is a complex art, and the more methods a teacher has the better he or she will be able to use the right one at the right time. There are times when a certain method will work better because of the students involved or the topic.
For example, there are times when direct instruction will work best for the topic and class. This might be because the students work best when something is directly explained or because the content is specific as to information or steps. Other topics and students might be better suited to exploratory methods, where students discover the content through hands-on exploration.
I read something today that was wonderful and addressed this topic quite well. They summed up their teaching philosophy as:
The kids are alive.
There can't ever be one great teaching strategy because kids are all different and they learn in reaction to their environment, which is also different for every child. They learn in reaction to each other and different teaching methods will help foster this learning in different ways, many of them valid and appropriate and helpful even if they differ widely in practice.
I completely agree with the above posts, and want to emphasize the teacher component here. While I know and practice many different "methods" in my classroom, ultimately, I have to be comfortable in my own skin as the leader of the instruction. I have to know which skills I am focusing on in a lesson and choose what I am most comfortable with. That is NOT an excuse for always doing the same thing everyday or for never trying something new, but even though one teacher may have great success teaching poetry by bringing out the guitar and singing ballads to his class doesn't mean I am going to be willing, or more frankly, able to the same. The lesson would be pure torture for all involved. One teacher may be super successful with facilitating a literature circle activity, but another may never be comfortable assessing such a completely student-centered activity. Teachers teach best, and students learn best, when the teacher is 100% invested in what is happening in the classroom.
Just to underscore the cogent point made in Post #5, when I was a neophyte, I tried to imitate a veteran who was very success ful and I failed at my attempt. We all must find our niche. Some of us do better as authoritarian types who elicit the respect of students. Others of us do better when we cajole students into become interested in the learning process by first winning their hearts. We must be ourselves, so that we are genuinely and totally genuine in our words and actions.
Every teacher is different and has his/her own strengths. One cannot teach anothers lesson; he must teach to his own strengths. I personally am a bit annoyed at so called "model lessons" when others attempt to teach them ver batim. The end result is disaster.
Not only teachers, but students are different. They have different learning styles, methods and degrees of understanding, and value judgments, which often come into play. Education cannot be a "one size fits all" concept. The effective teacher is the teacher who can adjust his/her teaching methods for the needs of his students as his/her teaching strengths best allow.
I agree with the above responses. Teaching and learning are both complex. With that said, I think that teachers who differentiate their content, process, and product can indeed increase the odds of being effective. Differentiating speaks to the complexity written above. It is a strategy-not really a method- that requires an awareness of individual needs and interests. Granted, there is much lip service paid to the word "differentiate.' And while there is a wealth of research-based methodologies for "Best Practices,' there really is no such animal.
I agree with most of what's being said, but it can't be about the teacher. There are things that I prefer to do in class, but I have to look at the needs of the class and the individuals in the class. It can't be about what I like or how I'm most comfortable. There's also no one correct way, because on any given day something that works might not be effective the next time. It all depends on the day, the activity, the student and what's going on at that moment in time.
Because there are actually different students who respond differently to different methods and even just different adults. There is no way that anyone will be the perfect teacher for everyone, it is simply impossible.
There is no one best teaching method because their are so many different learning styles and personalities that go into being the teacher are the learner. I have found through experience that the best teaching method is to include many strategies to reach all learners, model and practice a lot with students, make their learning meaningful and relevant, and review/skill and drill.
My students love the variety of teaching methods that I incorporate along with the fact that I demand participation. To do this you have to create a safe learning environment in which they feel comfortable to mess up if they do. I build on their confidences and see them grow along the way.
I must say that there is no one best teaching method because all of our students do not learn the same way. Yes, we have students that learn best through manipulatives, some through traditional methods (actually reading the texts and taking notes), some through osmosis (believe me, I laugh too), and others that simply fail to accept anything that we provide them with. Will anyone ever find the perfect teaching method? I do not believe so; our students are simply too different. So, what is the solution? Find something that works only for you. Don't be worried about "THE" perfect method for everyone, because, like students, many teachers are different as well. Instead, like I said before, find something that works perfectly for YOU. Pay attention to what your students respond to, what they fail to respond to, and what they excel at. If something is not working, do not be afraid to scrap the unit or lesson. The perfect method is one that simply WORKS.
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