May 26th, 2020
Bringing about educational change has been described as trying to change a flat tire when the car is in motion. We can all agree; change is not very popular among schools. Education has happened the same way for so long, few are questioning it. Most assume this is the way it’s supposed to be.
But if we want to meet students where they are and enhance the learning experience, we need educators who are not afraid to try new ways to “make the classroom a safe place to create, ask questions, and fail to learn,” believes the founder of EdNews Daily, Robyn D. Shulman. “Teachers who provide activities that best engage, inspire and sustain students' love for learning are more likely to put in their best efforts, enjoy the process and find positive results,” she told Forbes.
It’s time we re-think how we approach teaching. In this article, we go over five innovative teaching methods to improve student engagement in the classroom and make teaching more entertaining.
Resilient Teacher surveyed educators on what innovation in education means to them and what’s the most innovative thing they’ve seen in the classroom. Here’s what they found out:
“Innovation in education is always seeking knowledge that will support new and unique ideas in instructional techniques that will reach the students in more effective and exciting ways.” – Mischelle
“Innovation in education is stepping outside of the box, challenging our methods and strategies in order to support the success of all students as well as ourselves. This transformation may be small or a complete overhaul, but it is done with purpose and supports the whole student.” – Whitney
“Innovation means keeping yourself educated about new trends and technology in education. For example, I incorporated STEM bins into my classroom because there is a huge push for more STEM-related activities in education. I think innovation is also being creative with the resources your given. Sometimes your building or district might not provide everything you need for a lesson so you need to be innovative and think on the fly of how you could make something work!” – Nadia
Here are the five ideas to make the classroom an innovative place for students to grow and lessons more engaging.
Digital Smart boards are 🌶 right now. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, use it to revolutionize the way you handle tasks, record attendance, teach and evaluate students, engage and prepare students for the digital world.
Tip: Connect a computer to a SMART Board and share PowerPoint presentations, videos or interactive websites in the classroom. No more turning your back to the class to write on dry-erase chalkboards—face students and keep their attention longer by making lessons more fun and interactive.
Teach students the importance of problem-finding, discussing ideas, and defending their arguments. Use brainstorming techniques to encourage students to think, ask critical questions, and use creativity to solve problems.
Brainstorming gives students the opportunity to seek out real solutions to real-life puzzles. According to Shulman, “By giving students real-world problems to tackle, fail and try again, we are telling students their voices matter. We have plenty of issues worth addressing that we can give to students for insight and opinion.”
Welcome to a new world of active and innovative learning.
TeachThought defines a flipped classroom as “a type of blended learning where students are introduced to content at home and practice working through it at school.” This is the reverse of what we have been used to—learning about a subject at school, then working on the homework at home.
What students can do at home in a flipped classroom:
Watch an online lecture
Review online course material
Participate in an online discussion
What students can do at school in a flipped classroom:
Skill practice (guided or unguided by the teacher)
In-person, face-to-face discussion with peers
Peer assessment and review
Teenagers love gadgets. They don’t go anywhere without their 📱. As educators, it’s our job to should focus on how we can put students’ passion for technology to good use.
Technology has equipped educators with a lot of tools to improve and innovate teaching methods. Digital storytelling “is a multimedia approach to sharing a narrative. Creators can combine video, photography, sound, text, music, and a narrative voice to share their stories in a digital media format.”
Tip: Ask students to create digital stories by collaborating in groups and taking on different roles such as the writer, director, editor, and narrator.
Letting kids take the teaching role and vice versa shows them what it means to be an educator and it’s a great way to encourage creativity and have fun in the classroom. Check out how two educators used this innovative teaching method in their class:
“My team teacher and I used guest teacher certificates as part of our reward system. Kids had 10-15 minutes to teach the class anything they wanted. It was amazing to see them get up in front of their peers and share their passions!” – Marlene
“My second graders grade their own tests using their tech devices. They get immediate feedback and take the time to understand the answers that are wrong.” – Jenifer
Students are most engaged when they participate in hands-on activities where they can collaborate and make use of technology. They lose their interest when listening to extensive teacher lectures or performing repetitive tasks.
Each of these five innovative teaching methods encourages students to question, research, and collaborate. Feel free to start with one and see how it works in your classroom.