Theory, Approach, Method, Techniques in Teaching and Learning English

Theory of Teaching
Enjoy and accomplish more
John Dewey, an American philosopher, and perhaps the most influential educator of the 20th century, once wrote, " Since growth is the characteristic of life, education is all one with growing; it has no end beyond itself. The criterion of the value of school education is the extent in which it creates a desire for continued growth and supplies means for making the desire effective in fact." (Democracy and Education)
I believe the goal of education is essentially a process of creating lifelong learners through developing within the student a continued desire to learn. This means that individuals engage themselves in the role of an active learner through their own intrinsic motivation, to expand and grow, making the most for himself, his surroundings, and circumstances. Where can we begin?
It is on the grounds of developing a student's Receptivity that the educational process begins. This is accomplished within a few basic principles: Awakening student interest, Teaching by example, and Presenting profound content within the discipline.
Awakening student interest
During my early field experience I discovered through interviewing that Art was the favorite class among many students. Students said it was "engaging," but they weren't clear as to the purpose of taking Art in school.
I understand why the students were engaged. Creating art is so enjoying to life because it is the expression of one's self, the expression of life. The student as an artist puts his heart, mind, and feelings into his creation and this is enjoyable because he is expressing his self, his love and his happiness. In his engagement, the student stands as a creator, however so small. As creator and being an embodiment of creation himself, on some level then he is telling through his art, from his heart, the story of creation.
On the other hand, without a purpose, without an aim for achievement and fulfillment, there is no receptivity. It is good to always bring out the value of what the students are learning. What is the purpose of this? Why is this useful and interesting? By knowing this we awaken student interest.
I believe its good to begin class with a question, something that relates the topic being taught to something in the students' lives. For example, I might explain to students how music videos involve a great array of artists: musicians, choreographers, set and clothing designers, graphic artists, light crews, photographers and film artists, and the computer people who put it all together. Do these artists whether it be in the clothes, sets, lights, etc. create a mood or project a feeling within a video? How can you create a composition that will portray a particular mood?
Whereas Dewey emphasized the idea of 'Reflective Thought' where students connect and evaluate new knowledge in light of their own existing understanding, I would like to develop my teaching style around lessons that use Problem-based learning. This approach is student-centered, intrinsically motivated, and it allows the students to develop self-directed learning through investigating and experimenting in a variety of art media. Answers vary and students' creativity is enhanced.
Teaching by example
As teachers we hold many roles, but mainly, we are models for the students. They are influenced by whom we are. The standards we set, they follow. Our attitude should always be uplifting and nourishing to the student while we guide them toward knowledge, action, achievement, and fulfillment.
I was fortunate enough to have a cooperating teacher, Mr. Evans, who greeted each student with a handshake and a smile as they entered his classroom. If he missed a student, the student would come and say "Mr. Evans you forgot to shake my hand." Then with a bigger smile, and firmer handshake, Mr. Evans replied, "Well I'm sorry. How are you doing today?"
Just this simple expression of love and a smile toward the students encouraged them at the very start. This is how to enliven receptivity. We should always project calm steadiness. Never judge a student on the basis of his negativity.
I had one student during my student teaching that worked quietly, but with a poor attitude. As with many students I would make suggestions as to how to make technical improvements in her work, but in each instance I received nothing more than shrugged shoulders and a huff. In asking my cooperating teacher I discovered her home life was not ideal. So I began altering my approach to her by deciding that more important than improving in a technical skill that she'll probably never use out of this class, I began to make less suggestions and focus more on her happiness in class. It worked great. I continually complimented her work without being attached to the product. 'Enjoy and accomplish more'. Once she realized I was less concerned with the end product and more on her personal development, she began to smile at me and actually bring her work to show me how proud of it she was.
As an Art Teacher it is very important that I remain positive and never do anything to damage the fine feelings of my students. I'm not so concerned about teaching technical skills as with many Art Teachers, but more with cultivating a continued desire for learning by developing the student and the process of creating.
Art work by Abigail Armstrong 6th grade
Presenting profound content
'What we see we become.' It is very important that in developing receptivity we present content in our discipline that is profound, enriching, and uplifting. This doesn't mean we don't teach students about the wars and hardships of man, but we do it in a way that emphasizes higher values for the students to follow. They are exposed each day to negativity and violence. Why focus on it in the classrooms?
For example, instead of telling students how Vincent Vangogh cut off his ear in rage through an argument with a friend and how he lived in an asylum, I would explain how Vangogh was one of the most famous artists. He had an awesome way of seeing color and an amazing ability to capture what he saw quickly with great texture and excitement.
Students are looking for heroes. We see this in the movies, 'Spiderman', 'Star Wars', and 'Men in Black'. Give students heroes within each discipline in school. In presenting profound knowledge, introduce students to the great people in that field. Seeing that there is a living embodiment of the highest qualities of man, the student might become convinced that he too could rise to that level of greatness in his own life.
I believe the goal of education is essentially a process of creating lifelong learners through developing within the student a continued desire to learn. This is achieved by starting with the development of the students' receptivity; awakening student interest, teaching by example, and presenting profound content. This is the beginning to fostering a continued desire for growth in and outside the classroom.

A glossary of selected teaching approaches and


Crib sheet A provides an overview of the characteristics of a learning activity.

Description of a Learning Activity

An interaction between a learner or learners and an environment (optionally including content

resources, tools and instruments, computer systems and services, ‘real world’ events and objects) that

is carried out in response to a task with an intended learning outcome (Beetham 2004)

Learning activities are achieved through completion of a series of tasks in order to achieve intended

learning outcomes. We have defined the components which constitute a learning activity as:

The context within which the activity occurs

; this includes the subject, level of difficulty, the

intended learning outcomes and the environment within which the activity takes place. Learning

outcomes are mapped to Bloom’s taxonomy of learning outcomes and grouped into three types:

cognitive, affective and psychomotor and are what the learners should know, or be able to do, after

completing a learning activity; for example they might be required to be able to: understand,

demonstrate, design, produce or appraise.

The learning and teaching approaches adopted.

These are grouped according to Mayes and

de Frietas’ (2004) three categories – associative, cognitive and situative.

The tasks undertaken

, which specifies the type of task, the (teaching) techniques used to support

the task, any associated tools and resources, the interaction and roles of those involved and the

assessments associated with the learning activity.

The glossary defines a selected few teaching approaches and techniques where we feel a little

explanation may be of use to the practitioner.

Web page: Mayes, T. and S. de Freitas (2004). Review of e-learning frameworks, models and theories:

JISC e-learning models desk study, JISC.


Web page:

Beetham, H. (2004). Review: developing e-learning models for the JISC pracititioner

communities: a report for the JISC e-pedagogy programme, JISC.

(under work package 1)

Acknowledgement: This document has been repurposed from the work of Karen Fill of the

DialogPlus project.

A glossary of selected teaching approaches and techniques


Action research

With the Action research model, real world problems are discussed and experiences shared, leading to

action and creative solutions.

Web page:

Action Research Guide

Book: Marquardt, M. J., (1999)

Action Learning in Action, Consulting Psychologists Press.

Active learning

Active learning requires that students do things and think about what they are doing.


Active Learning in Higher Education

Reference: Stiles, M.J., and Orsmond, P., Managing Active Student Learning with a Virtual Learning

Environment., in

Educational Development Through Information and Communications Technologies,

Fallows, S.J.and Bhanot, R., Kogan Page, 2002

Active Learning


Activity theory

Activity theory, based on the work of Vygotsky, consists of a set of basic principles [which] include

object-orientedness, the dual concepts of internalization/externalization, tool mediation, hierarchical

structure of activity, and continuous development.

Source and further information:

Activity Theory pages, Carbon, M. (2004)

Answer Garden

A form of vicarious learning originating in the 1990 paper by Ackerman and Malone. Answer gardens

are developed in which "snapshots" of learning can be reused. For example concepts or problems discussed

can be added to an answer garden to allow these ideas and concepts for further development.

Source: M.S. Ackerman, T. W. Malone. Answer Garden: A Tool for Growing Organizational Memory.Proc.

of the Conference on Office Information Systems,Cambridge,MA,1990


As embraced by the UK's Modern Apprenticeship schemes, apprenticeship can be described as "a social

theory of learning in which young learners (newcomers) are conceptualised as 'legitimate peripheral

participants' who learn by participating first peripherally and gradually more fully in communities of

practitioners", Unwin, L.,

Lifelong learning in workplace settings: the case of the young worker

See also: Fuller, Alison and Unwin, Lorna (2003)

Creating a Modern Apprenticeship: a critique of the

UK's multi-sector, social inclusion approach.

Journal of Education and Work, 16 (1), 5-25.

Web page:

Presentations & papers from the International Conference on apprenticeship, London,

January 2004.

Articulate reasoning

Students articulate reasoning via writing, speaking etc.


Associative Learning & Teaching approaches rely on linking recognition of past situations and/or

experiences to establish and build on rules and/or processes that have previously produced satisfying


A glossary of selected teaching approaches and techniques



Behaviourist approaches are based on the work of Pavlov, Watson, Skinner and the concepts of 'operant

conditioning' and 'shaping behaviour'. More recently, Gagne's work in the field of instructional design

has been influential. For further information see: Gagne, R. M. (1992)

Principles of instructional design.

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 4th edition.

There is much debate about the advantages and disadvantages of the teacher-centredness of the

behavioural approach. See for example Section 4 in

this online paper.


Cognitive Learning & Teaching approaches attempt to integrate new learning into the learner's existing

knowledge base.

Cognitive apprenticeship

"In addition to the traditional apprenticeship’s three primary components of modeling, coaching, and

fading, Cognitive Apprenticeships have the instructor verbalize the activity while they are modeling it

and verbally coach the student during her completion of the task." Seitz, R., short paper,



Cognitive scaffolding

Cognitive scaffolding is a teaching strategy that was cleverly named for the practical resemblance it

bears to the physical scaffolds used on construction sites. The strategy consists of teaching new skills

by engaging students collaboratively in tasks that would be too difficult for them to complete on their

own. The instructor initially provides extensive instructional support, or scaffolding, to continually assist

the students in building their understanding of new content and process. Once the students internalize

the content and/or process, they assume full responsibility for controlling the progress of a given

task. The temporary scaffolding provided by the instructor is removed to reveal the impressive permanent

structure of student understanding (Herber and Herber, 1993, pp. 138-139).



Collaborative learning

Collaborative learning is "an instruction method in which students at various performance levels work

together in small groups toward a common goal. The students are responsible for one another's

learning as well as their own. Thus, the success of one student helps other students to be successful."

Gokhale, A. A. (1995)

Collaborative Learning Enhances Critical Thinking, Journal of Technology



Web page:

Collaborative Learning Theory

Communities of practice

Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger used the term ‘communities of practice’ to refer to an organisational

phenomenon they identified as being a feature of the development of social groupings that had a particular

need or desire to transfer skills and practices from one member to another (Lave and Wenger:

1991). Examples of CoPs include the organisations of Ancient Greek craftsmen and the medieval guilds

of Europe. In such communities, apprentices learned from their masters until they were competent

enough to work on their own account, eventually becoming masters themselves. Perhaps the most frequently

cited modern CoP is that of the Xerox photocopier repair technicians (Brown and Duguid: 1991)

who were the focus of research by Julian Orr (1996). Arguably, Orr’s original work remains the most

definitive on communities of practice, despite the fact that he never used the term, he referred to them

as the ‘technician community’ or the ‘service community’. But exactly what is a community of practice?

Lave and Wenger initially described a community of practice as: ‘a set of relations among persons, activity

and world, over time and in relation with other tangential and overlapping CoPs’ (1991). The idea

A glossary of selected teaching approaches and techniques


is further developed in subsequent publications by Wenger and is, essentially, a social entity recognised

as such by its members who are bound together in a sense of joint enterprise that emerges from a mutual

understanding of a problem, or issue, and a desire and commitment to solve it. The ‘copier technicians,

for example, were presented with a common set of technical problems they would take as a collective

challenge to their intellectual capacity as problem solvers. Through their participation in this

self-organised joint solution making, individuals gain a sense of shared identity with fellow technicians

in an occupational community focused on its work and not the organisation that employed them. Later,

the concept becomes much more aligned with knowledge management, and their function or purpose is

described as building and exchanging knowledge, and developing the capabilities of the membership. In

contrast, the purpose of a team is to accomplish a given task, and that for a work group is to deliver a

product or service (Wenger and Snyder: 2000).


According to Etienne Wenger (1998), a community of practice defines itself along three dimensions:

• What it is about – its joint enterprise as understood and continually renegotiated by its members.

• How it functions - mutual engagement that bind members together into a social entity.

• What capability it has produced – the shared repertoire of communal resources (routines, sensibilities,

artefacts, vocabulary, styles, etc.) that members have developed over time. (see, also Wenger

1999: 73-84)

Web page: Communities of practice

Web page: Etienne Wenger Communities of Practice: Learning as a social system

Conceptualisation cycle

Professor Terry Mayes examines how different learning activities support students' understanding of

new concepts and the revision of erroneous concepts. This is achieved in three stages, known as the

Conceptualisation Cycle:

At the conceptualisation stage, students are exposed to other people's

ideas or concepts (for example in traditional lectures or accessing content on the WWW).

At the construction


students apply these new concepts in the performance of meaningful tasks. However,

it is only

at the dialogue stage, in the performance of tasks in which when these new concepts are

tested during conversation with tutors and peers, that learning takes place. The feedback provided enables

students' erroneous conceptions to be resolved.

In his theory, Mayes suggests that each of the three levels of learning activity can be supported by

three different classifications of courseware, or online material intended to promote students learning,

into three categories:

• Primary Courseware - to support the presentation of content. This may involve interaction - e.g.,

simulations, ``drill and practice'', virtual worlds.

• Secondary Courseware - to support the doing tasks. This includes use of wordprocessors etc, plus

software designed to support exploration of concepts ``mindtools'' and problem solving skills (e.g.,


• Tertiary Courseware - In general this includes software that supports learning dialogues, through

communication. Maye's sometimes restricts the term to mean software that allows the ``re-use'' of

products of past learning experiences.

Web page: Learning Technology and Groundhog Day

Constructivist based design

This approach draws on the work of Bruner and others who believe that learning is an active process

where learners construct new ideas through the use of their knowledge and understanding.

Reference: Bruner, J., (1960)

The Process of Education. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University


Web page:

Characteristics of Constructivist Learning & Teaching

A glossary of selected teaching approaches and techniques



"Historically,argumentation or debate is one of the cornerstones of the teaching provided in occidental

universities. One would expect that the ability to argue with respect to a specific point of view reveals a

deeper form of understanding of the domain of discourse." Baker, M.J.(1998)

The function of

argumentation dialogue in cooperative problem-solving.

In F.H. vanEemeren, R. Grootendorst, J.A. Blair

& C.A. Willard (Eds),

Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Argumentation (ISSA'98).

Amsterdam, pp. 27-33.


The didactic model is based on transmission of knowledge, explicit instructional goals, objectives,

content, and expectations.

Possible resources: Rosenshine, B. (1986). Synthesis of research on explicit teaching.



, 43(7), 60-69.

Webpage of

Direct Instruction Resources

Elaboration theory

Elaboration theory (ET) is a model for sequencing and organizing courses of instruction. Source and

more information:

ISD Knowledge Base / The Elaboration Theory

Based largely on the work of Reigeluth, the approach suggests starting from simple concepts and

building on them to bring the learners to mastery of the more complex.

Reference: Reigeluth, C.M., (1999). The elaboration theory: Guidance for scope and sequence

decisions. In C.M. Reigeluth (ed.),

Instructional-design theories and models: A new paradigm of

instructional theory

, volume ii. (pp. 425-459). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

E-moderating framework

‘Five-stage’ model for the moderation online learning communities originally proposed by Gilly Salmon

in 2000. The model consists of the following five phases of online activity: access and motivation; online

socialisation; information exchange; knowledge construction; and development. Here’s a summary:

Individual access and the ability of participants to use Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) are

essential prerequisites for conference participation (stage one, at the base of the flights of steps). Stage

two involves individual participants establishing their online identities and then finding others with

whom to interact. At stage three, participants give information relevant to the course to each other. Up

to and including stage three, a form of co-operation occurs, i.e. support for each person’s goals. At

stage four, course-related group discussions occur and the interaction becomes more collaborative. The

communication depends on the establishment of common understandings. At stage five, participants

look for more benefits from the system to help them achieve personal goals, explore how to integrate

CMC into other forms of learning and reflect on the learning processes.

Each stage requires participants to master certain technical skills (shown in the bottom left of each

step). Each stage calls for different e-moderating skills (shown on the right top of each step). The ‘interactivity

bar’ running along the right of the flight of steps suggests the intensity of interactivity that

you can expect between the participants at each stage. At first, at stage one, they interact only with

one or two others. After stage two, the numbers of others with whom they interact, and the frequency,

gradually increases, although stage five often results in a return to more individual pursuits.


Book: Salmon, G. (2004) E-moderating: the key to teaching and learning online.

Follow up with Salmon, G. (2002) E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning

A glossary of selected teaching approaches and techniques


Gilly Salmon’s 5-stage framework for e-moderation


Also know as enquiry-based learning (EBL), this approach requires that content, teaching methods and

assessment all encourage students to research, discover and construct their own knowledge and


HEA guide available here:

Guide to Curriculum Design: Enquiry Based Learning

Experiential learning

Experiential learning, based on the work of Piaget, Lewin, Kolb and others, requires that learners reflect

on experience, devise, and subsequently test, general rules.

Book: Kolb, D. (1984) Experiential Learning, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.

Web page:

Experiential Learning ... on the Web, Greenaway, R. (2004)

Goal-based scenarios

Goal-based scenarios, such as simulations or role play, use skills based learning to achieve specified

learning outcomes.

Article: Schank, Roger, C (1992)

Goal-Based Scenarios


A glossary of selected teaching approaches and techniques


The fishbowl is a special form of small group discussion. Several members representing differing points

of view meet in an inner circle to discuss the issue while everyone else forms an outer circle and listens.

At the end of a predetermined time, the whole group reconvenes and evaluates the fishbowl discussion.

Groups may also take turns in being observers or observed.


Another definition from public service management in Wales.

Ice breaker

Icebreakers are used to facilitate introductions and warm-ups, to introduce the topic of a meeting or

training or to facilitate team building. They can also be used within established groups to facilitate

discussion on a chosen topic.

Instructional system design

Based largely on the work of Gagne, this approach recommends different types of instruction are

appropriate for different types and levels of learning.

Reference: Gagne, R. M. (1992)

Principles of instructional design. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 4th


See also this online resource: Bostock, S. (2003)

Courseware Engineering - an overview of the

courseware development process.

Intelligent tutoring systems

Intelligent tutoring systems (ITS) have four components: the domain model, the student model, the

teaching model, and a learning environment or user interface. The system "selects a problem and

compares its solution with that of the student and then it performs a diagnosis based on the

differences. After giving feedback, the system reassesses and updates the student skills model and the

entire cycle is repeated." Source and more information:


Books: Sleeman, D. H. & Brown, J. S. (Eds.). (1982).

Intelligent Tutoring Systems. New York: Academic


Wenger, E. (1987).

Artificial Intelligence and Tutoring Systems: Computational and

CognitiveApproaches to the Communication of Knowledge.

Los Altos, CA: Morgan Kaufmann.

Paper: Kinshuk, & Patel, A. (1997)

A conceptual framework for Internet based Intelligent Tutoring


, in Behrooz, A. (ed.) (1997) Knowledge Transfer (Volume II), pAce, London, UK, pp117-124.

Learning cycle

Experiential Learning Cycles are models for understanding how the process of learning works. They are

distinct from other models of learning, such as behavioral models or social learning models, in two notable


Experiential Learning Cycles treat the learner's subjective experience as of critical importance in the

learning process. ELCs draw on experiential education principles, which are largely based on the educational

philosophy of John Dewey (1920's-1950's).

Experiential Learning Cycles propose an iterative series of processes which underlies learning. Depending

on the model, there is anywhere between one stage (experience alone) through to six stages of

learning to be considered. Experiential Learning Cycles are commonly used to help structure

experience-based training and education programs.

One formulation of the 5 E's (engage, explore, explain, extend, evaluate) learning cycle gives possible

activities matched to each phase of the cycle. Modelling activities may be integrated into a learning cycle

paradigm, so that students become engaged by a demonstration and discussion, conduct prelimi-

A glossary of selected teaching approaches and techniques


nary explorations with the model, seek to explain the model's behavior, extend it to include related behavior,

and evaluate their own learning. Perhaps the most well known of learning cycle theories is Kolb’s

Experiential Learning Cycle from 1984.

Website and source:Learning Cycle Instructional Model

Website and source: Experiential Learning Cycles: Overview of 9 Experiential Learning Cycle Models

Website: The Learning Cycle as a Tool for Planning Science Instruction


Learners investigate a specific scenario either individually or in groups & propose solutions or determine

what skills and/or information they would need to manage or solve the problem(s).

Book: Savin-Baden, M., (2000).

Problem-based Learning in Higher Education, Buckingham: Open

University Press.

Website: the

PBL Clearinghouse, a collection of peer reviewed problems and articles to assist educators

in using problem-based learning.

Project-based learning

Project based learning is a "systematic teaching method that engages students in learning knowledge

and skills through an extended inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and

carefully designed products and tasks".

Source and more information:

Project Based Learning Handbook (2002) Buck Institute for Education.

Reciprocal teaching

Reciprocal teaching entails the teacher and/or learners take turns leading a dialogue. There are four key

activities: predicting, questioning, summarising and clarifying.

Articles: Palincsar, A.S. and Brown, A.L. (1984) Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and

comprehension-monitoring activities.

Cognition and Instruction, 2, pp. 117-175.

Rosenshine, B. and Meister, C. (1994) Reciprocal teaching: A review of the research.

Review of

Educational Research,

Vol. 64, No. 4, pp. 479-530.


RECIPROCAL TEACHING: Questions and Answers

Reflective practitioner

"Reflective practitioners in academic environments will frequently think about what they are doing while

they are doing it, whether it be curriculum design, devising a PowerPoint presentation, setting seminar

questions, developing assessment strategies, delivering information or marking assessed work. More

importantly the professional lecturer will encourage students to think about what, why and how they

are doing whatever they are doing while they are doing it."

Aiding reflective practice UK Centre for

Legal Education, University of Warwick

Book: Schön, D. A. (1990)

Educating the Reflective Practitioner : Toward a New Design for Teaching

and Learning in the Professions.


Webpage: transcription of Donald Schon's Presentation

Educating the Reflective Practitioner to the 1987

meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

A glossary of selected teaching approaches and techniques



This is a simple technique that encourages participation. The facilitator states a question and then goes

around the room inviting everyone to answer briefly. This is not an open discussion. This is an

opportunity to individually respond to specific questions, not to comment on each other's responses or

make unrelated remarks.


Scaffolding is a teaching strategy that was cleverly named for the practical resemblance it bears to the

physical scaffolds used on construction sites. The strategy consists of teaching new skills by engaging

students collaboratively in tasks that would be too difficult for them to complete on their own. The

instructor initially provides extensive instructional support, or scaffolding, to continually assist the

students in building their understanding of new content and process. Once the students internalize the

content and/or process, they assume full responsibility for controlling the progress of a given task. The

temporary scaffolding provided by the instructor is removed to reveal the impressive permanent

structure of student understanding (Herber and Herber, 1993, pp. 138-139).




Situative learning results from activity, context and interpretation of both the outcomes and social

interactions that occurred.

Social constructivist

Social constructivists view learning as a social process. It does not take place only within an individual,

nor is it a passive development of behaviors that are shaped by external forces (McMahon, 1997).

Meaningful learning occurs when individuals are engaged in social activities.

A major theme in the theoretical framework of Bruner is that learning is an active process in which

learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge. The learner selects

and transforms information, constructs hypotheses, and makes decisions, relying on a cognitive structure

to do so. Cognitive structure (i.e., schema, mental models) provides meaning and organization to

experiences and allows the individual to "go beyond the information given".

Web page:Constructivist theory

Socratic instruction

Generally, the Socratic teacher invites a student to attempt a cogent summary of a case assigned for

that day's class. Regardless of the accuracy and thoroughness of the student's initial response, he or

she is then grilled on details overlooked or issues unresolved. A teacher will often manipulate the facts

of the actual case at hand into a hypothetical case that may or may not have demanded a different

decision by the court.



Group activity that involves concentrating groups of ideas pertaining to the same problem and assigning

them a theme. Patterns and relationships in the groups can also be observed.

Involves concentrating groups of ideas pertaining to the same problem and assigning them a theme,


• One slip of paper (or ‘post-its’) is used per idea generated or possible solution offered

• A meeting is set up of up to 5 people. The slips of paper are viewed and then grouped ‘like with like’.

• Duplicates can be created if the idea/solution is relevant to more than one group

• Patterns and relationships in the groups are observed

A glossary of selected teaching approaches and techniques



Structured debate

A simple logic structure for issue debate. Teacher poses an issue for students to debate. Each student is

obliged to stake out a position. All positions can be posted in the same document if everybody wants

the convenience of being able to see all positions at once. Then to each position, each student attaches

(i.e., hypertext links) pro or con arguments. For convenience, these also may be put in a common pro

or a con document. Students then critique the arguments by attaching (linking) various comments, two

to four participants engage with each other on provocative or divisive issues with an eye to challenging

themselves and the audience to examine their assumptions and unconscious beliefs. Debates can be

done in fishbowl style, in which two participants engage only with each other, or in a more

conversational style, where the audience also joins in the debate.


Systems theory

System theory is basically concerned with problems of relationships, of structures, and of interdependence,

rather than with the constant attributes of object (Katz and Kahn, 1966). Webster defines a system

as a "regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole," which "is in,

or tends to be in, equilibrium". Negandi says that "a system's attributes, which are the interdependence

and interlinking of various subsystems within a given system, and the tendency toward attaining a balance,

or equilibrium forces one to think in terms of multiple causation in contrast to the common habit

of thinking in single-cause terms".

Applying systems theory gives the students (and educators, who are learners as well) cohesion to disparate

facts giving better problem solving skills. It also increases the understanding of relationships

between systems. For example, giving a group of students the task of developing an amusement park

requires them to look at economic, social, environmental, educational, and construction factors. It requires

them to use traditional material (maths, reading, spelling, grammar, biology, physics, etc. skills)

as well as giving students additional understanding about how these pieces mesh together to make a

whole. It demonstrates to them first hand how the most basic concepts contribute to the larger figure.

It encourages students to change from being passive absorbers of information to active learners seeking


Web page: Systems Theory

Training needs analysis

Training needs analysis is a work based approach which addresses the needs of organisations/teams/

individuals, identitifies gaps and specifies training.

Web page of resources:

Training Needs Analysis

Vicarious learning

Vicarious learning, based on work by Bandura, and entails learning by observing and modeling

behaviours, attitudes, and emotional reactions.

Book: Bandura, A. (1977).

Social Learning Theory. New York: General Learning Press.


Social Learning Theory
A glossary of selected teaching approaches and techniques

Teaching Methods

Each pedagogic approach is described succinctly so you can quickly understand how the technique might be relevant to your teaching. Written by fellow educators, these descriptions include tips for effectively using each technique, related research on their impacts on learning, as well as a set of example activities.

This list is by no means comprehensive. It reflects the interests and priorities of the partners and projects that have contributed to the library so far. If you'd like to contribute to the library and help this list grow we'd love to hear from you.

  • Assessment provides educators with a better understanding of what students are learning and engages students more deeply in the process of learning content. Compiled by William Slattery at Departments of Geological Sciences and Teacher Education, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.
  • Calibrated Peer Review™ (CPR) is a web-based management tool that enables discipline-based writing with peer review in classes of any size. Compiled by Arlene A. Russell, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCLA.
  • Campus-Based Learning uses the campus environment itself as a teaching tool. Compiled by Suzanne Savanick at SERC, Carleton College.
  • Classroom Experiments are activities where any number of students work in groups on carefully designed guided inquiry questions. Compiled by Sheryl Ball, Virginia Tech, with assistance from Tisha Emerson, Jennifer Lewis, and J. Todd Swarthout.
  • Classroom Response Systems use technology that promotes and implements active and cooperative learning. Compiled by Joe Calhoun, Florida State University, then enhanced with the valuable assistance from S. Raj Chaudhury, Shelby Frost, Bill Goffe, KimMarie McGoldrick, Mark Maier, and Scott Simkins.
  • Coached Problem Solving is a class format in which professors provide a structured, guided context for students working collaboratively to solve problems. Compiled by Debby Walser-Kuntz, Sarah Deel and Susan Singer, Carleton College.
  • ConcepTests are conceptual multiple-choice questions that focus on one key concept of an instructor's learning goals for a lesson. When coupled with student interaction through peer instruction, ConcepTests represent a rapid method of formative assessment of student understanding. Compiled by David McConnell, North Carolina State University.
  • Context-Rich Problems are short realistic scenarios giving the students a plausible motivation for solving the problem. Compiled by Joann Bangs, St. Catherine University and enhanced by Jennifer Docktor and Ken Heller, University of Minnesota, Brian Peterson, Central College, and Rochelle Ruffer, Nazareth College.
  • Cooperative Learning involves students working in groups to accomplish learning goals. Compiled by Rebecca Teed and John McDaris, SERC at Carleton College, and Cary Roseth, University of Minnesota.
  • Documented Problem Solving is an active learning assessment technique in which students become more aware about their learning and their problem-solving, resulting in a transition from the "steps used to solve a problem" to the application of analytical and critical thinking skills. Compiled by Linda Wilson, University of Texas at Arlington, with help from Amber Casolari, Riverside City College, Katie Townsend-Merino, Palomar College and Todd Easton, University of Portland.
  • Using an Earth History Approach helps students understand how human impact on the Earth's systems has increased exponentially over time. Compiled by Rebecca Teed at SERC, Carleton College.
  • Experience-Based Environmental Projects get students involved in their own learning. Compiled by Karin Kirk at Montana State University.
  • Field Labs introduce students to complex natural systems, breaks down barriers among academic fields, encourages multiple observations, and introduces students to the area near their campus. Compiled by Mary Savina, Carleton College.
  • The First Day of Class is your opportunity to stimulate excitement about the course, establish a positive classroom climate, and engage students with course content - right from the start. Compiled by Carol Ormand at SERC, Carleton College.
  • Gallery Walk activities get students out of their chairs to actively work together. Compiled by Mark Francek at Central Michigan University.
  • Game-Based Learning was written to assist geoscience faculty who want to start using games to help them teach. Compiled by Rebecca Teed at SERC, Carleton College.
  • Guided Discovery Problems offer intriguing puzzles to solve, structured hands-on activities, carefully worded leading questions, crucial hints, and just-in-time presentations of information in order to escort students step-by-step through the process of scientific discovery. Compiled by Ann Bykerk-Kauffman, California State University, Chico.
  • Indoor Labs provide students with opportunities for structured investigations and experiments of materials, models, and other equipment. Compiled by Mary Savina, Carleton College.
  • Interactive Lectures provide short activities that can break up a lecture. Compiled by Heather Macdonald, College of William and Mary and Rebecca Teed at SERC, Carleton College and updated by Gail Hoyt, University of Kentucky, Jennifer Imazeki, San Diego State University, Barbara Millis University of Texas, San Antonio, and Jose Vazquez-Cognet University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Interactive Lecture Demonstrations engage students in activities that confront their prior understanding of a core concept. The activity can be a classroom experiment, a survey, a simulation or an analysis of secondary data. Compiled by Dorothy Merritts and Robert Walter, Franklin & Marshall College, and Bob MacKay, Clark College. Enhanced by Mark Maier with assistance from Rochelle Ruffer, Sue Stockly, and Ronald Thornton.
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Teaching entails the use and integration of methods and analytical frameworks from more than one academic discipline to examine a theme, issue, question or topic. Compiled by Art Goldsmith, Darrick Hamilton, Karen Hornsby, and Dave Wells.
  • Inventing and Testing Models approach uses Model-Eliciting Activities, which are posed as open-ended problems that are designed to challenge students to build models in order to solve complex, real-world problems. Compiled by Joan Garfield, Robert delMas and Andrew Zieffler, of the University of Minnesota.
  • Investigative Case-Based Learning involves students in addressing real world problems. Compiled by Ethel Stanley, BioQUEST, Beloit College and Margaret Waterman, Southeast Missouri State University.
  • Jigsaws are an option when you have several related data sets you would like students to explore. In a jigsaw, each student develops some expertise with one data set, then teaches a few classmates about it (and learns about related data sets from those classmates). Compiled by Barbara Tewksbury, Hamilton College.
  • Just-in-Time Teaching gets students to read assigned material outside of class, respond to short questions online, and then participate in discussion and collaborative exercises in the following class period. Compiled by Laura Guertin, Pennsylvania State University Delaware County.
  • Lecture Tutorials are short worksheets that students complete in class to make lecture more interactive. They are designed specifically to address misconceptions and other topics with which students have difficulties. Compiled by Karen Kortz, Community College of Rhode Island, and Jessica Smay, San Jose City College.
  • Measurement and Uncertainty provides science educators with clearly written, effective material to teach introductory level students the fundamentals of effective measurement, and describes how to integrate these ideas into science teaching. This increases scientific literacy, helps students use data to understand science concepts during inquiry-based labs and activities, and prepares students for future science education. Compiled by Peter Bohacek and Greg Schmidt, Sibley Public High School.
  • Models help students understand the relationships between data and Earth processes. Compiled by Bob MacKay at Clark College.
    • Conceptual Models are qualitative models that help highlight important connections in real world systems and processes. Compiled by Bob MacKay, Clark College.
    • Mathematical and Statistical Models involve solving relevant equation(s) of a system or characterizing a system based upon its statistical parameters. Compiled by Bob MacKay, Clark College.
  • Peer Review uses interaction around writing to refine students understanding. Compiled by Laura Guertin, Pennsylvania State University Delaware County.
  • Peer-Led Team Learning engages teams of six to eight students in learning sciences, mathematics and other undergraduate disciplines guided by a peer leader. Peer leaders are drawn from the pool of students who have done well in the course previously. Compiled by Pratibha Varma-Nelson, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.
  • PhET Interactive Science Simulations is a suite of research-based interactive computer simulations for teaching and learning physics, chemistry, math, and other sciences. Compiled by Sam McKagen, based on material from the PhET Team.
  • Process of Science means going beyond the content to help students understand how we know what we know and giving them the tools they need to think scientifically. Compiled by Anne E. Egger, Stanford University.
  • Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) is a research-based learning environment where students are actively engaged in mastering course content and in developing essential skills by working in self-managed teams on guided inquiry activities. Compiled by Rick Moog, James Spencer, Frank Creegan, Troy Wolfskill, David Hanson, Andrei Stroumanis, Diane Bunce, and Jennifer Lewis.
  • Professional Communication Projects ask students to effectively communicate scientific information in a genre that professional scientists are expected to master, such as with scientific posters, conference proposals or oral presentations. Compiled by Colleen H. Fava and Darrell Henry, Louisiana State University.
  • Quantitative Writing engages students with numbers by asking them to analyze and use quantitative data in written reports and arguments. Compiled by John C. Bean, Seattle University.
  • Role Playing immerses students in debate around Earth science issues. Compiled by Rebecca Teed at SERC, Carleton College.
  • SCALE-UP is a Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs. Carefully designed studio classrooms facilitate student teamwork and instructor movement between groups. Developed by Bob Beichner, North Carolina State University, and Sharon Isern, Florida Gulf Coast University.
  • Service Learning offers the opportunity to link academic learning with community service. Compiled by Suzanne Savanick at SERC, Carleton College and enhanced first by Ed Laine, Bowdoin College, and then by Andrea Ziegert, Denison University, with assistance from Nancy Brooks, Emily Janke, and Mary Lopez.
  • Socratic Questioning turns a lecture into a guided discussion. Compiled by Dorothy Merritts and Robert Walter at Franklin & Marshall College.
  • Structured Academic Controversy is a type of cooperative learning strategy in which small teams of students learn about a controversial issue from multiple perspectives. Compiled by Claudia Khourey-Bowers, Kent State University.
  • Strong Writing Assignments are a flexible means of demonstrating learning as well as a method of exploring one's thinking to stimulate learning, which is why the literature on writing instruction emphasizes both learning to write and writing to learn. Compiled by Carol Rutz, Carleton College.
  • Studio Teaching can provide a quintessential active and cooperative learning environment. Compiled by Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota.
  • Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News describes how one can use media articles as the main content for a course focused on honing students' ability to critically think about and analyze quantitative information. Compiled by Stuart Boersma, Central Washington University.
  • Teaching Urban Students assists educators of urban students to bring a rich set of experiences to the classroom that may be significantly different than those of students in small-town settings. Effective teaching of urban students requires instructors to tap into these rich experiences, cultural customs, and practical skills sets. Compiled by Wayne Powell, Brooklyn College, City University of New York.
  • Teaching with Data helps faculty find and integrate real data sets into their classes. Compiled by Robert MacKay, Clark College.
  • Teaching with Data Simulations allows students to visualize probability distributions, which in turn can make the processes associated with probability more concrete. Compiled by Danielle Dupuis, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.
  • Teaching with GIS in the Geosciences shows how this powerful new tool can be used to help teach geoscience. Compiled by Brian Welch at Dept. of Environmental Studies, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN.
  • Teaching with Google Earth provides detailed instructions for bringing rich imagery and interactive information into the classroom. Compiled by Glenn A. Richard, Mineral Physics Institute, Stony Brook University.
  • Teaching with Learning Assistants incorporates talented undergraduate students, primarily in mathematics and the sciences, chosen for their broad interest in teaching and prepared to provide support for student learning in interactive classroom environments. Compiled by Stephanie Chasteen and Valerie Otero, University of Colorado at Boulder.
  • Teaching with Simulations uses a model of behavior to gain a better understanding of that behavior. Compiled by Betty Blecha, San Francisco State University and refined and enhanced by Mark McBride, Teresa Riley, Katherine Rowell, KimMarie McGoldrick, Mark Maier, and Scott Simkins.
  • Teaching with Spreadsheets allows students to "get their hands dirty" by working with real-world data. Spreadsheets make abstract or complex models accessible by providing concrete examples and allowing "what if" analyses. Compiled by Miles Cahill, Depaw University, with help from Humberto Barreto, Depaw University, Semra Kilic-Bahi, Colby-Sawyer College, and David Schodt, St. Olaf College.
  • Teaching with Spreadsheets Across The Curriculum helps students build spreadsheets and apply elementary mathematics to solve problems in context. Compiled by Len Vacher at University of South Florida, Tampa.
  • Teaching with the Case Method combines two elements: the case itself and the discussion of that case. Teaching cases provide information, but neither analysis nor conclusions. The analytical work of explaining the relationships among events in the case, identifying options, evaluating choices and predicting the effects of actions is the work done by students during the classroom discussion. Compiled by Ann Velenchik, Wellesley College.
  • Teaching with Visualizations helps students see how systems work. Compiled by Bob MacKay, Clark College.
  • Testing Conjectures is an effective way of engaging students in learning and helping them to develop their reasoning abilities. Compiled by Shirley J. Alt, The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.
  • Undergraduate Research provides opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty on actual research projects, learning about both a particular topic in a field and the research process in general. Compiled by Elizabeth Perry-Sizemore, Randolph College with assistance from George Alter, Mary Borg, Steve DeLoach, Steve Greenlaw, KimMarie McGoldrick, Sheila Kennison, Mark Maier, and Scott Simkins.
  • Using an Earth System Approach introduces concepts and resources centered on space, air, water, land, life, and human dimensions.
  • Using Media to Enhance Teaching and Learning can engage students and produce more meaningful and deep learning experiences by using films, television shows, popular music, news stories, literature, documentaries, and videos from sources such as youTube. Compiled by G. Dirk Mateer, Penn State University, with help from Linda S. Ghent, Eastern Illinois University, Tod Porter, Youngstown State University, and Ray Purdom, University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
  • Using Socioscientific Issues to Teach Science combines the use of controversial socially-relevant real world issues with course content to engage students in their learning. Compiled by Sandra Latourelle, Alex Poplawsky, Brian Shmaefsky, and Susan Musante.


Techniques in Teaching English


The Natural Approach is designed to develop basic communication skills. The development stages are:

(1) Comprehension (preproduction), (2) Early Production, and (3) Speech Emergence. This approach to

teaching language has been proven to be particularly effective with limited English proficient students.



In order to maximize opportunities for comprehension experiences. Natural Approach instructors (1)

create activities designed to teach students to recognize the meaning in words used in meaningful contexts, and

(2) teach students to guess at the meaning of phrases without knowing all of the words and structures of the


a. ALWAYS USE VISUAL AIDS (pictures, realia, gestures).

b. MODIFY YOUR SPEECH to aid comprehension, speak more slowly, emphasize key words,

simplify vocabulary and grammar, use related ideas, do not talk out of context.

c. DO NOT FORCE PRODUCTION. Students will use English when they are ready. They

sometimes experience a “silent period” which can last days or weeks.


Teacher Activities in the Comprehension Stage.

a. Total Physical Response (TPR). The teacher gives commands to which the students react with

their bodies as well as their brains.

b. Supplying meaningful input based on items in the classroom or brought to class. (Who has the

________ ? Who is wearing a ________ ?)

c. Supplying meaningful input based on pictures.

Student Responses in the Comprehension Stage.

a. An action (TPR).

b. The name of a fellow student (from b., c. above).

c. Gestures

d. Students say yes/no in English.

e. Students point to an item or picture.

f. Children do not initially make many attempts to communicate using words, rather they indicate

their comprehension nonverbally.





In non-threatening environments, students move voluntarily into Stage 2. Stage 2 begins when students

begin using English words to give:

a. yes/no answers

b. one-word answers

c. lists of words

d. two word strings and short phrases

The following are instructor question techniques to encourage the transition from Stage I to Stage 2.

a. Yes/no questions (Is Jimmy wearing a sweater today?)

b. Choice questions (Is this a pencil or an eraser?)

c. Questions which can be answered with a single word. (What does the woman have in her hand?

Book. Where? When? Who?)

d. General questions which encourage lists of words. (What do we see on the table now?)

e. Open sentence with pause for student response. (Mike is wearing a blue shirt, but Ron is

wearing a _____ shirt.)

During the Early Speech Stage, the instructor must give a meaningful and understandable input which will

encourage the transition to Stage 3. Therefore all student responses should be expanded if possible. Here is

a sample exchange between the teacher and the class:

Instructor: What do we see in this picture?

Class: Woman.

Instructor: Yes, there is a woman in this picture. Is there a man?

Class: Yes.

Instructor: Yes, there is. There is a man and a woman. Where is the man?

Class: Car.

Instructor: Yes that’s right. The man is in a car. Is he driving the car?

Class: Yes.

Instructor: Yes, he is. He’s driving the car.

Other sorts of activities which can be used in Early Speech Stage:

a. open dialogues

b. guided interviews

c. open-ended sentences

d. charts, tables, graphs

e. newspaper ads





In the Speech Emergence Stage, speech production will normally improve in both quatntity and quallity.

The sentences that the students produce become longer, more complex and tehy use a wider range of

vocabulary. Finally, the number of errors will slowly decrease.

Students need to be given the opportunity to use oral and written language whenever possible. When

they reach the stage in which speech is emerging beyond the two-word stage, there are many sorts of activities

which will foster more comprehension and speech. Some suggestions are:

a. preference ranking

b. games of all sorts

c. problem-solving using charts, tables graphs, maps

d. advertisements and signs

e. group discussion

f. skits (finger plays, flannel boards, puppets)

g. music, radio, television, film strips, slides

h. writing exercises (especially Language Experience Approach)

i. reading

j. culture

In general, we may classify language acquisition activities as those in which the focus is on the message,

i.e., meaning. These may be of four types:

a. content (culture, subject matter, new information, reading)

b. affective-humanistic (student’s own ideas, opinions, experiences)

c. games (focus on using language to participate in the game)

d. problem-solving (focus on using language to locate information)

(From: T.D. Terrell, Department of Languages, University of California, San Diego)



Suggested Methods in Teaching Through

Total Physical Response

I. Orientation

To introduce and motivate the class you might:


have a translator briefly explain the theory behind the method


show a documentary film of students learning through TPR, or


say commands rapidly in English and announce in the student’s language that by the end of the

class everyone will understand everything that you just said.

I I. Preparation

Before you begin each unit or lesson:


have a detailed outline or script of the elements that you will teach, the various combinations and

recombinations of elements, zany commands, and a strategy for varying from individuals to small

and large group movement.


get props together and have them handy;


arrange the class so that there is a large space for the action and so that everyone can see

(possibly a semi-circle).

I I I. Classroom Procedure

A. The Method (taken from

Teaching English Through Action )

a. Demonstration - the students listen and respond to commands modeled by the


(1) Instructor commands and models with the entire group.

(2) Instructor commands and models with 2-3 or 4-6 students.

(3) Instructor commands and models with 1 student.

b. Group responds to commands without instructor.

c. Group of 3-5 students responds to commands without instructor.

d. Individual student responds to commands without instructor.

e. Instructor recombines old and new commands and models with the group.

(1) Group responds to recombined commands without instructor.

(2) 2-3 students respond to recombined commands:

- without instructor modeling

- without instructor.



2 Progression of Commands - The steps in the development of a unit look something like


a. Simple actions (“walk”, “jump”)

b. Simple actions involving objects and locations (“walk to the door”)

c. Recombinations of actions and objects (“walk to the chair”, “touch the chair”)

d. Recombinations of actions and objects involving transferring meaning to a new

situation (“shake your head”, “shake my hand”)

e. Chains of actions leading into an activity sequence (“Take the can”, “Open the

can”, “Pour the water” .... “Drink the lemonade”).

3. Some pointers

a. Model ‘clean’ responses to commands so that students will not pick up

extraneous gestures that are false to the meaning of the command. (For

example, don’t swivel your head and then turn around with the command


b. Novel commands (new combinations of elements already mastered keep

interest high and enhance self-confidence as students realize they have

understood something never quite heard before.)

c. Introduce new vocabulary 3 items at a time and proceed only after students are

responding confidently.

d. If students do not grasp a new item after a few trials, drop it until a future time.

(For example, students may not be able to transfer from “point to the corner of

your eye” to “walk to the corner of the room”.)

e. When commanding individuals, call on confident students. Sometimes invite

volunteers by saying “one student”. A shy student may jump up and carry out

a command because she or he was the first to understand it.

f. Keep varying who you call on by asking all the women, all the students on the

right side, near the window, in row one, from Cuba. This keeps the students

alert, never knowing who you will call on next.

g. Keep changing the order of the commands to increase listening attention.

B. The Expressive Stage (Speaking)

1. After about 10 hours of TPR the students will begin to reveal a readiness to speak by

mouthing or mumbling your commands out loud. At this point you can:

a. Invite the students to command the teacher, other students, or the whole group:

b. Ask questions that involve yes or not answers. (Look at the clock.” “Is it 5


c. Progress to questions involving one word answers (“Go home.” “Where’s he


2. Students will begin to lengthen their answers as they hear and assimilate more. They

will improve word order and pronunciation through closer and closer approximation of

what they hear.



3. As students become more proficient, the instructor can add substitution drills,

transformation drills, dialogues, and conversations.

C. The Expressive Stage (Written)

1. The instructor can give out study papers after a few lessons with the words used in

class, demonstrating and saying each of the words. The students use the papers as they

wish. This is good for those students who wish to have it “down”.

2. For illiterate students or very basic beginners, numbers and simple words can be

manipulated on cards (“put number 5 in front of number 2"). Commands can also

include blackboard tasks (“Circle the date” or “Write your name next to number 1.”).

3. Reading and Writing lessons can increase in complexity as the students progress.