12 Research-Based Effective Teaching Strategies

Feb 26, 2024 | Teaching

12 Research-Based Principles for Effective Teaching Strategies

by Drew Perkins, Director of ThoughtStretchers Education

Teachers should constantly strive to optimize their instructional practices to foster the best possible learning outcomes for their students. Fortunately, decades of research in classrooms have yielded invaluable insights into effective teaching strategies. Drawing from the seminal work of educational psychologist John Brophy (2000), here are 12 principles derived from empirical evidence that can serve as guiding beacons for educators aiming to create enriching learning environments:

1. A Supportive Classroom Climate: Central to effective teaching is the cultivation of a nurturing and inclusive classroom atmosphere. The research underscores that students thrive best in cohesive and caring learning communities where they feel valued, respected, and supported. How can we grow a climate and culture that empowers adults and students to bring out the best in themselves and others?

2. Opportunity to Learn: Maximizing student engagement, both behavioral and cognitive, in curriculum-related activities is pivotal for enhancing learning outcomes. Allocating substantial class time to meaningful learning tasks, coupled with a well-structured classroom management system, ensures that students remain actively involved in their educational journey.

3. Curricular Alignment: Ensuring alignment across all facets of the curriculum is essential for fostering coherence and clarity in instructional objectives. By harmonizing various components, educators can construct a seamless learning trajectory geared toward achieving educational goals.

4. Establishing Learning Orientations: Providing students with a clear framework for learning primes their cognitive faculties for optimal absorption of knowledge. By elucidating intended outcomes and delineating effective learning strategies, teachers empower students to navigate their educational pathways with confidence.

5. Coherent Content: Clarity and coherence in content delivery are fundamental for facilitating meaningful comprehension and long-term retention. Presenting material in a structured manner, emphasizing its interconnectedness, enhances students’ ability to grasp complex concepts effectively.

6. Thoughtful Discourse: Engaging students in substantive discourse fosters critical thinking and deepens understanding. Skillfully crafted questions that prompt sustained dialogue around key concepts stimulate intellectual inquiry and virtues and promote active learning.

7. Practice and Application Activities: Mastery of new skills and concepts necessitates ample opportunities for practice and application. Incorporating varied activities that allow students to apply their learning in real-world contexts like project-based learning experiences, coupled with constructive feedback, accelerates the learning process.

8. Scaffolding Students’ Task Engagement: Providing targeted support and guidance enables students to navigate challenging tasks with greater efficacy. Scaffolding interventions tailored to individual needs foster autonomy and self-efficacy, propelling students toward independent learning.

9. Strategy Teaching: Equipping students with effective learning and self-regulation strategies empowers them to become autonomous learners. By modeling and instructing students in metacognitive techniques, teachers impart invaluable tools for navigating the learning process effectively.

10. Cooperative Learning: Collaborative endeavors offer rich opportunities for knowledge construction and peer support. Working in pairs or small groups fosters a synergistic learning environment where students collaboratively construct understanding and reinforce one another’s learning.

11. Goal-Oriented Assessment: Continuous assessment, both formal and informal, is indispensable for monitoring progress towards learning objectives. By employing diverse assessment methods aligned with instructional goals, educators gain insights into student proficiency and tailor instruction accordingly.

12. Achievement Expectations: Setting and maintaining high expectations for student achievement is paramount for fostering a culture of excellence. By establishing clear benchmarks and providing robust support structures, teachers inspire students to strive for academic success.

Incorporating these evidence-based principles into instructional practice empowers educators to create vibrant learning communities where students thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. By leveraging insights gleaned from research, teachers can embark on a transformative journey toward unlocking the full potential of every learner. As educational paradigms evolve, these guiding principles serve as steadfast pillars, illuminating the path toward educational excellence and student success.


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