Also known as instructional strategies, teaching strategies refer to various methods and techniques educators use for effective learning. These strategies are usually applied when teachers deliver lectures on different topics, and they want to engage their students, along with helping them to think differently and out of the box.
If you educate young children, your teaching strategies will differ from a teacher delivering a lecture to adults. Different types of teaching strategies can also be applied according to the intellectual level of the students. For example, educators can develop tailor-made strategies for international students struggling with language barriers or specially-abled students who require extra help.
To ensure success and proper understanding for students, it is essential that teaching strategies are effective and individuals are able to retain what they are being taught. If you want to learn more about the basics of teaching strategies, we have discussed some approaches and techniques below.
Approaches to Teaching Strategies in Early Childhood
- Constructivist Approach
Known as an educational theory, the constructivist approach focuses on educators helping their students to learn. This approach believes that children use their thought processes to understand things around them and experiences in their daily lives.
Constructivism is based on the idea that young children should be encouraged to grow, learn, and understand new concepts as they take control of their lives. For example, young children are encouraged to ask questions, form their expressions, and participate in collaborative learning in groups with their peers.
- Collaborative Approach
As the name suggests, a collaborative approach includes young children working together on different tasks and activities. Most teachers emphasize the use of a collaborative process as students gain the confidence to work together with each other.
A collaborative approach also helps with better understanding as each student utilizes their skill when everyone is working on a shared task. Collaborative learning can be done in various ways, such as sitting together and exchanging ideas, checking each other’s work, and working together in pairs on a class assignment.
- Play-based Approach
A new approach teachers have adopted for play-based learning includes teaching a child different concepts through play. As young children are naturally inclined towards playful and fun activities, through this approach, they can play and learn new things at the same time.
There are also two types of approaches, free and directed. Free play is directed by children themselves, while directed play involves some level of teacher involvement. An example of directed play could be that the teacher has planned an activity, but the child can choose what colors they want to do.
- Project Approach
In early childhood education and care, project approach is based on a topic decided by the student or the teacher, and everyone gets together to discuss it. With a focus on building curiosity, making children confident, and encouraging them to speak their thoughts, the project approach is commonly practiced with an entire class or a small group of students.
During this approach, students take charge of their learning by sharing what they learned with the class. The project approach can be successful during a class presentation, debate, or poster display.
- Direct Instruction Approach
One of the most effective approaches for teaching, a direct instruction approach, involves a teacher standing in front of the class and delivering a lecture with examples. This approach is adopted when the topic has no room for discussion, and the students must understand the concept as it is.
This approach can be beneficial for students who get distracted very quickly as this way. They will be able to understand what is being taught. Direct instruction usually includes lectures that are structured, well-planned, and already developed by the educators before coming into class.
Importance of Teaching Strategies in Early Childhood
The early childhood education program emphasizes the importance of teaching strategies as these strategies enable effective learning from a very young age. As teachers and educators have an everlasting impact on the growth and behavior of young kids, teaching strategies must be adopted early on in life.
Through teaching strategies, educators can focus on every child’s unique and special learning needs and requirements. By adopting different approaches, educators prepare young students for all kinds of experiences, such as working together in a work environment and being confident to work independently.
Moreover, teaching strategies help create a positive learning environment, prevent disruptive behavior in class, and focus on social, mental, and emotional development. When teachers experiment with different strategies, they can monitor students’ behavior, ensuring a balance in learning.
As young children can grasp new concepts more quickly, teaching strategies that include exploring and experimenting will interest them and enhance their thinking skills. Positive teaching strategies will build a love for learning within the children, and they will become more eager to learn as time passes.
Common Teaching Strategies in Early Childhood
After getting early childhood degrees, here are some common teaching strategies used:
- Inquiry-based Strategy
Inquiry-based learning refers to a learning process that includes children engaging in problem-solving and asking questions from teachers when they are confused and do not understand anything.
Through active learning, students are encouraged to observe their surroundings, and teachers present facts and knowledge about their teaching. Moreover, this teaching strategy includes attending educational field trips, working on science experiments, and fostering critical thinking. Also, students are provided with open-ended questions and resources so they learn and explore further.
- Experiential Learning Strategy
Experiential learning includes learning and exploring new things by doing them on your own. This means that young individuals and children are encouraged to slowly learn through hands-on experience to connect with their surroundings and express and reflect their feelings better.
This learning style is usually implemented when kids are young, so they develop the habit of observing and understanding everything around them. Experiential learning can be experienced through community visits, interaction with people from different cultures and backgrounds, and spending time in solitude and with nature.
- Literacy and Storytelling Strategy
Literacy and storytelling is a teaching method in which educators provide young learners with tasks playfully and uniquely so that they enjoy completing them. This teaching strategy was found with the idea that students should be taught creatively so they will be able to retain the information effortlessly for a long time.
Also, teachers explain everything to students in a story-like manner and ask them to share their stories. Students are told to present in front of the entire class so they learn narration, vocalization, and mental imagery from a very young age.
- Individualized Strategy
Individualized strategy, also known as individualized instruction, is a teaching method in which teachers give direct instructions to students and revolves around a one-on-one teaching style. It focuses on self-paced learning so the goals and the objectives of the outline set by the teacher are adequately met.
It is also known as an intensive teaching practice structured and designed for children who need extra attention and help when they are learning something. This style of strategy can be suitable for specially-abled kids.
- Cooperative Learning Strategy
Cooperative learning is an educational strategy that helps teachers organize classroom activities and improve the social learning experience for young children. With an emphasis on the importance of working in groups and collaborating, cooperative learning contributes to positive learning.
In a cooperative learning situation, all students will ensure they are performing well because their success will depend on each other. If any of them is stuck, they will also offer guidance, making sure that no one is left behind on the work that has been assigned.
- Montessori Strategy
The Montessori strategy is a critical concept emphasizing special development stages in a child’s life. This includes different things, such as being independent at a young age, learning about freedom and respect, and an increased focus on social development.
Introduced by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900’s, this strategy offers child-centered learning and the importance of language development. She also shed light on the importance of developing age-appropriate activities for children according to their interests and likes.
- Blended Strategy
A blended teaching strategy is an approach that is adopted by educators and teachers who want to ensure that the best practices are being used in class. In the blended approach, different elements are combined together so the cognitive capacity of students can be improved and they can develop teamwork skills.
Also, the blended strategy focuses on bringing together both digital tools and traditional classroom together to ensure that students are receiving a mix of everything. For example, teachers might deliver a lecture in a face-to-face class but ask the students to submit their homework on an online portal.
Teaching strategies play an important role in classroom settings, as without having a set strategy, teachers won’t be able to figure out what and how to teach. Teaching methods and strategies are applied from early childhood so young children learn how to participate, voice their opinions, and connect with their class fellows, teachers, and family members.
If you are an educator or a teacher it essential for you to be aware of all the strategies so you can keep on implementing them when teaching children of different ages. The key is to establish a safe space for all children, regardless of their background and culture.