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Keeping Current With Best Practices in Elementary Education

Everyone has seen classrooms led by teachers who have not kept up with the times. The desks are in rows, filled with students doing worksheets silently. As the education field develops new and better ways of engaging students, some approaches have become obsolete because they no longer motivate today’s students — or because they never did.

Teachers should integrate education best practices into their existing approaches that are still effective, but older, inappropriate methods have no place in the classroom. As a student pursuing an online master’s degree in education, you will learn new teaching strategies to engage students, but many new teachers still teach the way they were taught. All teachers can improve their classrooms by kicking the following four strategies out.

1. Round Robin Reading

Round robin reading is a practice wherein all students hold the same text and read different parts of it aloud. This practice is not effective because students practice only the parts they think they will have to read and do not pay attention to the whole text. Additionally, some students feel publicly humiliated because they cannot read as well as others.

2. Preparing Notes for Students

Handing out teacher-prepared notes or slides to students is not effective because research has shown that when students create their own notes they are more likely to connect to and remember new information.

3. Punishing Everyone at Once

Whole class punishment is ineffective. The better strategy would be to engage in classroom management as a regular practice.

4. One Lesson Plan for Everyone

Try to avoid using the exact same lesson plan for your entire class. Students will need different engagement strategies at different times. Plan for your class to try out different ways of learning to see which is most effective. Finally, try not to let more advanced students teach other students. Those advanced students need challenges; they do not need to become teaching assistants.

Using Best Practices in Education

So just what best practices can teachers learn while pursuing an online master’s degree in education?

  • Teachers need to be very clear and explicit about the learning. Ideally, they should model the process and product.
  • Teachers need to allow students to engage in discussion wherein they can test out their ideas and learn how to discuss both agreements and disagreements.
  • Students also need regular and immediate feedback on their process and product. Using formative assessments helps students stay on top of how they learn and ask questions about what they are unsure of.
  • Finally, students need to understand metacognition so that they can think about and discuss their own thinking and use of strategies.

Learn more about the LSUS online M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction program.


Sources:

Edutopia: 5 Highly Effective Teaching Practices

Cult of Pedagogy: 5 Common Teaching Practices I'm Kicking to the Curb


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