Differences Between Teaching Strategy and Teaching Method
Although used interchangeably, teaching strategies and teaching methods are different. Landøy et al. (2019) explain that one of the key differences between the two is that teaching strategy are actions that are meant to achieve a certain goal within the learning setting while teaching methods are the different styles that are used to accomplish individual tasks within the same learning environment. Indeed, examples can be given to explain the differences between the two further. An example of a teaching method is a class discussion. In this case, the teacher designs a lesson and chooses an activity that will help in the facilitation of learning. It can be argued that teaching methods help in accomplishing tasks that are set out within the classroom set-up. At the same time, teaching strategy directly impacts the learning environment and its effectiveness is measured through the achievement of the learning goals set.
A second difference between the two is that whereas the strategies are logical and sequential arrangements, methods are often the steps within a procedure. The latter does not have to be logical for it to be effective, whereas the former has to be logical for it to be successful. Further, a third difference is that whereas methods focus on the presentation of the content, strategies focus more on the learning environment. Despite the differences, it is arguable that the two terminologies have a few similarities. One similarity is that both help develops a conducive teaching and learning environment. A second similarity is that both methods and strategies use measures to achieve their objective. For example, strategies use a logical sequence to achieve a set objective whereas methods use several steps within a similar procedure for the same. It can be argued that it is these similarities and differences that make both methods and strategies important within the teaching and learning environment.
Importance of the Strategies
Cooperative learning, in simple terms, refers to grouping students in a classroom and allowing them to explore concepts together and help each other learn. According to Lestari (2019), this strategy is highly effective and has led to group work being incorporated into other areas of life. Not only does it allow students to learn, but it also encourages them to help each other understand the given concepts. Lestari (2019) argues that many teachers do not use this strategy at the very beginning of a class. This is because students do not know what the class is about, therefore, have not fully focused on the same. Whereas it can be argued that cooperative learning is group work, it should be supervised to some point to ensure that the right concepts are being learned.
It should also be noted that for this strategy to be successful, it has to keep students on task. This means that the teacher’s job evolves from direct teaching to keeping students on task. Therefore, the teacher has to offer direction and guidance and always be present in case the students need some clarification. In an ideal setting, a teacher will start with traditional teaching in the classroom to introduce the new class and also the concepts. After the first few introductory classes, teachers can then move to “bell work” which gives students the ability to work together on a single concept. In this case, the full cooperative learning experience can be introduced to the students.
In a student-led classroom, as the name suggests, the students take charge of their learning activities. It is important to note that this type of learning can only be successful if the classroom is also presented in a way that supports student-led activities. Erika and Wiskow (2020) explain that many schools have the traditional setup, which highly encourages teacher-led learning. Therefore, the classrooms must be designed to suit the needs of the students. Towards this end, it is common to find student-led classrooms to appear chaotic. This is especially true if the students heavily rely on creativity to learn. In this setup, teachers are seen as guides and advisors. Therefore, it is equally important to note that teachers be present to guide and lead the students when the need arises. Critically, in this strategy, failure is seen as part of the learning process.
This strategy can be related to everyday learning and teachers can let students start by encouraging students to lead their classwork for a lesson or two. After this, the teacher can open up more and let students use this approach for the rest of the term. It is important to note that the teacher is still given prominence at the beginning of the class. This is due to the importance of setting a foundation and steering focus for the concepts that the students will learn.
One can describe active learning as enthusiastically engaging learning through different forms of learning activities such as group work discussions, role-plays, and problem-solving. This is one of the most common strategies in the modern-day classroom across the globe. Santosh (2020) explains that the strategy has been heavily promoted because it encourages a greater sense of responsibility for both the teacher and the learner. The role of the teacher is still high compared to the other two strategies discussed. Critically, in a typical classroom, the teacher initiates the class through a standard lecture. The teacher can then share material for discussions, which can then occur in groups. On the same note, after group discussions, learners can present their findings to the rest of the classroom and also get feedback on the same. All these come together to form what is referred to as active learning.
One of the benefits of active learning is that it uses various approaches to help the students learn. Therefore, if a student does not understand a concept, he or she gets a chance to further interact with the same concept differently. Due to this, Santosh (2020) argues that this strategy ensures deep learning. It also allows teachers to fully interact with their students.
Just like student-led learning, this type of learning focuses on the role of the student in the process. Sobeck and Reister (2020) note that this strategy does not encourage the teachers to tell the students what they should know. Instead, they let the students first engage with the class material on their own then ask questions and share ideas or rather hold discussions. The role of the teacher is to answer any questions that either individuals or groups might have in regards to the material they just engaged with. Critically, it can be argued that this approach also incorporates several other learning approaches. For example, it can include group work (which can also be tied to cooperative learning strategy) and even student-led learning as it focuses on the student rather than the teachers. One of the factors that some subscribe to this strategy is the fact that it has been linked to higher retention processes than traditional ways of learning.
In a class that uses this strategy, the teacher will only get to introduce him or herself, and this type of learning. After that, the teacher will provide materials that the students can read on their own, and even go ahead and help students form groups they can with together for the class. It is often encouraged that the teacher does not provide all the material for the semester but concept by concept to encourage proper learning.
Problem Based Learning
In this strategy, the teacher uses real-life problems to teach the students. Those who subscribe to this school of thought argue that it makes the students ready for the outside world as it is practical instead of teaching only concepts and theory. Landøy et al. (2019) explain that this approach has been known to promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It is important to note that many of the teachers who use this strategy often rely on group work as well. This goes to show the importance of group work in a class.
An example can be given to explain this concept further. A teacher would like to teach about corporate social responsibility. The teacher brings in material about two companies where one has a corporate social responsibility strategy and the other does not. The students then have to work in groups to check for differences, especially in regards to how the presence or lack of corporate social responsibility affects the companies’ public image.
Landøy, A., Popa, D., & Repanovici, A. (2019). Collaboration in designing a pedagogical approach in information literacy. Springer Nature.
Erika S., & Wiskow, M. K. (2020). Stimulus presentation versus stimulus removal in the Good Behavior Game. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 53(4), 2186-2198.
Sobeck, E., & Reister, M. (2020). Preventing challenging behavior: 10 behavior management strategies every teacher should know. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 1-9.
Santosh, K. C. (2020). AI driven tools for coronavirus outbreak: Need of active learning and cross-population train/test models on multitudinal/multimodal data. Journal of Medical Systems, 44, 93.
Lestari, F. (2019). Cooperative learning application with the method of “Network Tree Concept Map”: Based on Japanese learning system approach. Journal for the Education of Gifted Young Scientists, 7(1), 15-32.