17 Teaching Methodologies To Up-Level Your Teaching 1

17 Teaching Methodologies To Up-Level Your Teaching

Table of Contents

    Choosing an Appropriate Teaching Method for the Outcome you Want.

    There are a wide variety of teaching methodologies utilised in classrooms today. Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages based on the learning objectives, subject matter, and needs of students. Selecting the right methodology requires careful consideration of how each strategy engages learners, the teacher’s role, and the context of the learning environment. While traditional lecture-based direct instruction has been a predominant model, many teachers now incorporate more innovative student-centred methods like collaborative project-based learning or hands-on inquiry-based activities. The rise of online education has also led to flipped classrooms and other blended models.

    As with everything on this site there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The most effective teaching leverages multiple methodologies to provide a stimulating multi-modal learning experience catered to diverse learners. Finding the right balance is crucial to maximising learning, student comprehension, critical thinking, and long-term retention of course material. The choices teachers make about teaching methodologies have a profound impact on how successfully content is conveyed and meaningful skills are instilled.

    Research on Teaching Methodologies

    Current research on teaching methodologies is a vast and diverse field that explores various aspects of how to design, implement, and evaluate effective and appropriate instruction for different learners, contexts, and goals. Some of the topics that current research addresses are:

    Comparing 17 Teaching Methodologies

    Children holding a sign saying teaching methods. Teaching methodologies to revolutionize your practise
    Effective Teaching Methods

    Here are examples, advantages, and disadvantages for several common teaching methodologies:

    Lecture Method

    Example: A teacher standing in front of the class presenting information verbally with visual aids like slides, videos, etc.


    • Allows teacher to convey large amounts of information to many students
    • Structured presentation of key topics and concepts
    • Teacher has good control over content delivery and pacing
    • Can complement textbook and reading materials


    • Students play a passive role, little interaction or engagement
    • Difficult to gauge student understanding in real-time
    • Easy for students to lose focus or get bored
    • Does not provide skills practice or promote higher-order thinking
    • Not ideal for hands-on activities, discussions, or collaborative work

    Inquiry-Based Learning

    Example: Students engage in hands-on experiments, analyze data, research questions, and draw their own conclusions.


    • Promotes student curiosity, critical thinking, and problem solving
    • Students learn through discovery, active participation
    • Allows for open-ended exploration and creative thinking
    • Develops research, analysis, teamwork, and communication skills
    • Caters to different learning styles and paces


    • Requires more prep time and resources for hands-on activities
    • Challenging to ensure all students are on-task and meeting objectives
    • Outcomes can be unpredictable depending on student inquiry
    • Significant change from traditional classroom, may cause discomfort
    • Students may struggle without more structure or guidance

    Small Group Discussion

    Example: Students work in small groups to discuss assigned readings, solve problems, analyze case studies, etc.


    • Promotes communication, collaboration, and critical thinking
    • Allows students to articulate and defend ideas, resolve differences
    • Develops interpersonal skills and relationships among students
    • Increased student participation and engagement
    • Provides opportunities for practice, feedback, and mentoring


    • Requires preparation of discussion topics and guidelines
    • Challenging to evaluate student participation objectively
    • Uneven contributions from students, dominance of a few
    • Difficult to control pace and direction of discussions
    • Some students may not participate without teacher facilitation

    Direct Instruction

    Example: A teacher explains mathematical concepts step-by-step, providing examples and leading a Q&A session.


    • Structured presentation of key information
    • Teacher can emphasize most important points
    • Allows teacher to gauge comprehension through Q&A
    • Useful for teaching facts, formulas, sequential skills


    • Students play passive role, low engagement
    • Does not encourage higher-order thinking
    • Not ideal for collaborative work or projects
    • Risk of losing student interest without interaction
    • Does not provide skills practice

    Indirect Instruction

    Examples of Indirect Instruction: Students work in groups to solve a complex problem, teacher floats around to facilitate, a student-led approach in which teachers allow the learning process to be student-guided. Some examples of indirect instruction methods are:

    • Reflective discussion: This method involves students sharing their thoughts, opinions, and experiences on a topic or issue, and listening to and learning from others. The teacher acts as a facilitator, who poses questions, clarifies ideas, and summarizes points. This method can help students develop critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills
    • Concept formation: This method involves students discovering and forming generalizations or concepts from specific examples or instances. The teacher provides examples or instances and guides the students to identify the common attributes, characteristics, or patterns among them. This method can help students develop analytical, inductive, and deductive reasoning skills
    • Concept attainment: This method involves students identifying and classifying examples or instances that belong or do not belong to a concept or category. The teacher provides the concept or category, and the students generate or select the examples or instances, and test their hypotheses. This method can help students develop classification, comparison, and contrast skills
    • Cloze procedure: This method involves students filling in the blanks or missing words in a text or passage. The teacher selects or creates the text or passage, and deletes some words, usually following a pattern or rule. The students use the context clues and their prior knowledge to complete the text or passage. This method can help students develop reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar skills
    • Problem-solving: This method involves students finding solutions to problems or challenges that have no clear or single answer. The teacher presents or helps the students define the problem or challenge, and provides some resources or tools. The students use a systematic process to analyze, generate, and evaluate possible solutions. This method can help students develop creativity, logic, and decision-making skills
    • Guided inquiry: This method involves students exploring a topic or question through investigation and experimentation. The teacher poses or helps the students formulate the topic or question, and provides some guidance or structure. The students use a scientific method to collect, analyze, and interpret data, and draw conclusions. This method can help students develop scientific literacy, curiosity, and discovery skills
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    • Promotes critical thinking, problem-solving
    • Students learn through hands-on discovery
    • Increased student independence and engagement
    • Allows students to set pace of learning
    • Caters to different learning styles


    • Challenging to ensure students stay on task
    • Teacher has less control over lesson pacing/content
    • Students may struggle without structure
    • Difficult to assess student progress in real time
    • Unpredictable learning outcomes

    Inquiry-Based Learning

    Example: Students design experiments to test effects of different variables on plant growth.


    • Promotes curiosity, critical thinking
    • Develops research and scientific skills
    • Students draw own conclusions from experiments
    • High engagement through hands-on projects
    • Allows for open-ended exploration


    • Requires significant prep time, resources
    • Teacher has less control over lesson outcomes
    • Students may pursue unproductive tangents
    • Challenging to assess student progress
    • Outcomes depend on quality of student inquiry

    Project-Based Learning

    Example: Groups of students develop proposals for reducing waste in their school.


    • Promotes creativity, collaboration, communication
    • Connects learning to real-world issues
    • Allows for differentiated instruction
    • Students create tangible products
    • Increases student ownership of learning


    • Significant teacher prep time required
    • Classroom management challenges
    • Uneven workload between students
    • Assessing broad range of projects difficult
    • Learning outcomes vary based on project

    Problem-Based Learning

    Example: Students take on roles of business consultants analyzing issues and making recommendations.


    • Promotes critical thinking, problem solving
    • Mimics real-world problem solving
    • Improves collaboration, communication skills
    • High engagement through role-playing
    • Allows for open-ended exploration


    • Teacher gives up a lot of control
    • Problems can be vague, solutions unpredictable
    • Students may avoid challenging issues
    • Success depends on problem quality
    • Assessment can be difficult

    Case-Based Teaching

    Example: Taken from Higher Education settings and Law courses. Analyse real case studies to determine appropriate rulings. Used a lot in Geography teaching.


    • Engaging analysis of real scenarios
    • Promotes critical thinking skills
    • Connects learning to real world
    • Encourages discussion and debate
    • Allows for exploration of ambiguities


    • Can be difficult to find good cases
    • Teacher has less control over lesson
    • Students may reach incorrect conclusions
    • Scenarios oversimplify real complexity
    • Assessment challenges

    Discussion-Based Learning

    Example: Students discuss themes and symbolism in a novel through Socratic dialogue.


    • Develops verbal communication skills
    • Promotes critical thinking
    • Collaborative analysis of ideas
    • High engagement through discussion
    • Allows teacher to gauge comprehension


    • Requires significant prep time
    • Risk of uneven participation
    • Hard to ensure students stay on topic
    • Difficult to assess individual contributions
    • Quiet students may avoid participating


    Example: Teacher demonstrates lab safety procedures and proper pipetting technique. This can also include the “I do, we do, you do” teaching model.


    • Allows teacher to model skills exactly
    • Visual component aids instruction
    • Opportunity for students to actively observe
    • Useful before hands-on practice
    • Teacher can emphasize most important steps


    • Students play passive role
    • Does not gauge student comprehension
    • Risk of students losing interest
    • No skills practice or reinforcement
    • Learning limited to what is demonstrated

    Role Playing

    Example: Students role play stakeholders in a historical event to argue perspectives. Think Class wars but with more planning and less fighting.


    • Improves empathy and understanding
    • Engaging way to apply learning
    • Encourages creativity and imagination
    • Develops social and speaking skills
    • Allows for exploration of different views


    • Students may feel shy or uncomfortable
    • Hard to ensure equal participation
    • Students may not take seriously
    • Can lose focus on academic goals
    • Difficult to assess learning outcomes


    Example: Students debate controversial issues like school uniforms or curfews.


    • Develops critical thinking and rhetoric
    • Promotes research and persuasive writing
    • Teaches respectful disagreement
    • Engages multiple perspectives
    • Useful for current events, ethical issues
    • Teaches and provides opportunities for developing Oratory


    • Can breed hostility between students
    • Often lacks depth, nuance on issues
    • Uneven participation likely
    • May avoid complex or ambiguous topics
    • Assessing individuals difficult


    Example: Students participate in mock archeological dig to uncover “artifacts” planted by teacher, or the classic crashed UFO lesson.


    • Hands-on experiential learning
    • Allows safe experimentation
    • Engages multiple senses
    • Connects learning to real situations
    • Promotes teamwork and creativity


    • Significant preparation time required
    • Equipment costs may be prohibitive
    • Controlled environment limits open-ended inquiry
    • Technical problems can disrupt lesson
    • Hard to assess individual learning

    Flipped Classroom

    Example: Students watch video lectures at home and work on projects in class.


    • Maximises class time for applied learning
    • Allows students to pace themselves
    • Teacher gives individual support in class
    • Develops student initiative and independence
    • Caters to different learning styles


    • Students may not prepare adequately at home
    • Lack of in-person lectures can be disorienting
    • Teachers lose control of content delivery
    • Class projects require significant prep time
    • Assessing comprehension more challenging

    Service Learning/Work Related Learning

    Example: Students volunteer at a food bank and reflect on issues of poverty.


    • Connects learning to real community needs
    • Develops social responsibility and civic skills
    • Promotes reflection and critical thinking
    • Great for SEN and less academic learners
    • Motivating volunteer experiences
    • Strengthens school-community ties


    • Logistically challenging to arrange
    • Insurance liability risks/paperwork heavy
    • Variable student experiences
    • Site supervisors may lack teaching skills and safeguarding knowledge.
    • Assessing student learning difficult


    Example: Students earn points, badges, and levels for completing assignments. Kahoot and Plickers are popular examples of this teaching methodology.


    • Increases engagement and motivation
    • Provides rewards and recognition
    • Makes learning interactive and fun
    • Fosters healthy competition
    • Caters to different learning styles


    • Risk of distraction from academics
    • Extra preparation time for teacher
    • Potential issues with equal access
    • Students may focus on rewards over learning
    • Assessing mastery remains challenging

    An A-Z of Teaching Methodologies, Instruction and Ideas

    Here is an A-Z list of common teaching methods, instruction types, and classroom activities:

    A – Activity-based learning
    B – Brainstorming
    C – Collaborative learning
    D – Demonstration
    E – Experiential learning
    F – Field trips
    G – Games
    H – Hands-on learning
    I – Inquiry-based learning
    J – Jigsaw method
    K – Kinesthetic learning
    L – Lecture
    M – Modeling
    N – Note taking
    O – Online learning
    P – Provocations
    Q – Q&A sessions
    R – Role playing
    S – Simulations
    T – Think-pair-share
    U – Universal design for learning
    V – Visual aids
    W – Writing practice
    X – Xavier’s method of intuitive thinking
    Y – Y-charts
    Z – Zines

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