Six principles for an effective lesson

The Big Six. For example, the American Institute of Education Sciences mentions a list of instructional methods that are clear that they work, in every subject and for students of all ages. Remarkable: not everyone applies these principles. Most textbooks pay no attention to it at all. The Education Magazine lists the Big Six, including concrete examples. Download the handy infopgrahic with all information via this link. 

  1. Link word and image

    Getting acquainted with a new subject goes best with image and sound. The teacher should not respond to alleged learning styles by using one (pictures) or the other (word). That approach is outdated.

    DO: In the first explanation about an ecosystem (the African savanna), the teacher discusses a flow chart that shows how organisms are dependent on each other (for example ants and grass species).

    NO: When introducing the topic, a teacher shows pictures of organisms living on the savanna, discusses how they depend on each other, and then has children draw a diagram.

  2. Connect abstract concept with concrete example

    Connecting concrete examples to abstract concepts helps students apply that abstract idea in new situations. In combination with concrete examples, even very young children can already understand abstract ideas.

    DO: In an introduction to fractions that add up to more than 1, the teacher shows fractions as pizza slices (concrete) and then puts them on a fraction or number line (abstract).

    NO: Students practice with the number line (abstract), without making an explicit link with a concrete example.

  3. Continue to ask questions

    Students strengthen their understanding of a concept when they have to answer questions such as 'why' and 'how'. Or: Name differences and similarities. This requires more than factual knowledge. Students must investigate causal relationships and substantiate a position.

    DO: Students read newspaper articles from the time of the Great Depression in America in the XNUMXs and diary excerpts from a girl growing up at the time. Then the teacher asks, How did the Great Depression affect rural life?

    NO: The teacher asks students how the girl may have felt during the time of the Great Depression.

  4. Alternate worked examples with open questions

    Teachers often demonstrate the solution to a problem a few times and then let students work independently on similar problems. That can be more effective. Students who program in a lesson are given an example and then solve a problem themselves, learn more than students who see a block of examples and then set to work themselves.

    DO: Children work in groups on eight problems. Odd numbered problems have been worked out. They have to solve the even problems themselves.

    NO: A teacher presents two problems and has each collaborating group solve six problems independently.

  5. Spread exercises

    Everyone retains information better if the explanation and practice are spread over time. Teachers should explain important material at least twice and schedule review sessions after several weeks and months.

    DO: A history teacher who deals with the First World War at the beginning of the year, asks students a month later, when the Second World War is discussed, to compare the two wars.

    NO: At the end of the week, a history teacher asks students to answer open-book questions about material covered that same week.

  6. Tests strengthen memory

    Knowledge becomes more entrenched every time someone digs it up from memory.

    DO: A teacher tests students' math skills weekly with a short quiz and gives them feedback on the answers.

    NO: At the end of the school day, a teacher gives students a small homework question (exit ticket). When answering, they may consult their notes. The questions are marked, but not discussed in class.