Teaching Strategies is a new work related to effective teaching and learning, edited and translated by Khin Vandy, higher education mentor of the National Institute of Education. The book will supplement the teaching methods which teachers have learned in the past to make them more effective in the classroom.
Vandy said the work is divided into 6 chapters, which are drawn from the results of current research. He spent a year preparing the book, and making sure each chapter complements the others. He has self-published the tome, at his own expense.
“I compiled this book because the educational documents in our country are not thorough enough. There are some successful works, but most of them are now out of publication,” he said.
“It will complement the training teachers have already received, while offering them more strategies to add to their repertoires. If a teacher employs the same repeated strategies, they will not be as effective in the classroom as they could be. Every student has a different learning style and we cannot use the same strategy for all of them,” he added.
There were many cases where students seemed to learn better with one teacher than another, a clear indicator of effective and ineffective strategies, he continued.
“If a teacher finds that students are not engaging in his or her class, they need to ask themselves why. Teachers need to be aware that students – like everyone – are imperfect human beings, so compassion is required,” he said.
“When there is a positive environment in the classroom, the students are happy to learn, and their education will progress accordingly. If a teacher gets frustrated or looks at the students as enemies to be defeated, the learning process will deteriorate,” he added.
Teaching Strategies has six chapters, each of which discusses a specific area an effective teacher should master.
Chapter one identifies different kinds of learners and offers tips on how to help each of them improve their academic results.
One example he offers is that of a student who appears to be looking out of the classroom window while the teacher is speaking. Some teachers take this perceived lack of attention poorly, even hurling whiteboard erasers at students. Vandy suggests that such a student may in fact be listening intently. Some students learn through listening, and a good teacher will recognise this.
The second chapter describes effective classroom practice, which describes teacher-student and student-student interactions.
“Effective teachers need to manage their lessons well. Teachers need to understand how to convey the content of a lesson, and also deal with disruptions. Some teachers do not seek out the reasons for disruptions, but assume the students are at fault. The end of this chapter shows the main causes of student misconduct and offers techniques for dealing with them,” he said.
The third chapter covers planning and preparation. This includes curriculum selection, lesson planning, lesson teaching and review and monitoring.
After planning and organising a class, the teacher begins to practice teaching, which is described in Chapter four. This chapter focuses on questions.
“Why ask questions? What level of questions should the teacher ask? Are the questions too ambiguous or too complex? Will the teacher only accept the answer he expects? These are all valid things that need to be examined by all effective teachers,” he explained.
Chapter five explores classroom assessment and evaluation. First, the teacher must ask what the purpose of the assessment is. There are discussions about four stages of testing: pre-assessment, stage assessment, self-assessment test and total assessment test. Samples and examples of each type are offered.
The final chapter highlights additional teaching methods and examples, such as discussion techniques and methods of collaborative teaching.
Classroom discussion, for example, is an important teaching method, but one which is often underutilised, according to Vandy.
“There are many techniques used to generate ideas and active participation in discussions. These include consulting, four corners, partner based activities, shared work, and many more,” he said.
“Teachers not only need to know the subject they are teaching, but require a lot of tactics, techniques and strategies to make the teaching and learning process run smoothly. They can find these in my book,” he added.
The 400-word tome was available from November 23, throughout Phnom Penh.