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Are Student Teachers Learning Outdated Teaching Methods?

Teaching methods have stayed practically the same for millennia. The teacher/professor stands in front of the class and gives instructions and information that the students need to learn. Yet, time and time again, we are shown that the standard of teaching falls flat for today’s kids; it’s time for schools and colleges to change their basic tenets of teaching.

To change teaching, we first need to teach students the correct strategies and focus on evolving technology since many teachers grew up with the internet; technology is their middle name. Future teachers must be allowed to give input into what and how young people should be taught.

Moving from Past Techniques to Current Practices

Memorization and repetition have always been stalwart in classes. Remembering dates and facts that seem irrelevant to students is essential to passing exams. The problem is that students rarely absorb knowledge; they just repeat facts. 

A student teacher should be able to adapt to different learning styles. In this way, they will cater to the individual rather than massing everyone into the same pot. People learn through critical thinking and creativity. It’s important to not only remember a fact but to be able to figure out why it happened. For example, giving students a chance to talk about the consequences and ramifications of historical events could give them a new perspective.

Focus on the Individual, Not the Group

Most classrooms are built around the teacher, with the students considered to be vessels waiting to be filled. New teachers should teach individuals rather than groups whenever possible. Young people learn at their own speed, some are faster than others, but not one person is the same in their skills or learning capabilities as all the rest. 

As much as possible, help students see what suits their abilities and work from there. This will make for an active, not passive, classroom atmosphere, encouraging everyone to work together and help each other. It means sharing ideas and finding answers that may not be obvious.

Reconsider Exams

As students progress in their schooling, and once they reach high school, one of the most important things in a student’s life is their grades. Grades will determine a student’s ability to get into university or not. And, of course, there is no way around that. But is it necessary to test so harshly during elementary and middle school? 

If exams are the be-all and end-all, that leaves little room for exploring, creating, and questioning. Perhaps more emphasis could be placed on student interaction and participation and less on memorization of data.

Increase the Use of Technology

Teachers must be trained to effectively use tablets or laptops in and out of the classroom. These can be important tools that inspire learning by searching for more information, validating information, and exploring personal interests in the subject matter.

With digital information, students can study whenever they want to. They can work alone or with others at their convenience. They could even explore various platforms and find like-minded students in other parts of the world.

Try Different Teaching Strategies

A new teacher might want to consider small groups within the class instead of one broad audience. This would work especially well online. There would be cooperation and teamwork outside the classroom, which could give the students more of a personal interest in their studies. 

There are “Flipped” classrooms, such as Clintondale High School in Michigan. The school made a giant leap forward using educational technology many could learn from. Here’s how it works; the teacher stands on the sidelines instead of center stage. Using technology, the teacher focuses on groups of students working together. But you are always there to help and keep things moving. 

Final Thoughts

Finland has one of the best educational systems in the world, and there are many reasons for this, but three of the most important aspects student teachers should take into account include:

  1. Students should not be given any standardized exams. Instead, give continual assessment and grade students as individuals. 
  2. Stress working together and cooperating rather than competing with the others.
  3. Give students very little homework. Foster relationships with your students and provide only the necessary aid.

So, it stands to reason that student teachers should learn or experiment with new teaching methods to benefit their students. The more we focus on teaching our student teachers the correct principles, the better the outcome for our students.

Written by Cathy Tomkinson
Education World Contributor
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