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Refreshing Your Teaching Techniques: Ideas for Innovative Instruction in the New School Year

As you embark on another academic adventure, take the time to revitalize your teaching techniques for more engaging and effective instruction. In this article, we will explore new ideas for innovative teaching that will invigorate your classroom and captivate your students’ attention.

Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning (PBL) is an instructional approach that involves students in real-world projects and challenges to develop knowledge and skills. PBL is a student-centered teaching method that encourages learning through engaging, real-world projects. PBL typically involves the following phases or steps:

  • Identifying a problem

  • Conducting research

  • Developing a solution

  • Creating a final product or presentation to share

PBL incorporates student voice and choice as well as inquiry. PBL can even involve a community partner and a publicly presented end product. Here are a few examples of PBL in action:

  • Designing and building a community garden to address food insecurity in their neighborhood

  • Creating a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving

  • Developing a business plan for a new product or service

Flipped Classroom

The concept behind the flipped classroom is to rethink when students have access to the resources they need most. If the problem is that students need help doing the work rather than being introduced to the new thinking behind the work, then the solution the flipped classroom takes is to reverse that pattern. 

In a flipped classroom, students watch pre-recorded video lectures and complete readings or digital modules before class. In-class time is then used for questions and assessments, allowing students to apply and elaborate on course concepts. The main goal of flipping a class is to cultivate more deeply engaged learning experiences for students when the teacher is present to coach and guide them. 

Kinesthetic Learning

Kinesthetic learning is a learning style in which individuals learn best through physical activities such as touching, moving, or performing hands-on tasks. Also known as tactile learning, kinesthetic learners prefer to actively participate in physical activity to learn a topic or skill rather than listen to a lecture or read about it. 

Here is what kinesthetic learning activities look like in different subject areas:

  • Math: Use manipulatives such as blocks or counters to solve math problems

  • Reading: Create a "reading corner" with comfortable seating and fidget toys to allow for movement while reading.

  • Science: Take students on a nature walk to observe and collect specimens

  • Social Studies: Use role-playing or simulations to help students understand historical events or cultural practices


Similar to PBL, design thinking is a problem-solving approach that involves identifying challenges, gathering information, generating potential solutions, refining ideas, and testing solutions. In education, design thinking is a mindset and approach. This process encourages students to develop creativity, problem-finding, collaboration, and communication, as well as empathy, creative confidence, learning from failure, and optimism. 

Design thinking is a five-step model for creative problem-solving that focuses on understanding people's needs: 

  1. Empathy

  2. Define

  3. Ideate

  4. Prototype

  5. Iterate


Gamification involves applying game design elements to an educational setting to make learning more engaging. The goal of gamification is to maximize enjoyment and engagement by capturing the interest of learners and inspiring them to continue learning. This technique often uses the following elements:

  • Point scoring

  • Peer competition

  • Teamwork

  • Score tables

Here are some examples of gamification in the classroom:

  • Using game-based platforms such as Kahoot! to create quizzes and assessments

  • Adapting old-school games for class-wide use

  • Using game design elements such as rewards, goals, and narrative to keep students engaged

Spaced Learning

Spaced learning is a learning method that involves breaking a long course into several shorter sessions or modules with breaks in between the sessions. This concept goes back to 1885 when German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus introduced the spacing effect. 

The approach is based on the temporal pattern of stimuli for creating long-term memories. With repeating lessons at regular intervals to re-enforce concepts, spaced learning is designed to minimize the forgetting curve and maximize learning retention. 

Innovation Should Be Fun for Teachers Too

Don’t be afraid of change. New instruction ideas should be fun for teachers, too! It can foster creativity, encourage collaboration, and promote professional development. When teachers have fun, it positively impacts student outcomes and creates a dynamic learning environment.

As you embark on this new school year, remember the tremendous impact you have on the lives of your students. By refreshing your teaching techniques and embracing innovative approaches, you create a dynamic and engaging learning environment. 

Written by Rachel Jones
Education World Contributor
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