A teaching method refers to the set of step by step procedures used by the teacher in guiding the learners to achieve learning objectives. In other words, as applied to classroom setting, a teaching method is a series of related and progressive acts performed by the teacher and the learners to accomplish the general and specific objectives of the lesson.
Criteria for Selection of Method of Teaching
Few will disagree with the importance of using the right method in teaching. Because there is no simple and instant way of selecting a teaching method, different authors have presented several criteria for this purpose.
Hudgins (1971) suggested aims, goals and objectives; foundation commitments; content; and students’ experiences as appropriate criteria.
Brown (1992) argued for philosophical criteria, psychological criteria, technological criteria, criteria from pressure groups and practicality as a criterion in the procedure for selecting teaching method.
While these criteria are valuable, some of them lack direct practical application for school curricula. For a particular teaching method to be appropriate and efficient, it has to be in relation with the characteristics of the learners and the type of learning it is supposed to bring about.
Following are the considerations that one should keep in mind while selecting a method of teaching.
1. The Learners’ Profile
In choosing a method of teaching, a teacher must take into account the age, prior knowledge, style of learning and the nature of learners i.e. example the slow learners or fast learners. If the number of slow learners in the class is higher than that of fast learners it will force a teacher to use such a method that is easier for the slow learners to understand the lesson or subject maters.
2. Class Size
Our courses or classes will vary in size and the numbers in a particular teaching session will change from very small to very large. Quite clearly class size plays an important part in selecting a method because some are unsuitable when the group is excessively large or small. For example, discussion method may be effective for a small group but not for too large a group.
3. The Learning Objectives
The specification of learning objectives is important in selecting an appropriate teaching method, for these serve as targets for our teaching. In our schools, we are mainly concerned with knowledge or the cognitive domain for which brainstorming, discussion, lecture method etc. are suitable, while demonstration, project etc. will serve better for practical skills.
4. Local Constraints
One should also consider any local constraints when selecting a method. The two most important factors are the time and facilities available, including resource materials and textbooks. Quite clearly if an essential requirement for a particular method is not available, for example, a piece of equipment for a demonstration, then that method cannot be used. Similarly, if there was insufficient time to undertake a field trip, then some other method such as a video recording would have to be used.
5. Autonomy of Students
The degree of student autonomy is increasingly featuring in the selection of methods but this tends to be the case in more developed countries, where students often are more independent and have a wider choice in how they study university courses. In Africa, perhaps, this should not concern us too much at present but it is something to bear in mind for the future, particularly if we wish to become more learner-oriented.
6. Lecturers’ Preferences and Dislikes
This is mentioned because there is evidence that lecturers’ likes and dislikes, together with their experience, have a bearing on the method they use. This is partly related to their philosophy, style and value system but also to their past experiences and their confidence in using new and often less controllable methods. Here we are not going to deal with this in depth but only wish to indicate that there is a need for the dissemination of new information to lecturers, together with periodic updating workshops on teaching methods.
7. Examination Set Up
This also limits the method to be applied in teaching a subject. For example the teachers always look for the examinations format and teach the students in a way that make them becoming able to answer such examination that are facing them.
- Bello J.Y. (1981). Basic Principles of Teaching. John Willey and Sons, Ibadan.
- Hudgins, B.B. (1971). The Instructional Processes. Rand and Mc Nally company, Chicago.
- Nacino, B.R., Oke, F.E. & Brown, D.P. (1992). Curriculum and Instruction; An Introduction to Methods of Teaching. Macmillan Press Limited, London.
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