Bloom’s Taxonomy (here below) offers a useful way of thinking about the different types of cognitive processes that students can use to engage with knowledge. How can you incorporate them into your lesson planning?
How did I use a variety of teaching methods to improve the way my students engage with knowledge?
Diary submitted by Gabriella A, Erasmus+ internship in Valencia
One of the most important things to remember as a teacher is that people engage with knowledge in different ways (link 1). Indeed, there are a variety of learning styles that include visual, aural, verbal, and kinaesthetic. Both through my time of observation and through my teaching experience, I was able to work with several different teaching methods, enabling my students to learn in different ways and all have a turn at learning in their preferred style. Furthermore, I learned that a major challenge as a teacher is choosing the right method based on the type of information that you are transmitting. In this reflective diary, I shall develop how I used different teaching methods and explain the reasons why.
It is undeniable that most of my teaching responded to the verbal learning skill of my students, meaning that I would mostly transmit information with words. Indeed, the main way of communicating knowledge to my students was through speaking to them and explaining new terms or concepts with words. This was done both orally and through writing on the board.
Although I used this method far more than any other, at times I found other techniques to be more useful. For instance, during a crossword activity, when attempting to explain the word “cocoon”, I found it quite difficult to strictly use my words. I therefore decided to draw a cocoon on the board so that my students could understand it visually. This ended up working quite well as they immediately understood what I was referring to. In this situation, I believe that I successfully selected the best teaching method and also enabled my students to engage with knowledge with a different type of cognitive process. As a result, I came to the conclusion that when trying to communicate the meaning of uncommon or very specific terms, it would be best to try alternative forms of teaching methods. I think that this is because students do not usually know any vocabulary related to these unusual terms making the verbal explanation of them more complicated. Moreover, I must admit that the aural learning style, referring to the ability of learning through sound or music, was less commonly stimulated in my teaching. However, it did prove to be helpful on several occasions. For instance, when attempting to convey the meaning of a “cricket”, I thought that it would be more judicious to imitate the sound that this animal makes as this is its most distinctive feature. And indeed my students instantly understood what I was trying to convey. I believe that this was a successful choice of teaching method as not only did the students immediately grasp the meaning of the word but they were also stimulated in a new way.
Finally, it is true that I did not get the opportunity to teach my students through physical learning activities. Indeed, throughout my teaching experience none of my classes were taught through kinaesthetic work. However, I strongly defend this type of teaching method and believe that it can be truly beneficial for one’s learning. Specifically, I strongly admire the Montessori method which is a very sensorial based teaching method. Indeed, the children of this school learn a great amount through their senses, with a variety of activities focussing on different qualities: smell, size, texture, flavour, weight, etc. (link 2) I look forward to someday working in an education system similar to this one.
In conclusion, throughout my teaching practice I realised the importance of using a variety of activities that stimulate students in different ways. Indeed, I believe that in order to keep students engaged, interested and productive, it is crucial to create a routine that involves a diversity of activities. Overall, varying between visual, verbal, aural and physical is paramount to successful teaching and learning.