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What Is a Teaching Methodology?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 23, 2024
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A teaching methodology is essentially the way in which a teacher chooses to explain or teach material to students so they can learn the material. There are many different methodologies that can be utilized by a teacher, and the methods chosen often depend on the educational philosophy and preferences of a teacher. It is also not uncommon for a teacher to utilize multiple methods within a single lesson or over the course of several lessons. A methodology of teaching can include the use of lecturing, group or small group discussion activities, and engaging students as teachers for their peers.

It is important to understand that a teaching methodology is not the same as an educational philosophy for a teacher, though they can often be related. The philosophy a teacher chooses usually indicates how the teacher believes students can best learn new material, and the ways in which students and teachers should relate and interact in the classroom. This philosophy often impacts the choices a teacher can make regarding which teaching methodology or methodologies he or she chooses to use, but they are not necessarily directly connected. Teachers commonly refer to their preferred teaching methods and philosophies together, to give other teachers or students an understanding of their approach to education.

While a number of different methodologies can be used by a teacher, one common and traditional teaching method is often referred to as lecturing or explaining. This is essentially an approach to education that regards the teacher as an expert on a subject, and he or she provides information to students who are expected to absorb and understand the material. Sometimes derisively referred to as a “sage on the stage” approach, this teaching methodology has lost favor in recent years with many instructors. Even those teachers who do still use this method often supplement it with other methodologies.

Some increasingly popular methodologies focus on the importance of the student in the learning process. One such teaching methodology utilizes group discussions with an entire classroom, or smaller group discussions with numerous small groups at once. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their education and to be active participants in the learning process.

This can also be utilized with a teaching methodology in which students take on the role of teacher to instruct other students in the class. Small group discussions, for example, are often followed by larger group discussions in which each group presents what they learned or discussed to the rest of the class. Similarly, individual students may be charged with researching a particular subject, and then teaching that material to the other students in the class.

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Discussion Comments

By Fa5t3r — On Jan 07, 2014

@Ana1234 - I think the problem with that is that these days teachers have so much to do that they simply do not have time to follow proper procedure of inquiry.

And besides, teachers are often assigned methods of teaching by the community in which they work. The government or the local school community will basically tell them the way that they're supposed to teach and they don't have a choice in the matter.

By Ana1234 — On Jan 07, 2014

@irontoenail - That's why I think that the best methodology for all teachers is to implement teaching by inquiry. This is a methodology where teachers basically investigate their own practice in order to improve their teaching. For example they might teach a class in a certain way and then see whether the students have actually learned anything from that class and how much they have learned.

They can then compare the results to what happens when they teach the students in a different way and adapt their future lesson plans accordingly.

It's kind of a slow process, but it's definitely worth it, and the best thing is that it is completely adaptable to use with any class of students because it will change to meet their needs.

By irontoenail — On Jan 06, 2014

Honestly, I really think that teachers need to make sure that their philosophy lines up with their methodology.

Because just thinking that you're going to be good to all your students and understand their needs isn't actually going to help them unless you have a methodology that can put that kind of thinking into practice. Your teaching strategy is important.

I think there is this theory that teaching is intuitive and there is no way to really teach yourself to be a better teacher which is rubbish. You can learn to be a better teacher, the same way that you can learn to be better at anything else.

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