To become successful teachers, students should certainly possess extensive knowledge about one or more subject areas. However, the quantity of instruction must be coupled with the quality of a good instructional delivery method. Teachers who have extensive knowledge, but lack the ability to disseminate that knowledge are often ineffective as educators. When correct information is delivered in an interesting, challenging, and comprehensive format, the likelihood of student success is greatly enhanced.
Pedagogy is the study of becoming a teacher or the process of teaching. This term often refers to styles of instruction. Instruction may be presented in a variety of delivery options. Effective teachers must be trained on when and how to use each of these formats to achieve maximum student success. A number of teaching strategies exist, but three strategies have experienced the most popularity.
- The most common delivery option is the method of direct instruction. This is a teacher directed strategy. It is often used for laying the groundwork, or for providing step-by-step instructions. This is a highly effective strategy but it does have limitations. Once this scaffolding of instruction has been put into place, students will require additional methodologies to reach higher level cognitive objectives.
- Indirect instruction entails inquiry, induction, problem solving, and discovery processes. In contrast to the highly teacher driven direct instruction method, this strategy is primarily student driven. When providing indirect instruction, the teacher becomes a facilitator, resource person, or facilitator. While this type of instruction provides students the opportunity to explore subjects and draw their own conclusions the outcomes can be unpredictable.
- Another strategy often employed by successful teachers is that of independent study. This fosters resourcefulness and self-reliance, but works best with students who are mature and independent.
How can the successful teacher know which strategy to employ? Persons considering becoming professional educators should enroll in teaching courses. All colleges with programs leading to a Bachelor of Science or higher degree in the field of education will offer a number of teaching courses in pedagogy as a part of their curriculum.
In addition to these courses designed to introduce delivery options, teaching courses are also designed to provide background instruction in general education courses and classroom management techniques. Teachers opting to teach at the secondary or post-secondary level may be required to take a number of teaching courses in the subject area they wish to teach.