Teaching Strategies

3 Things to Consider When Trying New Strategies

Illustration of a Balloon Flying Over a Maze
There are so many ideas, tips, and strategies for teachers to consider implementing. I often feel overwhelmed by the volume of resources that are out there. And when I settle on ideas to try out, I can spend a lot of time trying to make the idea work for my students.

After trying a few ideas that didn’t work, I came to a realization that that there are a few things I need to consider when trying out new strategies:

Is it practical?

New tips, ideas, and resources should make the student and teacher’s learning process easier. Some strategies, when you realistically and logistically consider them, may simply not be practical. It may work for others, but not for your and your students. When it comes to practicality consider the following elements:

  • time it takes to prep and implement 
  • number of students
  • resources
  • access to tech
  • and other logistical elements that might influence your decision

Does it suit your teaching & learning style?

This is an important reminder, because we often forget that what works for one teacher in one setting may work differently for us. Whether the new task is explorative, descriptive, analytical, differentiated, or project-based, its delivery should be something that fits your comfort level, or it's at least something you’re open to exploring.

If the strategy sounds great, but you cannot imagine using it with your students, then it might not be the right thing to try at this time. However, it may be something you choose to file under “explore later”, a list that you revisit during the summer break.

Does it align with a learning outcome?

Sometimes we get so caught up new ideas and strategies, we forget what learning outcome we’re trying to help students meet. When encountering a new strategy, it might help to start by focusing on how it aligns with your current learning outcomes. In this way, your time and effort in implementing the strategy is also fully focused on helping students meet their current learning needs. Aligning with learning outcomes benefits the students as well in that it allows them to focus on a particular task and not suffer from learning overload.

I always find that if a strategy is small, interesting, and manageable, it’ll be easier to implement and adopt in my classroom. Also remember that at the end of the day to do what feels right for you and your students to meet their learning needs. It’s easy to be influenced and even intimidated by the amount of resources out there, but know that you’re already a great teacher for reading about and being inspired by new teaching practices.

This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we've preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer's own.