Can Innovative Teaching Methods Create Strategic Bedfellows?

May 24, 2023

When it comes to the education industry, the methods used in teaching vary with curricular changes and evolve as necessary. Maintaining standards across educational subjects is the goal for schools and education boards, which means adapting to how children should and can learn. From the use of innovative IT in the classroom to agile teaching methods that match the times, the educational methodology is an interesting realm.

Beyond IT, talented teachers, and the broader curriculum, which can all be critical elements across the educational industry, it is perhaps important to embrace the idea innovative ways of engaging young minds can be both powerful and effective. Some of the classroom content my children receive, for example, involves outdoor teaching to embrace nature and linguistic experiments designed by university professors to accelerate learning while making it intriguing for the pupils.

When you think of mathematics, one may often hark back to the days of times tables (still important, of course) and a sometimes plodding and methodical algebra teacher that would never deviate from textbooks to even try to make what can be dull if a critical subject is very appealing. Why not use the idea of how to count cards in blackjack as part of your strategic math lesson or how to play the stock markets as part of your economics class?

Educational Methodology: That they learn versus how they learn

In terms of learning, it is critical that children gain a foundation in their early years. Creating these elementary educational building blocks on which further, more advanced knowledge can be gained and built is critical. With that in mind, it is perhaps important to discuss methodology and the idea that it is what they learn that is as important as how they learn.

As previously mentioned, curriculum guidelines are important, but how to deliver those can sometimes make all the difference to how much engagement and enjoyment pupils get from each lesson, subject, and discipline. Innovation can get results that cannot be understated. Of course, the teacher is important and, as I am sure we all recall, the more entertaining the teacher, the more we paid attention in class. But introducing interesting ways of getting kids to learn can be invaluable.

Think of Harry Potter novels. When they were first released, millions and millions of children around the globe became entranced with the stories, attached to the characters, and excited for each new book as it was released. Across the educational landscape, it was widely acknowledged that the number of children reading increased significantly with this, as did the speed and ability to do so.

Whether one likes these books or not, it is hard to dispute that the fact that children, in their millions, started to read more, and became more advanced in terms of reading ability and creative thinking, was more important than the books that inspired this progress. In terms of a study guide, perhaps the idea should be a seamless blend of culturally up-to-date materials that deliver the desired educational results, whatever they may be at the time.

As one of the plinths on which the pillar of education is built, reading is a fitting example of the idea that it is that they learn, not always how they learn. I am sure that some would be haughty or downright snobby about the idea that watching or playing darts would be an innovative way to learn and finely hone quick arithmetic skills, but it is certainly not to be questioned in terms of the fact that it can be useful. The same can be said of other sports, such as snooker, where the ability to add, subtract and multiply almost instantaneously is simply critical.

Teaching What Is Needed with Whatever Works

All this considered, things such as maths in darts or strategic thinking or probability in card games can perhaps be seen as strange but useful bedfellows in educational methodology. Naturally, it is critical that textbooks and structured learning are the starting point, but as teaching evolves and children develop more inquiring and inventive minds, harnessing that opportunity to teach should be a focus.

For some, it may be online platforms and technical innovations within education that capture the imagination and inspire an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. For others, it may be maps of the world, flags, or an interactive globe that delivers information about each nation. As these two examples suggest, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to educational engagement, just as there are no two children who are the same in terms of how they learn or what will ensure that they progress educationally.

To put it more succinctly and to return to the central point, learning is about getting children engaged with and invested in the educational process. Without this engagement, pupils can drift away in terms of attainment or, in worse cases, see education as boring rather than interesting, optional rather than essential, and mandatory. Ensuring education is open to all and fit for different ability groups, introducing innovative methods, and perhaps, on occasion, strange educational bedfellows is something not to be forgotten.

About the Author Kyrie Mattos

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