Best Teaching Practices

Best Practices

The words "best practices" written on a chalkboard

 

“Best practices” connect relevant educational research to in-course application to help instructors do the following:

  • Inject rigour into the curriculum and its presentation
  • Develop students’ thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Motivate, engage, and prompt students to learn

While the entire “Resources” section of the site addresses “best practices” for university-level teaching, this section covers other important but more “miscellaneous” issues not found under the specific topics listed in the left column.

Give Students Time to Think

Decorative: "Pause" with a pause button as the "u"

 

"Extending the Silence" (online article) points out that, on average, "the amount of time teachers pause after asking a question ... [is] 0.9 seconds."

  • "[T]here is a real need to increase the time granted to students to process what they know and to make sense of what they do not understand."

4 Strategies for Providing Students with Time to Think

1. "Provide wait time."

Help Students Remember

Decorative: Profile of a human head with a puzzle piece missing

 

"Why Students Forget -- and What You Can Do About It" (online article) explains the research behind remembering (and forgetting) and outlines "5 teacher strategies" to help students retain learning:

1. "Peer-to-peer explanations" 

  • "When students explain what they’ve learned to peers, fading memories are reactivated, strengthened, and consolidated."

2. "The spacing effect"

8 Strategies to Generate Effective Questions

Decorative: "Question Starters: Which? When? Where? How? Who? What? What if? Why?"

 

"8 Strategies to Help Students Ask Great Questions" (post) points out that "[a] good question can open minds, shift paradigms, and force the uncomfortable but transformational cognitive dissonance that can help create thinkers."

  • The post outlines several specific strategies to cultivate students' "ability to ask their own great questions–and more critically, their willingness to do so."

1. TeachThough Learning Taxonomy (useful diagram and examples included)