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METHODS OF TEACHING – LEARNING II
A tutorial is a discussion session between a teacher and a small number of students. The smaller the number of students the more effective the tutorial. The number of students in a tutorial should not be more than eight.
The best teacher teacher-student ratio is 1:1. a tutorial must not be a mini-lecture given by the teach er. The teacher should talk as little as possible and encourage the studen ts to think and learn independently.
A project is an assignment given to an individual student, a pair of students or a group of students in which they carry out a piece of independent work on a particular topic. The students have to organize the assignment and prepare a written report to submit to the teacher.
A project may be relatively simple, e.g. to be carried out within a week, or it may be more complex, e.g. to be carried out over a period of several months or even a year.
Small Group Discussion
Small-group discussion is an appropriate technique for encouraging students to analyse, synthesize and evaluate the knowledge that they acquire (higher order cognitive skills).
For example, this method would be highly inefficient for teaching the psychomotor skills of tonometry but, on the other hand, the most appropriate for helping students analyse some of the causes of glaucoma. Group discussion can be instructor-centred or student-centred.
This instructional method is used to enable students develop skills in dealing with “real-life” situations and “problems” in a classroom setting. Simulation is the general instructional process which is usually classified into two types: simulation games and simulators.
Examples of simulation games are written case histories with multi-choice questions or presentation of a laboratory report on interpretation of chest sounds on a tape.
Examples of a simulator are operational models such as the obstetrical phantom or model for incubation. Simulation games are educational games designed to provide students with the opportunit y to practice and develop skills in problem solving, decision making and communicating. Simulation games enable students to act out, through the technique of role play, real-life situations.
A simulator is a device or a model that represents a real-life situation and permits the student to interact with it in practising skills relevant to that real-life situation.
Role play is when the teacher suggests a situation and students are given roles to play. This technique is somewhat like an ordinary play in which each participant is assigned a character, but in this case no lines are learned. The individual playing a specific role provides his/her responses to the situation. Tis technique is appropriate for an instructional objective in the higher cognitive and affective domains.
Characteristics of role-play techniques
• Role-play deals with a well-structured problem situation.
• The problem situation should not be concerned with the personal problems of the role players. However, the situation should be familiar enough for the student s to be able to understand the roles and their potential responses to the problem.
• The objectives of the role-play session should be made explicit.
• Students should volunteer for the various roles rather than be assigned to them.
• Role-play sessions should be analysed by the group after the session and guidelines for the analysis be provided before the session.
Critical – Incident Technique
In this method, the learner learns from a crucial incident which occurs in the course of study or work. Due to the alarm it causes he/she learns to prevent a future occurrence, e.g. a nurse who didn’t observe a post-operative case sufficiently may cause her patient to bleed to death.
Another example is a Health Inspector who p asses diseased m eat as safe for human consumption which causes the consumers to become infected.
How to Decide which Method to Use?
There are a few guide posts to this:
1. Decide what you want to achieve
What do you want your students to be able to do at the end of the session?
• Do you want your students to be able to list the steps in taking a patient’s blood pressure?
• Do you want the students to be able to take a blood pressure reading accurately?
• Do you want the students to be able to explain something clearly to a patient e.g. explain to a pregnant woman that her blood pressure is elevated and what this implies?
The skills involved in the three examples are all different.
Example 1 is a knowledge problem therefore a lecture discussion would do.
Example 2 is a skill and demonstration through practice is necessary. We are interested in accuracy so students could practice taking each other’s blood pressure.
Example 3 is a difficult problem. It involves the skills of explaining, thinking and making decisions and having the right attitude. The students must go through the experiences described in examples 1 and 2 first.
Suitable methods for teaching this may be a simulation and later a practical in the real situation. A practical clinic or ward attachment may be necessary here.
2. Consider the practicality of the method
How much time does it require? Where is the teaching to take place? How many students are involved? What level are the students?
3. Gather the resources and plan the lesson
Whatever method you choose, keep in mind that effective learning should always be fun.
How Attitudes Are Taught
An attitude is a tendency to behave or think in a certain way, e.g. respect for ideas that other p eople have. Certain attitudes are formed or changed during training. Attitudes are rather vagu e things; they are hard to define or explain. Despite these problems, try to teach students to acquire the right attitudes.
Methods for teaching attitudes
Providing information to shape attitudes: by lectures, films, stories etc. Providing examples: The teacher acts as a model or advertisement. Providing experience to shape attitudes:
• Seeing patients suffering with particular diseases
• Eating vegetables you have grown
• Looking after animals; doing, manual work.
Providing discussion to shape attitudes: Small-group discussion with 7-12 participants. Role playing exercise: Students act the parts of different people or patients to reveal some of the feelings involved.
How skills are taught
There are three types of skills.
1. Communicating skills: Persuading, talking, encouraging
2. Cognitive skills: Thinking skills, making decisions, choosing appropriate alternatives.
3. Psychomotor skills: Using hands, doing things.
Methods for teaching skills
Describing a skill
Explain the reasons and stages in performing it.
Demonstrate a skill
Students see an expert perform the skill correctly with an explanation of what he/she is doing.
Students perform the skill through projects, simulations, job experience, fieldwork, workshops, laboratory case studies, ward rotation and apprenticeship.
How knowledge is taught
Knowledge includes the facts that a health worker must know. Sources of facts are the teacher, manuals, books, films, posters and models.
Methods for teaching knowledge
Lecture, seminar, symposium, conference, panel etc.
Having known that no single method is perfect and that teachers need to use various methods to convey messages to audience, the teachers must have the mastery of the teaching-learning methods so that they can be used at will and with ease.
Source: School of Education, National Open University of Nigeria
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