Teachers are the main disseminators of knowledge in the schools and society. They occupy the enviable position of being the main interpreters of knowledge for the next generation and future leaders. In order to make this knowledge viable, it requires pedagogical skills that are capable to serve the minorities and all other populations equitably.
Most people are locked out during the dissemination of knowledge not because they are not in the teaching venue at the right time, but because their way of knowing is not incorporated into the teaching styles and strategies (Karl, 1997).
According to Lev Vygotskyas Social development theory we find that he states the cognitive development of a child is influenced by social interaction he says that while biological factors highly influence development, they just don’t occur in isolation. He says that the social environment in child’s life matters a lot in his development. He reasons that adult guidance and child’s problem solving early in life are things that affect cognitive growth. He calls it proximal development zone.
He says that this is the zone where learning takes place. This is also where the child learns from the peers. Children learn speech and writing from their immediate social environment. These are tools that develop from culture and they help children to communicate their needs (Gardner and Jerome, 2001). He reasoned that language and thought are co exist, none can happen without the other. The Neo –Vygotsian approach to child development is more effective than the radical approach.
Which was used in the past didn’t provide students with an environment that encouraged learning where they play an active role in their learning and education. Through this they also influence their peers’ education. Both the teacher and students play untraditional roles together to enhance learning. Collaboration between the teacher and students in learning is better than where the teacher dictates to the students what to do. The students then just do the recitation, which is not good learning.
Education or learning where the students and teachers share ideas to enhance learning is the best. According to Vygotsky classroom arrangement should enhance small groups of the students to discuss. This can be done by creating more workspace by having tables and tables clustered. This is where the students can easily interact. In such a case communal learning is encouraged in the class. Teachers develop an instruction set up that is above the students’ development level to help them develop to the next level
From the above theory I can therefore say that Teaching strategies can be defined as the means whereby teachers and instructors use diverse teaching methods or techniques in conveying information to a class of students or those people who are required to gain new knowledge. There are various forms of techniques that can be utilized which include expository teaching, interactive teaching, Small group teaching or discussion, inquiry teaching or problem solving, Individualization method of teaching and models of reality.
This paper will focus on small group discussions and interactive methods of teaching (Gardner and Jerome, 2001). In my position I do not support the constructivism since it is a way of teaching that involve the students to get information through observation and experimentation in this case we find that constructivism method can be described as presentation by the teacher or lecturer to a big group of learners whereby the presence of active learning in the class is limited and only the teacher or lecturer takes the whole time designated for the lesson outlining whatever to be learned.
This method can only be efficient and the best method if strategies that are active should be incorporated. Usually teachers are characterized by longer hours with a lot of topics to be covered which have led to the approach being inefficient, I find it to be a complex method of teaching and that it should be discouraged by any teacher (Bruner, 1996).
since I believe that the constructivism is a complex method of teaching, In order to yield good teaching results in my profession I therefore choose the following types of teaching methods which are the small group discussions and the interactive teaching methods as the appropriate strategies for teaching Small Group Discuss Discussion is found to be the most important strategies applied in many learning institutions which usually involve the division of the students in class into a number of groups that are meant to represent certain points of view on the identified topic that is regarded as the most compromising subject.
Under group discussions we find that there are those who support the argument, that is the proponents or those for, and those who oppose the issue referred to as those against or the critics, this actually indicates the benefits of the team work in many learning institutions whereby we find that students involve themselves in a number of debates through character or even assuming different roles (Print, 1993).
These discussions are also believed to be leading to the achieving of new knowledge because by arguing it out a point, there is an opportunity of integrating ideas and hence conclusions arrived at being useful in the learning process. Since it is a discussing process which can generate more new knowledge it should be encouraged in learning institutions, therefore the strategies that can be applied to encourage team work in schools is that the management should ensure that courses should be introduced that only requires discussions as a method of learning where participants will be required to compile the outcome of their discussions.
Teachers should constantly utilize the discussion approach especially on contemporary issues which require further research (Gardner and Jerome, 2001). The use of this approach should be encouraged in training, primary, secondary, adult, and in the higher learning of institutions such as the universities because it provides an opportunity to argue or oppose certain subject which is an issue which can lead to generation of new ideas.
However, it should strongly be recommended to adult, training and in the university institutions because with such knowledge the learners can utilize in the working environment when they are employed. In the primary level those who are in upper classes can be introduced to debates so that they are familiar with the approach and also get to know that constructive debate about an issue is not bad but can lead to gaining of new knowledge (Bruner, 1960).
The only limitation exist in this strategy is that, there is a tendency of laziness and time wastage since students are left to choose on what topics to discuss on at their own time and may request their instructor to present their findings at their own convenient time, that is, when they feel that they have fully exhausted the topic to discuss on. Small group discussions are regarded as the best strategy to learning and it is said to be democratic since it gives freedom to the learners and the teachers.
Through which they are given an opportunity to organize themselves in groups that everyone that allow individuals to raise different opinions relating to the particular issue under discussion without any restrictions. Under this strategy everyone is entitled to give contributions is given an opportunity to air his/her opinions without victimization or favors. Further the aspect of freedom of scheduling the activities by the students and the presence of good environment makes discussions more democratic and interesting (Print, 1993).
Interactive Method of Teaching Interactive teaching is one whereby learners are provided with an interactive environment where they can express their views, opinions, suggestions and have an opportunity to support their arguments. It involves both the teacher and the learner where the teacher comes up with the topic to be discussed which is open to any form of criticisms or additions to the main point. This interactive teaching method can be utilized whereby there is a big number of audience or learners expected to gain from the knowledge being passed.
This method is found to be effective only if active methods of learning are introduced. The aspect of interactive learning should be incorporated in order to avoid boredom and tiredness among the participants. It should not only be done through talking by the speaker but also the use of boards and lecturers being open discussions should be considered (Print, 1993). The time of interacting should be revised as often as it is allocated a lengthy time frame which has been the main reason behind boredom and tiredness among the partners.
Good communication skills by the teachers should be encouraged in order to pass clearly the intended messages to the learners which lead to solving the most common problem of ambiguity, that is, to enhance passage of clear messages to the listeners or the participants. It is also advisable that lecturing should be encouraged if the topics to be covered are easy and to understand and also interesting to the learners and thus making them more attentive because there will be no boredom and tiredness during the session or lesson and hence gaining knowledge (Karl, 1997).
The interactive teaching method is found to be prescriptive because it does not give the learner an opportunity to air their views or make suggestions. Usually it gives the teacher or the instructor an opportunity to decide for the students thus being prone to being an effective approach. It is a rigid way since it does not provide an opportunity to participants to make any suggestions concerning the subject matter thus there limited generation of new ideas.
The students normally have to follow the set course outline and they are not open to criticize anything even if they are unsatisfied thus rendering this approach to be narrow in terms of the output expected. The lecturer has to come up with what is required and to be covered in the cause and this depends mostly on his professionalism in relation to his duties. For example the topics to be covered during the lecture might be formulated in such a way that some important topics are left out may be because the lecturer may not be conversant with the topics (Gardner and Jerome, 2001).
The use of interactive whiteboards should be encouraged. Recent studies have looked at how interactive whiteboards influences learning and teaching processes in schools. It suggests that whiteboards offer visual display that go in line with the explanations offered by the teacher thus helps students to understand better. It further outlines that the use of technologies in methods like debate and lectures can act as a motivational effect especially when used at the primary school level.
For this interactive teaching method to prosper, we find that many schools are found to be using the Information and Communication Technology which refers to technologies used to collect, store, edit and pass on information in various forms these ICT technologies that are utilized include; Interactive whiteboard, Videoconferencing, PowerPoint research presentation, and Internet use. For example during class lessons, the teacher can use the laptops in presentation when explaining an issue to the students (Bruner, 1960).
Another technique that can be utilized in the interactive method of teaching is the radio broadcasts which are regarded as day to day learning procedures in many learning institutions most radio programs are said to be like lectures because they usually educate the public and the students. Sometimes the conversions are open to callers who make their suggestions thus coming up with different opinions. Recent studies have looked at how interactive whiteboards influences learning and teaching processes in schools.
It suggests that whiteboards offer visual display that go in line with the explanations offered by the teacher thus helps students to understand better. It further outlines that the use of technologies in methods like debate and lectures can act as a motivational effect especially when used at the primary school level. (Print, 1993) Creative Thinking Creative thinking is defined as the process of thinking that enables the mind of an individual to improve its ability of being creative, this in simple terms means that it is a process bringing in new and different ideas from the existing ones.
Research indicates that there are different types of creative thinking examples of the creative thinking are; the expressive creativity this type of thinking is believed to be occurring most often in children which is presented by children through their drawing and playing, the productive creativity this is the type of thinking which is practiced by many scientists since it involves the process of a continuous production that is characterized by the urge of creating but not expressing, the other type of a creative thinking is that of an inventive creativity thinking which is always geared towards solving and improving the technology in question. Research indicates that this creative thinking is always characterized by its ability to be nurtured and changed by an individual (Ennis, 1991). Research indicates that those individuals using the creative way of thinking actually indulge in the making of instinctive approaches to the existing solutions depending on the insights and perception surrounding the situation.
Here we find that in the process of taking information through individuals’ senses, the brain therefore functions in the following process that is after the information is gathered the brain is enabled to reach a decision through the process of thinking or even feeling, and in normal cases these decisions are therefore allowed to through the judgment process under which is found to be relating to the brains approaches towards the global externally thus the brain is found to be dealing with the judgment on how individuals handle their daily activities, therefore an individual using the right side of the brain are said to be preferring situations to be put in an orderly and an organized manner including the factor of neatness and a good establishment before reaching a conclusion (Tama,1989). The people using the creative thinking are therefore divided in two that is the perceivers and the judgers. Under this grouping the judgers are said to first of all come up with a plan which will enable a number of things to be done before getting a solution thus the brain allows them to get ready by making sure that their work is done in advance, thus bringing in the idea of them preferring their solutions to be prepared, worked upon and brought to a solution with a particular plan to move on at a later time (Bruner, 1996).
The other types of individuals using the creative thinking are the perceivers who are believed to be having an affinity of postponing decisions with the progress of seeking for different options by actually dealing with socializing with other people, listening to others, farming among other activities, this indicates that they usually proceed unexpectedly, the brain makes them not to plan for their solutions in advance and they usually do their obligations at the last minute (Gardner and Jerome,2001). Therefore in this case we find that when many people are found to be more concentrated with either the creative or the critical thinking of the brain in the process of dealing with facts and logic when solving a situation. The majority of the individuals do not understand the problems that always go hand in hand with the elements of social knowledge. Under their expectations and achievements, those applying the use of both types of thinking, usually plan more as compared to what they would actually achieve in actual terms. Future possibilities in them are easily connected with the feelings of the persons affected.
Compared to the individuals using a single type of thinking, who are less genuine in interest and exceptional awareness in their day to day activities; they are special in giving in to the interest their personal experiences, thus they fail to have a strong need for intimate relationships which are usually needed for close interrelations in the society, thus failing in the solving of particular problems (Beyer, 1987). The best example of a creative thinking is the personal experience is the relationship I had between me and my students in a classroom, whereby as a teacher I had a role to motivate a creative thinking to my student, in this case we find that I used a method referred to as a Comprehensive Assessment Test which is an average assessment for students whose outcome represents the position of a particular student in relation to their capability of achieving a learning standard that is always expected by others.
Being a teacher I was given the opportunity of enabling my student to undertake the assessment in a number of activities which features the knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation practiced on her by me, I utilized the following procedures to make her exercise successful (Tama,1989). Benchmarks- under this research indicates that it always involve the setting up of the students ability of creative thinking and solving problems, here I provided the student with a reading test, whereby I ensured that the student was served with the mandate of analyzing, understanding and assessing the information provided to her and then follow the measures required to carry out the exercise. In this test the students’ creative thinking surpasses the essential comprehension of many test questions I gave the student (Bruner, 1960).
In this case the student was also put in the practice of reading passages which allowed her to be able to create meaning from the number of texts she read, the passages were always provided in two forms, one consisting of two to three literary passages such as short stories, poems, historical fiction among others, while the second one carries four to five informational passages such as texts derived from magazines, diaries and newspaper articles Among others (Anderson, 1990) Multiple Choices- this is another method that I the teacher applied in the students’ learning to motivate a creative thinking to her; in this case, I gave her a question and four choices of answers, where she was recommended to choose the most excellent answer for the available question.
Short Response Task- here, I provided the student with a number of questions with a space of eight lines below the question requiring her to write their answers in a duration of five minutes, this particular response carries two points scoring rubric, whereby, the I ensured that the student applies the read, think and explain concept in answering the questions thus the student was needed to be creative in answering the questions provided to her (Karl, 1997). Extended Response Task- This involved a question with a symbol carrying fourteen lines just next to the question which allowed the student to give a longer written answer; here I gave the student more time, at least ten minutes to answer the provided questions, these responses always carry four point scores. This method is usually designed with an objective of improving the students understanding abilities (Anderson, 1990). To apply all these methods of creative thinking in my students’ learning I actually needed her to use her critical thinking in order to succeed in answering the questions I provided to her. Conclusion
In order to yield good teaching results in my profession I therefore choose the above techniques of teaching methods which is the small group discussions, the interactive and creative thinking teaching methods as the appropriate strategies for teaching as compared to the other teaching methods which are stated to be the complex methods of teaching, like the constructivism teaching should be discouraged since it is stated to be one of the most complex method of teaching by any teacher, in this case we find that it is actually passive and involves the teacher take the major part of participation such as organizing the information that is to be conveyed to the students in a manner that will enhance their understanding on the particular topic, we also find that in this method there is no room for the students to offer their views on the subject being discussed, it is regarded as the most inefficient mode of teaching and has contributed mostly to deterioration of education standards around the world (Print, 1993). Reference: Anderson, G. (1990) Teaching Creativity for Professional Growth and Personal Reward. NACTA Journal; 34 (4) pp 53-56. Beyer, B (1987) Practical Strategies for the Teaching of Thinking, Boston MA, Allyn &Bacon Inc Bruner, J. (1996) the Culture of Education- Cambridge, Mass- Harvard University Press
Bruner, J (1960) the Process of Education- Cambridge, Mass- Harvard University Press Ennis, R. (1991). Critical Thinking; a Streamlined Conception, Teaching Philosophy 14 (1), 6-20 Gardner, H. , Jerome B (2001) Modern Thinkers on Education from Piaget to the present, in J, Palmer 50 edition London: Routledge Karl, A. (1997): Children-Schools & Inequality- Boulder, Co Westview Tama, C (1989) Critical Thinking has a Place in Every Classroom. Journal of Reading, 30, 63-66. Parkerson, D (2001): Transitions in American Education, a Social History of Teaching Routledge; Vol. 242 pp. 14-19 Print, M. (1993) Curriculum development & design second edition St Leonards Allen & Unwin Publishing