Teaching methods: Advantages and Disadvantages
Teaching is an important function. It is a process of transmitting knowledge of the past and present from one generation to another. It aims at informing, explaining, stimulating, directing, guiding and identifying what to learn. In the classroom, the teacher focuses on achieving the set objectives for the day. Achieving the set objectives cannot be achieved in isolation. It can only be achieved through teaching methods.
Definition of Teaching methods
Teaching methods are those ways which the teacher uses in passing ideas and information to his pupils or students. Teaching methods are necessary as learners differ physically, sociologically, biologically, emotionally and intellectually. In addition, Wikipedia defines it as “a method that comprises the principles and methods used by teachers to enable students in learning. These strategies are determined partly on subject matter to be taught and partly by the nature of the learner”.
Examples are lecture method, discussion method, discover/ inquiry method, project method, play method, demonstration method and questioning method. Some of these methods are teacher-centred while others are learner-centred. Some require practical, some do not. No method is better than the other.
In this method, the teacher uses suitable questions to draw the learners attention to the objectives of the lesson. Questions used should be questions that require yes or no answer, which and why. The advantage of this method is that it allows learners to share ideas, awaken their thinking ability and creates an avenue for active participation. The disadvantage is that some pupils may use it as an opportunity to show off. Therefore, the teacher should make sure that the questions are simple for the slow learners to answer.
This method is teacher-centred. Here, the teacher delivers a well-planned body of knowledge relating to the topic for the learners. This method is used for learners in higher institutions. The advantages are: the teacher has full control of the class and facts are sequentially presented. The disadvantage is that it leads to dictation and provides no time for communication (learners and teachers).
Sometimes the class might be rowdy. As a teacher using this method, he or she has to secure the attention of the learners from the beginning to the end by asking them questions, using illustrations, pictures and audiovisuals instructional materials.
Inquiry and discovery method:
This method is Good for science-related subjects. Here scientific means are used in making research and investigations. The learner must be able to use the formulate hypothesis, test them and draw conclusions. This method encourages creativity and critical thinking and involves all learners.
But it is time-consuming and expensive. Therefore, the teacher has to improvise or make use of the available material.
This is a well-planned method where the class is arranged in groups with the aim of exchanging ideas, opinions and views on a particular topic. The advantages are that it encourages the learners to listen, think and criticise points, it gives them an opportunity to learn from each other and develops their ability to respect other learner’s opinions. Its shortcoming is that it is not suitable for a large or populated class.
For effective use of discussion method, the teacher should allocate time to learners to avoid monopoly. He or She should be conversant with the topic and encourage them to ask questions. There should be a plan and the development of a logical argument.
Here, the teacher makes the lesson dramatic. This method is good for children. The teacher might begin the lesson with a drama and ends it with a discussion. This helps to connect the learners with what the see. The advantages of this method are:
- It makes learning pleasurable, it gets learners motivated,
- it makes them learn while playing. The disadvantage is that it is time-consuming and will require a lot of materials. Using this method,
- the teacher should make sure that no child is idle, discourage too much laughter.
- The teacher must state the aim of the activity so that the learners do not make fun of them.
- From time to time, explanations should be given to captivate their minds.
Other teaching methods are the demonstrative method, class discussion method, debriefing methods, etc.
Finally, for all these teaching methods to be effective, the teacher has to do what we call classroom evaluation. This can be done by understanding the learner’s age, previous learning experience, social, emotional, religious, intellectual background before choosing a particular method for effective teaching.