With a variety of teaching methods available for teachers to use as discussed in this chapter, a neonate teacher may seem confused as to which to select in teaching a particular subject or topic.
To overcome this problem, several principles that may guide the teacher’s choice of teaching methods are as follows:
The teacher needs to consider the age and level of the learners in selecting his teaching methods.
If it is a demonstration, is the skill appropriate for their levels such that they would be able to cope and practice it?
Also, he needs to consider if the space and materials available are adequate. If it is a lecture method, are they mature enough at their level to listen and take notes at the same time?
In terms of materials and environment, the teacher needs to consider whether the conducive environment and materials needed for a method are ready or available.
Choose a method that would assist in achieving the objectives of the lesson. The method should be relevant to the intended objectives of the course.
For instance, a teacher who wants his pupils to practice ‘passing’ in basketball is likely to prefer demonstration to the lecture method. Similarly, the demonstration is more relevant in the sciences.
In selecting a teaching method for using the teacher needs to consider the extent to which the method would be convenient for him to function effectively as well as for the students to learn effectively.
Since learning is the essence of teaching, the teacher should select the method that is convenient for students to learn.
For instance, it is out of place for a teacher to lead his students on an excursion (field trip) on the eve of their examination.
When assignments and projects are many and more monotonous they become boring and inconvenient for the students.
Before selecting methods to be used the teacher needs to survey the environment and consider the pupil’s background.
This helps him to opt for methods that are affordable to him as well as his students. For instance, if the students cannot afford a field trip because of the financial cost and risks involved, the teacher could settle for another method to teach the topic.
From this discussion on the teaching methods so far, one can observe that none of the methods is perfect, hence teachers should learn to select appropriate methods at the right time.
However, irrespective of the method employed, the teacher should bear in mind that the justification of teaching is fostering learning.
The method(s) should be used not to indoctrinate but to stimulate and nourish the autonomous powers of the learner, without which he could not learn to do anything.
For effective teaching, a blend or combination of the methods is advisable
Sometimes, the cost of instructional media considered to be appropriate may serve as a hindrance to the teacher.
In other words, if the school management cannot afford to procure the media, it is of no use for the teacher to dissipate his energy pursuing what he cannot afford.
In this circumstance, the best the teacher can do is to resort to local improvisation of such a medium/media.
It is important to stress that the materials to be selected should not be too expensive, time-consuming to make, and not too difficult to use (Aina, 1982).
The objectives to be accomplished at the end of the lesson must be put into consideration.
Different objectives will require different instructional materials.
The following generalizations can be made according to (Davies) (1971):
- Cognitive Objectives can be realized by all instructional materials.
- Affective Objectives are best realized by audio aids; pictures, films, and television: simulators and language laboratories.
- Psychomotor Objectives are best realized by audio aids, large models of reality, simulators, language laboratories, field excursions, and visits.
6. Topic/Subject Matter
It is also mandatory to consider the topic/content/subject matter to be taught. It will be wrong to assume that just any medium can be used to teach all topics.
The nature of the topic will determine the choice of instructional material(s) to be selected. Such factors as familiarity with the topic, concreteness or abstractiveness, and scope are to serve as a guide to instructional media selection.
i. Group size and location: Certain media are best suited for the large audience while there are those for small audiences or even individuals.
The teacher is expected to consider such factors that will improve visibility, clarity, noise, and classroom environment on the part of the learners when choosing instructional media for classroom use.
ii. Intellectual abilities: Instructional materials to be selected should be borne out of consideration for the seemingly different academic abilities of the learner in the class.
A choice of complex instructional media that would benefit only the high academic ability learners in the class is to be considered a wrong choice.
Other related factors such as learners’ interests and preferences in learning styles need to be put into consideration when selecting instructional materials.
Here, selecting criteria would include such variables as; quality of production, ease of use, compatibility, that is, whether it is handy Flexibility of use – can it be used in various ways? And for durability, can it be used for a long?
Any instructional material that is to be used should be within the reach of the teacher. It is of no use selecting materials that are not available.
However, efforts should be made to search for such materials especially if they are from local manufacturers.
Improvisation of such material (s) could also be embarked upon. If materials are purchased, the accompanied manuals which will explain their use should be readable and understandable.
10. Effective Use of Instructional Materials
Selecting appropriate materials does not necessarily mean effective utilization of the materials so selected.
For proper integration of media into the teaching-learning process, the following factors should be considered:
i. Prepare and make available all needed instructional materials for the presentation of a given lesson.
ii. Create a readiness for learning by introducing the lesson content, its purpose/objectives, what the learners should expect, and what their reactions and participation would be.
iii. Match each step of the lesson presentation with appropriate instructional material (s). This should be explicitly integrated into the prepared lesson note for the lesson and strictly followed during delivery.
iv. Organize the classroom to suit the usage of the materials in a manner that would not waste time and create an unnecessary diversion of pupils’ attention.
v. Present the materials in the best form to achieve the purpose for which they are prepared, selected, and used. The decision must be taken as to whether the material(s) has/have to be distributed to individual pupil group usage/or centralized usage.
vi. Make inquiries into what the learners have made out of the usage of the material(s) by asking probing and prompting questions and by moving about the room to see that learners are using media properly.
v. Determine to make the best use of the material by making use of it at the introduction, presentation, and evaluation stages of the lesson.
vi. Make a follow-up after the lesson by encouraging the learners to interact with the material used during the teaching-learning process.
They could be asked to draw, label, explain, infer and form their notes making use of the materials.