Just like there are many ways people learn, there are many different teaching methods. When deciding which teaching method to use, the teacher needs to consider what learning goal the students are trying to achieve. Not all learning goals can be achieved using the same teaching method. The three most common teaching methods are rote learning, guided problem-solving, and diagnostic teaching
Rote learning means memorizing something "by heart", or exactly as it was presented to the student in the textbook or teacher's lecture. Common applications of rote learning are spelling lists, mathematical rules, historical dates, and chemical formulas. After the students have memorized the given material, they are tested by repeating the material exactly as it was originally given to them. Rote learning is well suited for foreign language vocabulary, history, and spelling tests.
Guided problem-solving is the method used when teachers try to help students become skilled at solving problems. In the guided approach, the teacher first explains the general concept, and then how to attack that specific type of problem. The teacher demonstrates each step of the solution, and then gives the students similar problems to try on their own. This allows the students to apply the concepts they were initially taught to similar as well as slightly different problems. Guided problem-solving is well suited for the maths and sciences.
Diagnostic teaching involves first presenting the students with problems that they are to solve using any method they can. No lecture or explanation is given until after the students have been given adequate time to work on the problems. Once the problems have been solved, the teacher will ask the students to explain how they arrived at their answers. The teacher will then go through the steps required to solve the problem, showing the students which steps they did right and wrong, explaining how to correct any mistakes they may have made.
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