Instructional Methods: Activities to Include in Your Lesson Plans

Each student has his or her own learning style. In order to create an effective lesson plan that meets all of these different needs, teachers, tutors, and home school parents should include a variety of instructional methods. This article outlines several useful teaching methods.

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No two children are exactly alike. This is true in the classroom as well as out. Each student, after all, has his or her own unique learning style. While some students learn by seeing, others learn by hearing and others learn by doing.

In order for a teacher to be effective she must be able to reach her students using methods that work best for them. Mixing things up in this fashion will also help alleviate boredom, engaging students, and helping them truly retain their lessons.

Here are a few instructional methods to consider:

Direct Teaching

Direct teaching is the most common form of teaching. It occurs when a teacher addresses the class using whatever means they choose, relaying the information to students as a group. Lessons are well organized, and this method is effective for teaching specific facts and skills, but the format of this type of teaching can stifle creativity.

Cooperative Learning

Group projects not only give children the opportunity to learn by doing, but allow them to work with, teach, and learn from their peers. While some students do not work well in groups, others excel in them.


As one might guess, a lecture is simply a lecture. While some incorporate other media, many simply involve a teacher orally relaying a message. Teachers can engage students and test their understanding by injecting group discussion into the lecture, which breaks up the monotony of a speech.


Brainstorming occurs when a teacher introduces an issue and asks the students to reach a conclusion on their own, through a moderated, guided thought process. While this works well in courses that emphasize critical thinking and creativity, it is not appropriate for math, science, and other analytical subjects.

Videotapes/ Slides/ Digital Presentations

Including new media in your lessons will not only encourage your students to focus, but will appeal to senses regular lectures do not stimulate. They also allow the teacher to metaphorically break out of the classroom and enter the real world, allowing cameras to take students places teachers simply cannot.

Role Playing

The essence of learn by doing, role playing allows the students to act out a lesson and test their skills and knowledge. This method allows students to assume the roles of others and appreciate another point of view, but some students may feel self-conscious or threatened, so be sure to take the needs of such students into account.

Guest Speakers

Guest speakers allow students to learn from those who have first-hand knowledge in the discipline of interest. These guests can not only share real-world information about a subject that students' ordinary instructors have not had the opportunity to acquire, but also breaks up the daily routine, inspiring student engagement.

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