Teaching Tips

These teaching tips offer suggestions for small-scale interactions with your students, which not only raise student engagement, they often aid significantly in student learning. Our complete list of over 100 interactive techniques provides a toolbox from which to draw ideas. Some of the more common techniques are explained below.

teaching tips

Tip # 1

Empty Outlines
Tip # 1 : Empty Outlines

Distribute a partially completed outline of the day’s lecture and ask students to fill it in. Useful at start or at end of class.

Tip # 2

Total Physical Response (TPR)
Tip # 2 : Total Physical Response (TPR)

Students either stand or sit to indicate their binary answers, such as True/False, to the instructor’s questions.

Tip # 3

Word of the Day
Tip # 3 : Word of the Day

Select an important term and highlight it throughout the class session, working it into as many concepts as possible.

Tip # 4

Pass the Chalk
Tip # 4 : Pass the Chalk

Provide chalk or a soft toy; whoever has it must answer your next question, and they pass it on to the student of their choice.

Tip # 5

One-Minute Papers
Tip # 5 : One-Minute Papers

Students write for one minute on a specific question (which might be generalized to “what was the most important thing you learned today”). Best used at the end of the class session.

Tip # 6

Muddiest Point
Tip # 6 : Muddiest Point

Like the Minute Paper, but asks for the “most confusing” point instead. Best used at the end of the class session.

Tip # 7

Drawing for Understanding
Tip # 7 : Drawing for Understanding

Students illustrate an abstract concept or idea. Comparing drawings around the room can clear up misconceptions.

Tip # 8

Tip # 8 : Think-Pair-Share

Students share and compare possible answers to a question with a partner before addressing the larger class.

Tip # 9

Jigsaw (Group Experts)
Tip # 9 : Jigsaw (Group Experts)

Give each group a different topic. Re-mix groups with one planted “expert” on each topic, who now has to teach his new group.

Tip # 10

TV Commercial
Tip # 10 : TV Commercial

In groups, students create a 30-second TV commercial for the subject currently being discussed in class and could act it out.

Tip # 11

Begin with what the student knows
Tip # 11 : Begin with what the student knows

Learning moves faster when it builds on what the student already knows.

Tip # 12

Picture Prompt
Tip # 12 : Picture Prompt

Show students an image with no explanation, and ask them to identify/explain it, and justify their answers. Or ask students to write about it using terms from lecture, or to name the processes and concepts shown. Also works well as group activity. Do not give the “answer” until they have explored all options first.

Tip # 13

Tip # 13 : Tournament

Divide the class into at least two groups and announce a competition for most points on a practice test. Let them study a topic together and then give that quiz, tallying points. After each round, let them study the next topic before quizzing again. The points should be carried over from round to round.

Tip # 14

Feedback on Index Cards
Tip # 14 : Feedback on Index Cards

Distribute index cards several times during the semester and ask students to give you feedback on the course.

Tip # 15

Concept Mapping
Tip # 15 : Concept Mapping

Students write keywords onto sticky notes and then organize them into a flowchart. Could be less structured: students simply draw the connections they make between concepts.

Tip # 16

Bumper Stickers
Tip # 16 : Bumper Stickers

Ask students to write a slogan-like bumper sticker to illustrate a particular concept from lecture or sum up.

Tip # 17

Summary Statement
Tip # 17 : Summary Statement

To reinforce conceptual understanding, begin and end your lectures or discussions with a summary statement.

Tip # 18

Peer Review Writing Task
Tip # 18 : Peer Review Writing Task

Students exchange drafts with partners. The partner reads the essay and writes a three-paragraph response: the first paragraph outlines the strengths of the essay, the second paragraph discusses the essay’s problems, and the third paragraph is a description of what the partner would focus on in revision, if it were her essay.


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