Study on Interactive Teaching Methods

Teaching is a profession which requires not only a good teacher but also a cooperative student who helps the teacher to achieve the objectives set at the end of the lesson with ease. For many centuries, the teacher was the primary source of information, the font of knowledge. Books were nonexistent or scarce, as they still are today in developing countries of the world, and information was passed orally from teacher to pupil. Even nowadays, newly constructed classrooms often have the same configuration as those lecture halls built centuries ago. As good teachers, we are almost always on the lookout for new and interesting ways to stimulate our students.

It is the responsibility of the teacher to make the lesson as interesting as possible inside the classroom. We, as teachers, must now recognize that our students no longer have to depend on us for the acquisition of information, which may be one reason some teachers report low attendance in class. Why wake up for an 8 AM lecture if you can learn the material on your own? And that brings the fundamental question that we each need to answer: What is my role as a teacher? What can I do during my face-to-face time with students that they cannot do as effectively on their own? The teaching of any subject matter is usually based on an analysis of the nature of the subject itself and the application of the teaching and learning principles drawn from research and theory in educational psychology. The result is generally referred to as a teaching method or approach, by which we refer to a set of core teaching and learning principles together with a body of classroom practices that are derived from them. The same is true in language teaching, and the field of teaching methods has been a very active one. Throughout the 20th century new approaches and methods proliferated and some achieved wide levels of acceptance and popularity at different times, but were then replaced by methods based on newer or more appealing ideas and theories.

All students do not learn in the same way. Teachers know this and they need to use different teaching methods in order to reach all students effectively. A variety of teaching strategies, a knowledge of student levels, and an implementation of which strategies are best for particular students can help teachers to know which teaching methods will be most effective for their class. A wide variety of foreign language teaching methods developed in the 20th century and this fact strongly influenced the process of second language teaching and learning. Teachers choose the method that seems to them the most convenient and appropriate. However, it is a quite subjective and individual process. Basic teaching methods can be classified into the following categories:

  • structural methods: the grammar-translation and the audio-lingual method;
  • interactive methods (communicative language teaching, direct method, language immersion, natural approach, proprioceptive language learning method, silent way, storytelling, teaching proficiency through reading, total physical response etc.)
  • functional methods: situational language teaching.

Kevin Yee, the author of interactive techniques, considers interactive methods to be the most effective ones. They involve a collection of more than 100 teaching strategies that aim to engage students in studying process. Most of them encourage the natural acquisition of language, not learning. There is an important distinction between language acquisition and language learning. Children acquire language through a subconscious process during which they do not study grammatical rules. The same as they acquire their first language. Language learning, on the other hand, is not communicative. In language learning, students have just knowledge of the language and can operate it. Research has shown, however, that knowledge of grammar rules does not necessarily result in good speaking or writing. A student who understands the rules of the language may be able to succeed in a standardized test of English language but may not be able to speak or write correctly.

Interactive techniques are essential inside a classroom while teaching a lesson. They help teachers to create a lively and respectful environment for learning and to achieve the following objectives:

  • all students must become engaged in the learning process and must be passionated about the subject matter.
  • the classes should be fun and meaningful at the same time.
  • the students have to learn to work together.
  • the teacher must form positive and respectful relationships with his students that will allow them to learn more effectively .

Teachers often feel that some of the students in their classrooms are „somewhere else.” These are the students who sit in the back of the room and do not participate in class activities. Some of these students may be preoccupied with personal issues, while others may feel so disconnected from the subject matter that they find it difficult to concentrate.

The interactive methods make clear to all students that their participation and their authentic voices are valued. It helps to break down the barriers that may be holding students back from participation, and it helps teachers to gain insight into why students may be disengaged.

When these barriers begin to break down, students are freer to engage with the class’s academic content.Also, use of interactive exercises allows teachers to tap into the range of „multiple intelligences” described by psychologist and educator Howard Gardner. Most of the exercises work with bodily/kinesthetic and interpersonal intelligences, and many work with intrapersonal, musical, and spatial. Students whose strengths are in areas other than the types of intelligence most relied on for classroom work (linguistic and logical-mathematical) are more likely to become engaged as their own strengths are called upon.

Experienced teachers recognize that powerful learning experiences are often playful. These are not distractions from real learning, but instead allow students to explore their learning through play and apply their learning through work. Study of mental life has made evident the fundamental worth of native tendencies to explore, to manipulate tools and materials, to construct, to give expression to joyous emotion, etc. When exercises which are prompted by these instincts are part of the regular school program, the whole pupil is engaged.

In order to make the lesson approachable to the students the teachers must adopt devices like interaction, group work and role play inside the classroom while teaching a particular lesson. These techniques help the students to comprehend better and in a faster process.

Cooperation fuels human development. The ability to communicate effectively and the ability to work in collaboration with others are essential skills for success in almost any sphere of life. The interactive methods allow the teacher to facilitate relationship-building and surface group dynamics so that collaboration becomes a classroom norm.

Interaction between the teacher and the student is an essential part of the lesson. Role play and group work also helps the student to focus on the important parts of the lesson and makes learning simpler. Especially in English and French Classes this technique may work wonders for the students. Other methods that can be adopted are audio-visual aids inside the classroom, exhibitions, extra reading and discussions and many more can be made suitable for the students. It depends upon the teacher to adopt the technique that she finds appropriate for the students and applicable for the lesson taught.Research reveals that the quality of student-teacher relationships is associated with students’ academic motivation and attitudes toward school and that youth who have positive relationships with teachers are more likely to achieve personal and professional success. Through warm-up questions and springboard exercises, the interactive lesson provides opportunities for teacher and students to build respect for each other’s strengths and life challenges while learning together. Interactive learning in the classroom help students prepare more successfully for the outside world than those who do not. Engaged students who actively participate in their own education are more apt to remember more from a lesson and then transfer newly acquired skills to different situations. They are able to express their own opinions during the class.  They will have chance to talk in front of their friends and teacher. So it will help them to gain self confidence to talk. Interactive environment is good for the students to present themselves in front of everyone and this is the time to train them to be courageous enough for their future work or career presentation. It motivates students and helps them to improve their communication skills with people. So they can be more active during class. Furthermore, it allows teachers to make effective use of classroom resources. Teachers will be able to analyze his/her students learning capacity easily. The feedback from student will be as fast as possible.

Interactive environment brings conducting brainstorm sessions for the students that can help students to work in a group. So they can learn how to work in a group. At the same time, it makes the learning sessions more interesting and fun so that the students will have more intentions to learn new thing. Students sometimes learn better from each other than they do from the teacher. Encouraging cooperative learning among peers through projects or assignments creates amore relaxed classroom environment. However, certain specific obstacles are associated with the use of active learning including limited class time, a possible increase in preparation time, the potential difficulty of using active learning in large classes and a lack of needed materials, equipment or resources.

Bibliography:
1. Brown, H. (2001). Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy (2nd ed.). White Plains, NY: Longman.
2. Johnson, Keith; Johnson, Helen, eds. (1999). „Approach”. Encyclopedic Dictionary of Applied Linguistics: A Handbook for Language Teaching. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
3. Oprea, C.L.(2009). Strategii Didactice Interactive, E.D.P.
4.  Richards J.C. and Rodgers T.S. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching, Cambridge University.

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