Teachers can use many different types of teaching methods or strategies in their classrooms. Often called "best practices," the most effective methods are time tested and research-based. Robert J. Marzano, a nationally recognized educational researcher and author, identifies several effective teaching strategies in his works that are appropriate for all grade levels, subjects and ability levels.

Creating Positive Rapport

If students do not respect or relate to the teacher, even the best teaching strategies may prove ineffective. Teachers can build these relationships by taking an interest in their students' lives; simply asking them how their weekend was when they return to school on Monday can show students that you care. Being friendly, offering help and motivating students to do well can create a positive classroom environment.

Cooperative Learning

Grouping students in small groups to work toward common goals can be an effective strategy that increases student achievement. When working in a group, students have individual accountability, learn to work as part of a team, accept diversity and practice their social skills. Educational author and researcher Dr. Spencer Kagan claims that the academic gains made by using cooperative learning appear in over 500 educational research studies.

Summarizing and Note Taking

Marzano also claims that the skills of summarizing and note taking increase comprehension. Summarizing is useful for students to analyze text, narrow down important information and put it into their own words. Note taking can be very beneficial when done properly and in a consistent manner. Research shows that a student taking down notes word-for-word from the teacher or the board is not an effective method; however, when the teacher or students use symbols or images, brain activity increases.


Although probably the least favorite method of most students, homework is an effective instructional tool. Contrary to the name, homework is not only done at home but is any activity that extends learning outside of the classroom setting, such as visiting a museum and writing a summary of what you learned. Homework gives students a chance to practice their newly learned skills, reinforce what they learned or alert them to problem areas in which they need extra help. It is important for teachers to give prompt feedback on homework assignments and encourage students to try to complete it themselves.