This table of the top ten methods comes from the major meta-study of hundreds of classroom experiments done in Colorado USA, published as : Classroom Instruction that Works. Marzano, R et al (2001)
Top ten methods: Brief description*
|1||Similes and analogies||This method comes in several parts:|
Similes and analogies can also be used as an active learning method if students create them themselves.
|2||Note-making and summarizing||This is a process by which your students discover the big picture, the main points from their learning. Examples:|
Notes made by the learner are more effective that copied notes, books etc.
|3||Reinforcing effort||Also known as Attribution Training (to what do they attribute the results of their learning?) and creating a Growth Mindset.|
Learners who attribute their performance to things they cannot change (natural ability, quality of teaching etc) do significantly worse that those who attribute it to their effort.
|4||Repetition||Staged repetition: The brain needs repetitions to secure memories.|
|5||Graphical methods||This means using any method other than spoken or written words. Visual methods are especially effective. For maximum effect, students should generate their own graphics.|
|6||Cooperative learning||This covers a wide variety of ways that students can work together. Successful methods are usually group ways of using other evidence-based methods such as hypothesis testing, graphic organisers etc. To get the high effect size individuals must be held accountable for their learning.|
|7||Goals and feedback||Setting goals and objectives helps the learner see where they are going.Providing feedback shows them how far they are on this learning journey. Assessment for Learning (AfL) is an example of this.|
Summative assessment: a test or task which is marked by the teacher and the student receives a numerical mark, grade etc
Formative assessment: feedback given to a student which increases their learning.
Research shows that summative tests have an overall slight negative effect on learning and should be used as little as possible. Formative Assessment is a highly effective learning device which can take a huge variety of forms.
|8||Hypothesis testing||A “hypothesis” is an unproven explanation, the first step to developing a “theory”. This approach covers active learning methods where students grapple with a problem.|
|9||Activating prior knowledge||Students need to be able to link their new learning to something they already know. We need to assess the current level of knowledge and build on it. The old learning needs to be “activated” by bringing it to mind. Nothing new can be learned (other than by rote) unless it is linked to existing concrete knowledge.|
|10||Advance organisers||These show the student what will be covered in the session (or course) and should be referred to during the course. This helps make the links between the detail and the big picture.|
They work better if presented graphically, either with words or, preferably, pictures. Mind-mapping is a variation.
* For full description see (for instance) Geoff Petty’s “Evidence Based Teaching” or Marzano’s “Classroom Instruction that Works“.
Top ten methods: Extended list of methods
|1||Similes and analogies|
|2||Note-making and summarizing|
Note: Individual students, not just the group, need to be held to account for their own learning
|7||Goals and feedback|
|9||Activating prior knowledge|