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Successful Teaching And Learning Strategies

Paul has spent many years teaching English as a foreign and second language. He has taught EFL in Taiwan and Thailand, and ESL in the U.S.

Author as an EFL Teacher in Bangkok

Author as an EFL teacher in 2009.

Author as an EFL teacher in 2009.

What Is the Best Way to Teach and Learn?

What is the best way to teach and learn? Many people engaged in the teaching and learning of academic subjects, sports, and other skills have asked this thought-provoking question. By knowing the correct answer to this question, so many students, athletes, teachers, coaches, and other skilled people would be better prepared to perform at their highest level. Based on a life-long experience of teaching and learning, I suggest six successful teaching and learning strategies in this article.

One: People Learn What is Personally Meaningful

Why do so many people around the world learn how to drive cars and motorcycles? The motivation behind this learning lies in wanting to have the freedom and independence to go wherever you want. Immigrants to Western countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom rapidly learn English as a second language because it is necessary and meaningful to their lives.

The key to motivating students to learn is making their subject matter meaningful to them. By doing this, you will rapidly engage them in learning. In teaching math, an instructor could show how concepts and formulae apply in solving daily life problems related to money, finance, and budgets. An EFL or ESL teacher could present dialogs and stories in comic strip fashion about topics that are popular among children.

Two: Associative Learning

All learning is based on associations with prior experiences and learning. In achieving successful teaching and learning, it is necessary to first activate a learner's prior knowledge after the learning is found to be personally meaningful. For example, a wise skilled driving education instructor will first find out what his students know about the makeup of a car, its operation, and the rules of driving on the road before beginning driving training. In teaching math, a good teacher will find out whether his students can add and subtract before building on this with the introduction of multiplication and division processes.

Three: Successful Teaching and Learning Involves Use of Different Strategies

There is a common saying that there is more than one way to skin a cat. During the 1980s when China's markets were transforming toward capitalism, the late Communist Party Chairman Deng Xiaoping commented that it doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white as long as it can catch mice. The implication of both of these sayings is that one can employ different strategies to achieve a goal. In the past, many people were convinced that a teacher-centered classroom that utilized a grammar-translation approach was the best way to learn foreign languages. Now, a lot of education research is indicating that a student-centered classroom that employs an audio-lingual or direct approach is the best route to take in acquiring a foreign language.

In recent years, Howard Gardner's theory of multiple bits of intelligence has shown that all individuals have different bits of intelligence for learning. Whereas in the past people concentrated on learning only by logical-math and linguistic intelligence, Gardner introduced us to the idea of people also having spatial, bodily or kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and existential or spiritual intelligence. All of this suggests that persons can learn through kinesthetic, musical, and group activities in addition to the traditional ways of learning.

Other strategies of learning are through critical thinking in which the student is shown how to pose Socratic questioning and represent how they think through mind maps. Feedback from teachers and peers is also a great strategy for teaching and learning.

Student-Centered Classroom Learning

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Four: Learning Occurs Through Social Interaction

Because humans are social animals, it is only natural for learning to occur through social interaction. This is the reason why most children are put into classes rather than being individually taught. I have had experiences learning foreign languages both through group classes and individual tutorials. Overall, I have learned the best in small group classes. This is primarily due to the spirit of competition and feedback which I have received in group classes but not in individual tutorials. In my last tutorial with a native Thai instructor while learning Thai, the instructor never gave me honest feedback, because she thought it would hurt my feelings. Since I was only competing against myself, it was hard to motivate myself to learn well. If I had been in a group class, I'm sure I would have received more genuine feedback from my peers and felt more motivated to compete. Another benefit of group learning is cooperation and mentoring from stronger members.

Five: Students Need Feedback to Learn

Studies have shown that students can remember and learn things faster through hands-on practice and then having the chance to teach their acquired skills to others. Children who sit through a teacher-centered lecture and only take notes with no questioning of the instructor will retain only 10 percent of what they are taught. Is there any doubt then that students need feedback to learn? Unless a student gets actively involved in learning and practicing a skill, he or she will never learn well. This is because we learn from our mistakes. Professional football, basketball, and baseball players spend countless hours watching films of their performances so that they and coaches can critique the performance, and then devise a strategy for performing better next time.

When students do get feedback, it must be positive and not negative. This can be done by giving students a kind of "MacFeedback" sandwich. After the teacher or coach points out what is good about performance, he will point out to the student or athlete what is wrong or deficient, and then conclude what the individual must do to improve his study or skills. Without any type of positive reinforcement, people will not learn through feedback.

Effective Feedback

Six: Learning Requires a Positive Emotional Climate

Finally, if any kind of academic or skill learning is to take place, a positive emotional climate must be present. In the classroom, students must feel good about themselves. Teachers can help by calling all students by their names and paying attention to them with genuine praise. If students sense that they are loved and valued, they will develop self-confidence and self-worth which is so important in learning.

In team sports, a positive emotional climate or good chemistry among the players is necessary for the success of the team. If any player or players on the team are angry or upset about their playing time or role on the team, they will perform badly for the team during games as well as be cancerous for the team. The San Antonio Spurs professional basketball team has been a very successful franchise since the late 1990s due to good chemistry among the players and coaches.

Successful teaching and learning demands giving students what is personally meaningful to them as well as associating the new learning with the student's prior experiences and learning. It also calls for the teacher to use different strategies that make use of student-centered strategies of group learning, feedback, and a positive emotional climate.

Successful Teaching and Learning Strategies

Successful Teaching and Learning Strategies

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Paul Richard Kuehn

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Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on October 09, 2013:


Thank you so very much for your great review of this hub. Yes, these strategies will work, but it takes time for teachers and students to get used to applying them. Onced these strategies are applied, teaching and learning is much easier and enjoyable.

Amanda Littlejohn on October 09, 2013:

Wow. I can honestly say that i think that is a wonderful hub.

I agree totally with all of the six strategies you detail here. This deserves to be widely read by anyone involved in education anywhere and at any level.

I also think - at least in my limited experience as a home-educator - that these strategies and the research and attitudes that underlie them - go a very long way indeed to solve any issues of 'boredom' or 'unrest' in the classroom.

Had only my own teachers adopted these principles, I might have both enjoyed and achieved more in school.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on July 26, 2013:

Billie, Thank you very much for reading and your interesting comments. Yes, you may link this hub to your educational website. When I have more time, I will send you an email and inquire about the website.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on July 24, 2013:


I really appreciate your great comments on this hub. It's great that you found this article interesting and I thank you for your votes.

Billie Kelpin from Newport Beach on July 24, 2013:

Paul, I'd like to link this to our educational website. I don't know if I can mention it here, but email if you wish to see where. We have an established page with many schools and teachers visiting which is part of a whole website that is in transition at the moment, but should be completed in a month. (We create educational software and games for deaf and hard of hearing AND mainstream students). One of the most meaningful experiences I saw implemented in a high school history class was having students going around the campus, finding an artifact (the stamp imprint in the sidewalk, the inscription on a wall, etc.) and researching the origins of that artifact. Your article here speaks to that kind of teaching and learning. Very nice!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 24, 2013:

Awesome and great points made here on Successful Teaching And Learning Strategies. You have accomplished a helpful and informative hub to many readers. Voted up and interesting.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on July 24, 2013:


Thank you so much for reading and commenting on this hub. I'm happy that you liked it, and appreciate you tweeting and sharing this article.

moonlake from America on July 23, 2013:

Great hub and great information. I agree with completely with Learning Requires a Positive Emotional Climate. Voted up, tweet and shared.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 30, 2013:


Thanks for your great comments on this hub. I'm glad you like it and really appreciate your feedback.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on June 30, 2013:

Paul - Excellent hub -- you hit all the requisite nails on the head. Howard Gardner's work has been very helpful to me. Great advice and explanation. To better teachers and more learning! Theresa

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 28, 2013:

Au fait,

I really appreciate you reading and commenting on this education hub. It's really great that you value this hub as important and useful. Special thanks for sharing with your followers and also pinning to your 'Education" board.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 28, 2013:


Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. I really appreciate the high rating coming from you as a former teacher. Thanks also for sharing and pinning this hub.

C E Clark from North Texas on June 27, 2013:

Agree with everything you say here. In home schooling my daughter I probably learned as much as she did. I quickly discovered that the easiest way for both her and me was to show her how what I was teaching her affected her own life and benefitted her. Once she was convinced there was no stopping her.

Everything you say here is so important. Voting this hub up and useful. Will share with my followers and pin to my 'Education' board.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on June 27, 2013:

As a former teacher, this hub gets an A+. All these are so important for learning! Thanks for sharing, Paul, passing this around and pinning.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 25, 2013:


Thank you very much for your encouraging comments on this hub. I'm happy you like this article and find it informative and useful.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 25, 2013:


You just made my day with your great supporting comments on this hub. I feel honored that you would like to have your daughter in my class. I'm sure that you are a great teacher, and confident that my strategies will help any teacher in the classroom.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 25, 2013:


I really appreciate your insightful comments on this hub. It's a shame that education has evolved to the point of only "teaching to the test." There is a lot of this in Thailand now, too, which I am trying to overcome. It's great that you found this hub interesting and I sincerely appreciate your praise.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 25, 2013:

Brett, Thank you very much for your great comments. I'm glad you liked this hub and I really appreciate you sharing, pinning, and tweeting this hub!

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 25, 2013:


Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. I'm happy you like this hub and I really appreciate your favorable comments. Your job mentoring student nurses must be very interesting and challenging!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 25, 2013:

Incredible learning the meaningful way sounds a great idea, you have accomplished an interesting, useful and informative hub on this topic, learning is special and most enjoyable to me. Voted up!

Anahi Pari-di-Monriva from Massachusetts on June 25, 2013:

Paul, this Hub is amazing! It is well-researched and the personal anecdotes help make this research concrete. I would love for my daughter to be in _your_ class! It is very important for teachers to be reflective, in order to be able to vary their lessons and practice activities in such ways that will ensure everyone learns the material. I especially like the part about feedback. In teaching language, immediate error correction (as you say, in a positive manner) is the most important feedback students can receive (according to Lightbown & Spada's research). Your Hub has helped me take a moment to reflect and "take the temperature" of my own teaching practice (it is too easy to become complacent). Thank you!

Mary Craig from New York on June 25, 2013:

Many teachers but more important administrators and decision makers in education could learn much from this insightful hub Paul. Standardized testing and the need to "teach to the test" have all but destroyed education here in America. Teachers like Miss Olive and a handful of others still buck the system but it is difficult.

Your six strategies are not only sound and backed by research, but one would think they are common sense for an educator! Well done as always.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Brett C from Asia on June 24, 2013:

You hit on some very important areas of teaching. Whether skilled and experienced, or a complete novice, it pays to always revisit and revise the techniques that you are using for classes. Sometimes a slight change of tactic can have amazing results.

Shared, pinned, tweeted, up, useful and awesome.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on June 23, 2013:

Paul, a useful and informative hub!... I mentor student nurses in my job as an ITU nurse; I found that, knowing your students and how they learn is important, they all have a particular learning style, all need good constructive feedback and the old Chinese proverb is still true, " Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I'll remember. Involve me, I'll understand." It is so satisfying when the light suddenly switches on and 'ping' they get it!... You have some good strategies that can help to motivate learners.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 22, 2013:


Thank you so very much for your great interesting comments. I'm very happy that you liked this hub and also glad to see that you have experienced great success in making your lessons meaningful to students. Student centered learning is definitely the way to go now, and with the right strategies, it will make school so much more interesting for kids than just staying with the traditional teacher-centered classroom approach.

Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on June 20, 2013:

Wonderful strategies and a great perspective. A thoughtful comment feed too. I wanted to share if I may -

I've included a specific section to my lessons, a discussion of 'purpose' for my middle school students. I was finding them question me more and more, "why do we need to know this" and I have now included this question as a prominent part of my lesson. Developing their awareness as to how and why things are learned greatly enhances their ownership and motivation toward the lesson. It does wonders in terms of information retention and opens up the class to great discussions at both the beginning and end of any particular unit. It is very rewarding to see their development through their respective presentations, essays and/or discussions. Helping students make connections is vital to successful teaching. Back to my original comment, if I open the unit with, 'this is what we are going to work on next and why"....and close the unit with..."this is what we worked on, what have you learned and how can you apply it?" it raises the bar for me as a teacher and for my students. As a result, my lessons are more comprehensive and the students are more in-tune with what is expected of them. Encouraging them to expand on what they have learned sparks incredible motivation and even gratitude. To be thanked by a middle schooler makes this teacher feel pretty darn good. :)

Also, I was glad to see your inclusion of learning styles, this element is very important in reaching each student and sparking understanding. Visualization and application is so important.

Gosh, I could go on - I love to teach, discuss and research what works, thank you for an insightful and thought provoking hub.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 19, 2013:


Thank you very much for commenting on this hub. I appreciate your great review and am happy that you like this hub.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 18, 2013:

Great learning strategies! Thanks for sharing. Seems that you really know and enjoy this.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 17, 2013:


Thank you very much commenting on this hub. I'm very happy that you found my teaching and learning strategies useful. Best of success in your future teaching!

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 17, 2013:


Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this article. A positive emotional climate among administrators, teachers, and students is so important for successful teaching and learning. I really appreciate you sharing this hub.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 17, 2013:


Thank you very much for commenting on my most recent hub. Teaching and learning is definitely an art which often takes many years to perfect. I'm glad you found my strategies interesting and worthwhile. Special thanks for sharing and pinning this hub.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on June 17, 2013:

Very inspiring hub. I am a private teacher. I have more than 60 students right now. Wow..I should implement your advice. Thanks for writing and sharing your experience with us. Voted up and useful :-)


deergha from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!! on June 17, 2013:

Very practical hub about teaching and the positive emotional climate is what I liked most that you have mentioned here. Its very much essential for the future of the children and day to day habit in schools can make a vast difference which will sure result in a common habit of the concerned. Thank you for sharing. Shared and votes ++++++++++++

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 17, 2013:

Very useful and interesting strategies but I think most of all, as you say, it is the interest factor that is of prime importance. If we know something is going to be useful to us it will provide the needed motivation and learning will become interesting.

Thanks for sharing some very useful insights into the process of teaching and learning.

Voted up, useful, shared and pinned.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 17, 2013:

chI ef-de-jour,

Thanks for reading and commenting on this hub. Yes, teaching is really an art when you are expected to get students to learn and enjoy doing it at the same time. I appreciate the votes and sharing.

Andrew Spacey from Sheffield, UK on June 16, 2013:

A very useful and insightful hub I must say. You mix personal experience with research and practicality and show us the different ways students learn. Learning styles are crucial - how do we get students to absorb information and enjoy what they're doing at the same time? Teaching is definitely an art form!

Votes and a share.

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