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In this lesson, we will use the fictional Academy of Magic to illustrate four types of instructional strategies that teachers use in the classroom: expository instruction, interactive instruction, hands-on instruction and collaborative instruction.

Expository Instruction

Imagine you’re a student at the Academy of Magic. It’s a Tuesday, so your schedule includes the following classes: magical history, the study of non-magical people and practical anti-dark magic.

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You also have kettleball practice tonight.

A teacher giving a lecture to the class is using expository instruction.
Expository Instruction Example

After a hearty breakfast, you head to magical history. Your teacher is Professor Spectre, a very old man who always stands at the front of the classroom and drones on and on.

His preferred teaching method is expository instruction, which could be defined as the use of an expert to explain a concept or give information to the student. Expository instruction involves one-way communication – that is, communication from the teacher or expert to the student. When Professor Spectre is lecturing, he is considered the ‘expert;’ however, he sometimes uses other experts, such as textbook authors, and requires you to read the information. In the real world, a teacher using expository instruction might give a presentation, make you read textbooks or even watch a video; in any scenario, you are receiving information from an expert.

Interactive Instruction

Let’s get back to your day. After finishing magical history, you move on to your next class: the study of non-magical people.

Your teacher is Professor Pickles, and she likes for everyone to sit in a circle in her classroom. Professor Pickles prefers to use interactive instruction, which is the use of social interaction to enhance students’ learning. Interactive instruction involves two-way communication – that is, communication between the teacher and student or between students. During each class period, Professor Pickles facilitates group discussion and encourages you to share examples from your own experiences to illustrate that day’s topic.

She is also a teacher that encourages you to ask a lot of questions. In the real world, a teacher using interactive instruction would ensure you have the opportunity to learn from and interact with other people. It could be something as simple as a question-and-answer session during class, or it might be in the form of a debate or one-on-one tutoring.

Hands-On Instruction

Developing a map of a real community is an authentic activity.

Authentic Activity

The bell rings and you take a long break to eat lunch with your friends before you head to practical anti-dark magic. Your teacher for this class is Professor Orb, and his preferred teaching method is hands-on instruction. Hands-on instruction is the use of physical assignments or activities that engage the students in learning. Professor Orb spends the beginning of class describing a dark creature and how to defeat it, then asks you to try defeating it yourself. Professor Orb wants you to be able to defend yourself outside of the Academy of Magic, so he always gives you authentic activities, which are activities similar to those students would encounter in the outside world.

In the real world, a teacher using hands-on instruction has you do something rather than just hearing or reading about it. It may be a worksheet for you to fill out, or it might be something more active, like constructing a map of the local community. Constructing a map of the local community is also a good example of an authentic activity because it is something that mimics the world outside of school.

Collaborative Instruction

Finally, classes are done for the day. After an early supper and a trip to the library to finish your homework, you excitedly go out to the kettleball field for practice. You have two coaches for your team, so you receive collaborative instruction during practice, which is basically when two or more teachers work together to plan, teach and monitor a class. Each coach for your team has her own style and is responsible for certain aspects of practice and coaching, but both coaches work together for the common goal of helping you to understand the rules and improve your skills. The most common example of collaborative instruction in the real world is when a general education teacher and a special education teacher work together to optimize the learning of a student with a disability in each of her classes.

Collaborating teachers each offer unique styles and expertise to students.
Collaborative Instruction Example

Lesson Summary

Now that your fictional day as a student at the Academy of Magic is over, let’s review the four types of instructional strategies that were covered in this lesson. It is important to note that these instructional strategies aren’t necessarily exclusive of each other. Many teachers prefer to use a variety of instructional strategies in their classroom in order to keep the students’ attention.

The first instructional strategy we discussed was expository instruction. Expository instruction is when students receive information from an expert or authority on the subject. Examples of expository instruction include lectures, presentations, textbooks and videos.The second type of instructional strategy we discussed was interactive instruction. Interactive instruction is when students learn through social interaction. Examples of interactive instruction include group discussion, question-and-answer sessions, debates and tutoring.

The third type of instructional strategy we discussed was hands-on instruction. Hands-on instruction is when students are engaged and doing something hands-on in order to learn. Examples of hands-on instruction include practicing a physical skill, filling out a worksheet or crafting something like a map.The final type of instructional strategy we discussed was collaborative instruction. Collaborative instruction is when students learn from multiple teachers who are working together. Examples of collaborative instruction include multiple coaches for a sports team or a special education teacher and a general education teacher working together.

Learning Outcome

After watching this lesson, you should be able to identify, describe and give examples of the four instructional strategies.


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