Inside the teacher’s bag of “trick-or-tips”

Sourcing for you here some of the best tips and advice for better teaching.


The New website has links to some of the best researched methods and strategies for learning.

Do you need teaching techniques for a Visual-Spatial Learner? Lots of help here and here.

Tips for speedlearning in H. Bernard Wechler’s article, “Is DayDreaming Being Brain Dead?”

Research-based strategies for learning from neurologist useful tips such as: “In the classroom, the more ways the material to be learned is introduced to the brain and reviewed, the more dendritic pathways of access will be created. There will be more synaptic cell-to-cell bridges, and these pathways will be used more often, become stronger, and remain safe from pruning…This duplication results in greater opportunity for future cues to prompt the brain access to this stored information. Multiple stimulations mean better memory. .. AND

Strategies to consolidate learned material into Long-Term Memory


  • Introduce the information when students are engaged, with focused attention.
  • Include practice of accurate and precise observation techniques where students learn the information in a meaningful context. Encourage students to repeat information you want them to remember over and over, even in conversation: “Isn’t it odious how much chewing gum is on the bottom of some restaurant tables?” “Oh yes, it is even more odious when you have to clean it.”
  • Use multisensory avenues of exposure to the information that result in multiple connections and relational memory links to existing memory circuits to increase recall and memory storage.
  • Create student-centered, personal motivation for learning. For example, if there is math or science that needs to be mastered in the curriculum standards, students can be motivated to learn, even memorize, the basics—algebra, structural geography, physiology, cellular chemistry, aerodynamics, and wave mechanics—to reach their goal of building a model land-water amphibious vehicle.
  • Use skilled and practiced observation techniques (on initial exposure and repeated opportunities to observe again as topic of study continues) to make personal connections and discoveries about the material to be learned.
  • Have students use the information to answer personally relevant, critical thinking questions or make and support judgments using the new knowledge.
  • Pose practical, real-world problems for students to solve using the new knowledge.
  • Ask students how they might use the information outside of school. How might it be important in what they are considering as a possible future career? How might it be valuable to their parents’ jobs?

Do you need to know and teach to a child’s specific learning style? See this website.

Dr Neil Anderson from Brigham Young University on the concept of “ACTIVE”:
A: Activate background knowledge
C:Cultivate vocabulary
T:Teach for comprehension
I:Increase reading rate
V:Verify reading strategies
E:Evaluate progress

Readers will use their own experience to fill in the information not expressed in the story. Make sure that students understand what they read. Allow students to exchange views and shre info from what they read to help build their reading comprehension. Teach student how texts are organized. Two ways to increase students’ comprehehnsion. One is stimulating questions and another is summarizing texts. Ask students to read a passage (of a story) and to write a question that they believe someone should understand after reading the passage.
The questions the students have written will help the class teach where the defined info is in the text. Summarization is difficult skill, and should be about 60 to 70% as long as the original.
To increase the rate at which a stdnt reads, have the student read the same passage of a story again and again. Research showed that native read sentences at the speed of 300 words per minute at the adequate speed at which readers can integrate sentences. For students learning English as a second language, 200 words per minute is reasonable. — Source: Seminar explodes the ACTIVE way to read Mon Daily Yomiuri August 31, 1998

How to create the Accelerated Learning classroom and framework for learning by Bobbi Porter

Seven Laws of Teaching (originally by John Milton Gregory)

Using the Aphthonius Progymnasmata[Ancient Rhetoric] method

Using the Trivium method and recovering the lost tools of learning

Improving Your Child’s Thinking Skills: Six Thinking Skills

Teaching for creativity: 2 dozen tips (also at 25 ways to develop creativity in your student)

The Basics of Logic by Doug Wilson

This article on right brain theory examines the implications for teaching.

Mind Mapping is a technique that is very useful for the child to brainstorm ideas as well as to organize thought. Thinking Maps is another useful link along the same lines.

Teaching methods for inventive problem-solving in junior high school by Mosche Barak. A study exploring whether it is possible to fostering pupils’ competencies in inventive thinking and problem-solving by teaching pupils problem-solving principles based on the ‘idea focusing’ concept, rather than the ‘idea generating’ approach through random search or brainstorming. Surprising findings of studies show that the pupils grasped the inventive principles they had learned and utilized them successfully in finding original solutions to problems presented to them; they internalized the notion that breaking down a system into its ingredients, ‘playing’ systematically with the components in the ‘world of the system’ and its closed environment, changing their functions or altering interrelationships between elements in a system can help find an inventive solution to a problem better than randomly searching for inventive ideas. Second, once the pupils were exposed to the method of systematically seeking inventive solutions to a problem, they tended to prefer this approach over methods such as associative thinking and brainstorming they had learned at the beginning of the course. The study concluded that beyond the direct teaching of terms, thinking schemes and heuristics related to inventive thinking and problem-solving, it is important to create a climate of thinking and problem-solving in the class and to give the pupils the time and opportunity to develop their own thinking methods and explain or justify their ideas.

More essential links:

Teaching Creativity to Primary School Pupils

UCLA Reveals Secret of Learning Which produces successful experts, the coach (instructor) holding your hand and talking you through learning (golf, tennis, driving a car, and typing)
or Ma, Let me do it myself?

To discover whether you have an innovative, analytic, common sense or dynamic learner on your hands, read about the McCarthy 4Mat model and cycle of learning at this link.  Note McCarthy maintains that these learning styles are distinct from the auditory, visual and kinesthetic modalities.

Yale Ways to Motivate Your Students By H. Bernard Wechsler; 

Charlotte Mason’s Education: The Formation of Habit by Catherine Levison


Math teaching tips:

For better Mental Math see tips here by Dr. Alexander Bogomolny, former associate professor of mathematics at the University of Iowa and currently a developer of an award winning site Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles.

Teach your child to read, Why your child can’t understand math, Mathematics and What’s a Poor Parent to Do? at

A bundle of math articles links are to be found here.

For an introduction to the Vedic Mathematics Sutras – The World’s Fastest Mental Math System you can see here and visit Vedic maths

Language instruction tips:

The Writing Process: One Step at a Time

Pattern Recognition vs Real Understanding

Grammar Made Fashionable

The Joys of Reading: a Proper Reading Program

Teach Your Child to Read Preschool through Grade Three

Spelling: A Lost Art at

Language Learning and Play by Steve Kaufmann

Short story writing: Advice from a creative writing tutor





In The Motivation Breakthrough, Richard Lavoie outlines six motivational strategies, how they can be used and for whom they work:

Praise. Specific, sincere praise focused on effort and improvement is effective for most children, especially for those motivated by status, recognition or affiliation (a need to belong).

Power. Offering minor choices will help motivate power-driven, autonomous and aggressive children. Avoiding power struggles means figuring out how to give kids some power without ceding your own.

Projects. Using projects to connect different disciplines can stimulate and motivate an autonomous or inquisitive child.

People. Though all children need positive relationships, it’s especially important for adults to build positive relationships with people-oriented kids.

Prizes. Prizes hold huge appeal to children driven by status, recognition, affiliation or power. But because formal reward systems may divert attention from the actual task, Lavoie suggests intermittent rewards not announced ahead of time to celebrate best efforts.

Prestige. To some extent, all children need to feel important, but for autonomous, aggressive, status- or power-driven children, prestige and recognition are fundamental. Consistent encouragement and opportunities to showcase their talents are important.




— “The reality is, the only person motivated by competition is the person who thinks he has a chance of winning.”

— “Rewards don’t work, either, if the child is having difficulty. All reward systems are based on the concept that the child can do it, he just chooses not to.”

— “Punishment is just a totally ineffective way to motivate kids. To take the child’s favorite thing, whether it be a soccer ball or a skateboard, and take it away from him when he’s bad, that’s just poor human relations.”


— “The irony is that high school teachers particularly, and parents of high school kids, need to be more skilled at motivating, and yet it’s the high school teacher who often says, “It’s not my job.”

These kids don’t come with batteries included, and you need to put those batteries in. I had a teacher say to me one time, “I taught it to him, but he didn’t learn it.” I said, “That’s like a salesman saying to his boss, ‘I sold it to him, but he didn’t buy it.’ ” I think that, particularly at the upper school level, we assume that the kid’s going to come in the door totally motivated and sit there and learn, and it simply isn’t true. You need to continue to be a salesman and a motivator as a high school teacher and as a parent of high school kids.”


— “(And) it’s important to communicate with the child, effectively and often. Don’t wait until the report card comes to sit down and talk with the child. Help them make the connection between what they’re learning in school and what’s happening in the world.

But the most important thing parents and teachers need to do is to keep in mind the balance between what I call support and challenge. You need to constantly challenge kids. But you need to give them the support to meet those challenges.”

The above are some of the tips given by Richard Lavoie, a special-educator for more than 30 years, he has written The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets for Turning On the Tuned-Out Child . He is widely known for a popular PBS video and workshops that show teachers what school is really like for struggling kids. Read the full interview at: USA TODAY

Science teaching tips:

Immersion Science

How to Teach Science (Part 4) is part of the VanDamme series that includes:

  • How To Teach Your Child: A Necessary Order To Knowledge (Part 1 of 4)
  • How To Teach Your Child: What It Means To Learn (Part 2 of 4)
  • How To Teach Your Child: Motivating Students To Learn (Part 3 of 4)Physics By Induction: The Genius of Learning Science the Proper WayDrawing, physical education:How to Teach Drawing to Children and collection of links here. History of Perspective and Perspective Drawing Lessons and Art Studio Chalkboard’s resources may be useful to art teachers as wellTeaching Children Physical Education

    To discover whether you have an innovative, analytic, common sense or dynamic learner on your hands, read about the McCarthy 4Mat model and cycle of learning at this link. Note McCarthy maintains that these learning styles are distinct from the auditory, visual and kinesthetic modalities.

    Miscellaneous: The Importance of Play, Learning Through Play,  Bingo Card MakerRubric Maker 

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