Foods and Fitness - Foods/Nutrition I
Teaching Strategies

The following are strategies which may prove helpful to teachers as they lead students in the process of learning.

Discussion Strategies
Discussion strategies are question and response techniques which increase student verbal interaction and move it beyond recitation.  The following are overall suggestions for oral aspects of a lesson:

  • Use wait time.  Provide at least three seconds of thinking time after a question and after a response.  Always acknowledge a student's reply.

  • Utilize shared learning.  Allow individual thinking time.  Have partners share responses.  Conclude with a class discussion.

  • Withhold judgment.  Respond to the students' answers in a non-evaluative fashion.

  • Ask for a summary to promote active listening.  Ask one student to summarize another student's point.

  • Survey the class.  Have the class respond to the question, "Who agrees/disagrees?".  A thumbs up or down expression may be used.

  • Allow for student calling.  Ask one student to call on the next student.

  • Play devil's advocate.  Require the students to defend their thinking against different points of view.

  • Have the students to "unpack" their thinking.  Ask the students to describe how they arrived at an answer.

  • Call on the students randomly.  Avoid a pattern of only calling on those students with, for example, raised hands all the time.

  • Encourage student questioning.  Let the students develop their own questions by providing them with an explanation of Bloom's taxonomy of broad and narrow questions.

  • Cue student responses.  Suggest that there is more than one response or one way to respond to a question.

  • Arrange the room for communication.  Arrange seats to allow all students to communicate with each other. (i.e., large circles, sitting on floor in groups, standing in "huddles", etc.).

  • Use name plates on tables or desks so that students, as well as the teacher, learn individual names.  (Fold large index cards lengthwise and write names with magic markers.)  This is also an easy way to call the roll.

  • Move away from a student who is speaking.  This forces the student to speak up and does not focus attention on the teacher and one student.

  • Pose higher order questions.  Use Bloom's taxonomy for help on this.

Small Group Strategies
Explain to the students ground rules for working together in small groups:

  1. Always give directions and then designate a group leader before telling students to "move".  Once they are in motion, teachers must talk above noise and repeat directions in a "confused climate".

  2. Have as the spokes person for the group the person in the group with the shortest hair, the longest hair, the nearest birthday, or most pennies in a pocket, etc.

  3. Make it clear that each group member has a responsibility, and groups often need a recorder.  Talk about the fact that one member cannot succeed unless every member performs.  Stress positive ways to respond to other members.  Emphasize interdependence.

  4. Double check and be sure to have all necessary resources available.

  5. Allow time for group interaction because students will elaborate upon and teach each other the concept.  Tell students how much group interaction time they will have.

Add variety, use numbers, balloons, color chips (small pieces of differently colored paper), etc. to divide students into groups.  Mix the students heterogeneously.  Change assigned roles and responsibilities often.

Fold concepts into each other.  Have one or two students synthesize findings and/or ideas of all the groups for the entire class.

Take time to discuss and analyze how the class worked as a group.  This is important in reinforcing class guidelines about working cooperatively with one another.  Look at both the process and the product.

Utah State Board of Education ~ Family and Consumer Sciences ~ 250 East 500 South ~ P.O. Box 144200 ~ Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4200