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5 Tried-and-True Instructional Techniques

Posted by Lynne Koltookian on 4/24/14 4:00 AM
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We all take risks every day. We drive our cars on the highway, invest in the stock market, and ski down mountains. Do you take risks in the classroom to facilitate learning?

For example:

  • Do you use icebreakers when they haven’t been used before?
  • Do you let participants lead discussions instead of you?
  • Do you sit down at student tables instead of standing up in front of them?
  • Do you let students choose the activities?


These are just a few of the many examples I could give you. Risk means giving up control and putting it in the hands of your class, not knowing what may happen, but being prepared and confident to handle whatever develops.


Now that you know what I mean by risk, do you know why it’s important for learning? When you stop being the star and begin to focus the attention on your learners, they become empowered, motivated, and excited to learn and keep on learning! Learners take more ownership in not only what they learn but how they are learning it. This creates buy-in and reduces or eliminates problem learners and/or situations.


Are you ready to take some risks? Here are some tried-and-true instructional techniques to adopt in your classrooms. We share these, and many other tips like them, in our Advanced Instructional Techniques Workshop.

  1. Have your students sit in a circle, with just their chairs, when you want to promote a close-knit, cohesive, and open class discussion.
  2. Let learners review and summarize course material with each other.
  3. Poll the group often for opinions and adjust your course content accordingly to match the needs of the group.
  4. Let learners ask and answer their own questions during class.
  5. Use small-group activities to allow everyone to stay engaged.


Now that you have some instructional techniques and tips on how to take risks, I hope you will take the plunge! Don’t be afraid to have fun either. If risks don’t work out as planned, you can just brush them off and keep teaching! Your learners will roll with you as long as you stay composed and lighthearted about the learning process.


How do you take risks in the classroom?

Lynne has been a course leader with Langevin since 2007. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Penn State University and a Master’s degree in Education from Boston University. After working many years in human resources and sales, Lynne transitioned into training, her true passion, where she’s been facilitating since 1994. Her training philosophy is simple—learning should be fun! The essence of a good instructor is someone who can make complex things easy to understand and fun to learn. In her free time, you’ll find Lynne cycling, hiking, downhill skiing, and scuba diving.

Tags: difficult participants, instructional techniques, tips-for-trainers

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