The Art of Effective Teaching: 13 Strategies That Work

Friday, May 19, 2023

Tutors always want to provide their students with the best education possible and help them achieve their desired academic goals and results. To ensure effective and efficient teaching, tutors can incorporate instrumental strategies in their teaching. Here are 13 effective teaching strategies- in the new normal- for every tutor.

1. Visualization

Visualization helps bring dull academic concepts to life and is key to fully grasp course material. It can be in the form of thinking of real-life applications and examples of academic concepts or through being interactive. Teachers can be interactive by using a whiteboard or in the case of online classes, by sharing their screen to display photos and videos. This effective online teaching strategy will clarify concepts; thus, making memorization and retention of information faster and more effective among students.

2. Engagement

Shift from one-way communication to two-way communication by engaging with your student(s). Furthermore, you can jazz up your sessions by including digital components like videos, animations, etc.

3. Inquiry-Based Teaching

Pose thought-provoking questions that could lead your students to think for themselves and become independent learners. Encouraging students to ask questions and investigate concepts and ideas improves their problem-solving and analytical skills as well as helps them have a deeper understanding of academic concepts. Inquiries can be science-based or objective like ‘Why do mentos mixed with soda create an explosive reaction?’ and they can be subjective questions, where students can express their unique views and opinions.

Inquiry-based learning starts with a question that students can ponder independently. For example:

in science: “Why do ships float on water?” in mathematics: “Why are there infinite solutions to this system of equations?” in English: “What makes a story?”

You might even recommend students to research a whole subject on their own to have a more holistic understanding of a concept. This demonstrates how learning is active and comes from student effort and activity and not only from teacher input.

4. Higher Order Thinking Questions

Ask your pupils at least three higher-order thinking (HOT) questions during the session. The way tutors/teachers present these questions differ and students' responses can indicate their learning pace. The aim of Higher-order thinking (HOT) questions is to challenge students. This theoretical framework of effective teaching includes asking questions such as How do you know?’ not only compels students to justify their answers but also to think about their own thought processes for deriving a particular solution. Teaching students how to plan, monitor, and self-evaluate their learning also boosts their motivation and encourages them to work harder on their lessons, tying into another innovative effective teaching strategy. All Ostaz tutors use a range of metacognitive strategies and offer time for student self-reflection.
A high-order question is:
Open-ended: Avoid yes/no answers.
Authentic: ask because you’re genuinely curious and interested in caring about your students’ way of thinking and not because you’re fishing for a certain answer.
Follow up with mind-stimulating discussions: Even if your student gets the answer wrong, use this as an opportunity to redirect them to an effective discussion. You could say, “I like the direction you’re heading in, but you’re missing something.”
Try to connect the dots and link different concepts together: Ask questions to check for comprehension and drive discussion.

5. Effective Questioning Techniques

Tutors should encourage pupils to verbalize their reasoning and ask questions to make sure they have grasped a certain topic. Questions such as: “How do you know that answer is right?”, “Can you tell me how else you could work it out?” or “What do you need to do first to answer this question?” are all beneficial questions to ask during tutoring sessions. Asking questions like ‘Is there another way to solve this?’ induces students to think of alternative ways to solve a problem. Questions like “Are you sure?” and “How did you come up with that answer?” pushes students to engage in some critical thinking to establish how sure they are of their answers and the reasoning behind them. With this effective teaching method, students can come up with other methods for a solution.

6. Essential Questions

An essential question is to keep in mind the intended goal of the lesson. With essential questions, teachers need to be intentional about the way they present the lesson.

7. Gamification

Another highly effective teaching strategy is gamification. Gamification boosts student engagement. By gamifying elements of the learning process, you’ll raise the fun and energy levels which will motivate your student more. Take inspiration from games that your student enjoys. You can also include a scoring system and different ‘levels’ for students to pass. Turn studying into a game. Use Flashcards! Testing or quizzing your students after a study session either using pre-made physical flashcards or using apps like Quizlet will create a gamified element to studying.

8. Going Back to Basics or Revisiting Prerequisites

Go back to the root of a concept and explain it from scratch when you detect that your students have a misconception or a wrong understanding of something. If you’re getting into a complex or new topic, your student needs a firm understanding of prerequisite concepts for the topic at hand. So, when introducing unfamiliar material or revisiting challenging concepts, go over prerequisite concepts so as to establish a cohesive understanding among your students. Evaluate prior knowledge: start by finding out how much your students already know and understand the topic. This will give you an idea of how much input they actually need.

9. Breaking It Up

Chunk the material bit by bit, rather than giving it all at once. This will make it much easier for students to digest the information and to maintain their attention and engagement.

10. Scaffolding

Scaffolding is an important teaching strategy for every tutor. It’s the process of constructing learning bit by bit, instead of doing everything at once. A single big learning goal or academic performance goal might seem overwhelming for tutors as well as students. This can be achieved via backward mapping. This entails keeping the end learning goal in mind and working backward through all the different steps it takes to get there. Hence, each step becomes a mini learning goal or ‘checkpoint’ where you make sure your students have mastered everything thus far.

11. Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is an effective teaching strategy that accommodates diverse learners. Needless to say, students are more likely to engage with learning when it is tailored to them and appeals to their interests! Approach Studying Based on the Student’s Learning Style

If your student is a visual learner, incorporate diagrams, mind maps, graphs, and tables, which make it easier for students to visualize and memorize facts. If your student is an auditory learner (likes to learn by listening), give them YouTube videos, audiobooks, or podcasts to watch or listen to or let them record themselves and listen to themselves reading a text.

12. Metacognition

Metacognition includes ‘knowing about knowing’. In other words, it’s when students know when they don’t know and know what to do when they don’t know. It involves self-monitoring your own learning processes. For instance, a student engages in metacognition when they realize they’re having more trouble in grasping concept A than concept B or their approach to solving a problem isn’t working, so they alter the method used. Metacognition also includes knowing oneself as a learner and being aware of their strengths and weaknesses. A student could acknowledge that they’re good at academic writing, but that multiple-choice exam taking isn’t their strong suit. This would help them clarify the areas that need improvement. Thus, it is an essential skill for life-long learning and needs to be incorporated while learning as it is one of the most powerful teaching strategies there is.

13. Explicit Instruction and the Importance of Silence

Also known as direct instruction, this teaching strategy is highly teacher-led, and focuses on frequent questioning and guided practice to help students learn a topic. Silence is essential in order to ensure students’ attention is not split between the explained concept and its corresponding/respective example, making it more likely that both will be more fully absorbed and retained.

Implementing these effective teaching methods and approaches will guarantee a satisfying learning experience.

To learn more about our Ostaz tutors who implement these effective teaching strategies in their sessions, check out the Ostaz website!

Best Teaching Practices. (2018, February 13). 7 Effective Teaching Strategies for the Classroom. Retrieved from

Anilkumar, A. (2021, September 7). The Most Effective Teaching Strategies to Use in Schools: Evidence-Based and Proven to Work. Retrieved from

Best, J. (2020, July 27). 12 Effective Teaching Strategies for Every Teacher Toolkit. Retrieved from