Effective Teaching Strategies
The Western Center for Drug-Free Schools and Communities, Northwest Regional
Educational Laboratory (1991) suggests that role playing, Socratic instruction,
and small group work are effective teaching strategies for curriculum
- Make sure the students define a situation that is relevant and important to
them--for example, a situation in which they may be offered a drug. Get
details such as the setting and number and types of people involved.
- Set the stage by arranging furniture, indicating where 'doors' might be
- Prepare the audience by giving them specific questions to be prepared to
answer at the conclusion of the role play. Examples:
(a) Would this work in real life?
(b) How would you have handled the situation?
- There are numerous ways to select participants. Discuss ideas.
- Begin the role play, stopping it if it is unrealistic, going nowhere, or
has accomplished its purpose.
- Ask questions of the participants and audience.
- Reenact the role play, if necessary, using a variation of the situation,
new participants, feedback provided to improve a skill. . .
Suggested situations: refusing a drug offer, encouraging a friend to stop
smoking, talking to a teacher about an assignment, requesting help from a
parent, stopping a drunk friend from driving."
Note that one of the most effective strategies for teaching about alcohol and
other drugs is Socratic instruction (questioning). Socratic questioning
fosters critical thinking, evaluation, and knowledge application in students
and should be used as frequently as possible in assignments and class
- Allow 'wait time' for thinking. Give students time to consider the
question and their response before requesting them to answer.
- Avoid yes-no questions. They lead nowhere and do not promote thinking nor
- Be sure students have the needed background and resources to respond to the
questions posed. It is unfair and detrimental to their progress to not accept
their levels of knowledge and experience.
- Open-ended and closed questions are useful. Open-ended questions promote
critical thinking, while closed questions can focus attention.
- Include clarifying questions, demands and statements. They are as valid as
questions are. Students may need guidance as they sift through possible
- Use questions from all levels of thinking. Help students to develop higher
levels of critical thinking as well as the typical knowledge and comprehension
"Small Group and Cooperative Learning:
- Establish heterogeneous groups.
- Establish group size.
- Designate group work areas.
- Designate specific responsibilities to group members.
- Provide clear directions, time constraints, rules, procedures.
- Provide necessary materials.
- Establish leader selection process.
- Minimize exchanges of information between groups.
- Watch for conflict.
- Encourage and praise group support."
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