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The Effects of Contemporary Teaching Methods

If you are looking for an easy answer to the effects of contemporary teaching methods, then read a shock-news publication to read about how great contemporary teaching methods are. If you are willing to accept that the answer is complicated, then read on because the effects of contemporary teaching methods are far more complex than most researchers realize. The problem is that contemporary teaching methods do not solve the age-old problems of teaching students who have dyslexia, dyscalculia, high functioning autistic students and attention deficit students. Contemporary teaching methods, at their best, will give teachers more options when they are teaching a class. (Westwood, 2007).

Giving A Teacher More Options

In short, a teacher is given a small selection of methods for teaching students. Over the years, a teacher will add his or her own flourish or style to get through to students. The introduction of contemporary teaching methods gives a teacher even more options. The only risk is that contemporary methods are lauded so much that teachers are not allowed to use traditional or more regimented teaching methods, (and that would be a mistake because teachers need more tools not fewer). (Barrows, 1986).

The Results Misunderstanding

Some contemporary teaching methods are being applauded despite their obvious flaws, and others are being ignored despite their effectiveness. The problem is that almost every study into the effectiveness of contemporary teaching methods doesn’t account for the differences between lessons, between teachers, and between students.

To make the obvious point, if a group of students are being taught via contemporary methods, and yet teacher is bad at her/his job, then the students will not learn effectively (and we cannot blame the teaching method for that). More importantly, people must understand that the differences between lessons have an impact on the effectiveness of a teaching method. For example, problem-based active learning models work brilliantly in science lessons but will have mixed results in math lessons and will fail dramatically in most liberal arts lessons. (Richards, Jack, and Rodgers, 1982).

The Use of IT Does Not Improve Learning

Many colleges and Universities have confused “Need” with “Effectiveness.” The use of Information Technology doesn’t improve learning rates, retention, or any form of thoughtful/contemplation skills. It still hasn’t dawned on college and university administrators that better technology doesn’t mean better learning, and yet they still pump millions into getting newer and better technology while their students test results stay the same. If technology was a learning tool on its own, then surely people on social media would have learned the difference between “Your” and “You’re” by now (especially with the amount of “Grammar Nazis” who are on social media).

Colleges and universities “Need” information technology because modern workplaces demand it, but the use of technology doesn’t improve student learning or student success. A student with a 12-year-old computer can do just as well as a student with a 2-year-old computer. (Schacter, John, and Fagnano, 1999).

Does Team Teaching Work?

As mentioned earlier, there are so many factors involved that a single answer cannot be given. Two poor quality teachers will produce poor results, and there are some lessons where team teaching simply will not work. Liberal arts lessons do not need team teaching methods unless the class is full of unruly students. Teachers assistants have long been successful in math lessons where students may need more one-on-one teaching. Typically, the best team-teaching results occur in drama and theatrical arts classes. In those cases, a pair of teachers may offer demonstration after demonstration without having to call on student volunteers, and the teachers may do it in a pre-rehearsed fashion so as to have the biggest impact on the students. (Murata, Roberta, 2002).

Conclusion – The Human Factor, The Student Factor, And the Lesson Factor

The effects of contemporary teaching methods depend on the teachers, the students and the lessons. As proven in this essay, the quality of the teacher will have an effect on the results. The types of students being taught will have an effect. Plus, and maybe more importantly, the methods used in different lessons will affect the results; specifically, there are some lessons where certain contemporary teaching methods are far more effective than they are in other lessons.


Barrows, Howard S. “A taxonomy of problem‐based learning methods.” Medical education 20.6 (1986): 481-486.

Murata, Roberta. “What does team teaching mean? A case study of interdisciplinary teaming.” The Journal of educational research 96.2 (2002): 67-77.

Richards, Jack C., and Ted Rodgers. “Method: Approach, design, and procedure.” Tesol Quarterly 16.2 (1982): 153-168.

Schacter, John, and Cheryl Fagnano. “Does computer technology improve student learning and achievement? How, when, and under what conditions?.” Journal of Educational Computing Research 20.4 (1999): 329-343.

Westwood, Peter. Commonsense methods for children with special educational needs. Routledge, 2007.

Contributors Bio

Contributor photo Lona Glenn
Los Angeles
Lona graduated from Los Angeles City College. While being a lecturer in several high school institutions Lona founded an online educational project Tutorsclass.Read more
Contributor photo Maria Castle
Davis, CA
I studied education and currently work as a tutor for school-age children. I've worked as a volunteer in many different international social projects and as a camp counselor every summer.Read more

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