Ask any teacher what factors affect teaching in the classroom and she will probably be able to think of an astonishingly long list of items. Teaching effectively is very difficult, and the best teachers take many different factors into account when teaching. There is no way to compile and absolutely comprehensive list, but this article strives to outline the most important factors.
Certain subjects lend themselves better to different learning activities than others. English can lend itself to kinetic learning, if students read out loud and reinact scenes from stories. A strong and interested teacher will incorporate lessons like these whenever possible to keep student attention and improve retention. Math lends itself to practical projects, like having students run a “store” where they have to keep “financial records” or perhaps running a fantasy stock market. Older students could create a student-run casino, as studying gambling lends itself well to learning about probabilities. Obviously a teacher has to cover the core curriculum, so the subject matter does dictate the teaching style to a certain extent.
Lesson plans are greatly affected by time available. Shorter class periods constrain what kind of activities can be used to learn, and sometimes increase the homework load on students. Teachers with time constraints may have to reduce creative learning strategies in order to give students in-class time to complete assignments and reduce homework load.
By far the factor that influences teaching in the classroom is the students in the class. Every child learns differently, but there are certain generalities that teachers can use to help them plan lessons for the classroom:
Younger children will generally require more hands-on activities and more entertaining lessons. Older students can sit still for longer periods and usually can handle more intellectual work and self-guided practice.
Different students learn differently. Some students do better learning visually, with lots of diagrams and examples, while some students are “audio” learners that pick up knowledge well during a lecture-style lesson. Other students learn best when doing hands-on activities, with objects that can be manipulated, or if physical activities can be involved.
Classroom strategies need to be modified to accomodate students with physical or intellectual disabilities. Lecture-style lessons may need to be minimized if a student is hearing impaired, and additional audio aids may need to accompany diagrams on the board for visually impaired students. Devising lesson plans that include more repetition may help students with learning disabilities, and varying teaching styles may help capture and keep the attention of students with attention disorders.
Teachers have so many different factors to consider when planning their lessons for the classroom, and different teachers will have different priorities, but this list is a good place to start.