From Good to Exceptional: Top Teaching Strategies


One question that captures the attention of every educator is, "What constitutes a good teaching strategy?" Unfortunately, there's no definitive answer. Effective teaching is a harmonious blend of a teacher's personality, educational background, skills, and sound judgment. The pursuit of the perfect teaching method remains elusive, as dedicated teachers constantly invest their best efforts in their students. They work tirelessly, maintain constant communication with all stakeholders involved in the learning process, explore and experiment with new techniques, embrace failures, go above and beyond, undergo continuous training, and remain perpetual learners. These qualities set teachers apart and underline their unwavering commitment to their profession.

Text by: Marina Siskou

In the realm of teaching, the array of approaches and their potential combinations appears boundless. In contemporary education, three distinctive strategies have gained prominence and are worthy of discussion:


Preparation encompasses the establishment of learning and performance objectives, selection of pedagogical methods and materials, and the creation of conditions conducive to achieving these objectives. According to N. Gronlund (1981), specifying objectives in performance terms compels realism and significantly simplifies student assessment. Course objectives, broader in scope than unit and lesson objectives (Genesee, Upshur, 1996; 2009: 20), play a pivotal role in shaping the learning process.

D. Numan (1988; 2002: 23) points out that it's impractical to teach every task in the classroom. Instead, educators must choose tasks that promote maximum transfer of learning to untaught tasks. Some selected tasks may not resemble real-world scenarios but are intended to stimulate internal psychological learning processes (Numan, 1988; 2002: 23). Providing students with clear learning objectives, along with an analytical learning framework, can yield better results. Research by R. Mager and C. Clark (1963) found that students who knew their destination learned faster, emphasizing the value of course objectives in course planning (Mager, Clark, 1963). Engaging students in various aspects of the learning process fosters their commitment, as they perceive themselves as active participants, not passive recipients.

Assessment-Informed Lessons:

After conducting a needs analysis to ascertain the goals and requirements of a specific group of learners or an educational system, the next step is to translate these needs into instructional objectives, a process that demands judgment (Numan, 1988; 2002: 25). Classroom-based evaluations involve comparing different instructional components and the overall instructional context, thereby identifying mismatches and taking corrective actions to align these components for desired outcomes (Genesee, Upshur, 1996; 2009: 40). Classroom-based evaluation can be seen as a way to proactively identify and resolve potential problems stemming from disparities between desired and actual outcomes (ibid).

Based on the assessment results, educators can design a syllabus that is either product or process-based, analytic or synthetic, grammatical or functional-notional, task-based, or a combination thereof.

Culture-Informed Lessons:

Culture permeates every decision, activity, and idea. Teaching with cultural awareness is essential for cultivating high commitment and achieving remarkable academic results. Communication, which is the ultimate goal of English learning, is a culturally-bound activity. A study conducted at Western University in Canada concluded that educators should demonstrate intercultural awareness (Y. Kloosterman and M. Kloosterman, 2013). Teaching in a foreign country introduces an added layer of complexity for educators (Budraw & Paul, 2018, In: Kloosterman & Kloosterman, 2023).

Hopefully, the following resources will be helpful in making a good start:

  • "Being Mindful of Cultural Differences" on Edutopia,
  • "The best practices to cultivate awareness" from, and

Additionally, consulting Geneva Gay (2010: 31) and her work on culturally relevant pedagogy, which defines culturally responsive teaching as using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning encounters more relevant and effective.


As I consistently remind my students, asking the right questions is pivotal in the preparation, delivery, and assessment of courses. This practice is fundamental in all life endeavors. In education, a primary concern is whether students achieve the general objectives of the curriculum's scope and sequence (Genesse, Upshur, 1996; 2009: 41). This can be monitored effectively by asking the right questions.

Numan's (1988; 2002: 26) key questions include: "What linguistic elements should be taught from a linguistic perspective?", "What does the learner want to do with the language from a learner perspective?", and "What activities will stimulate or promote language acquisition from a learning perspective?" Thinking in terms of long-term academic achievement, as proposed by Ladson-Billings (2006), is essential, emphasizing the importance of culturally relevant pedagogy that extends beyond end-of-year tests.

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