Teaching Methods vs. Teaching Strategies

What's the Difference?

Teaching methods and teaching strategies are two essential components of effective instruction. Teaching methods refer to the overall approach or framework used by educators to deliver content and facilitate learning. It encompasses the broader principles and theories that guide the instructional process, such as direct instruction, inquiry-based learning, or cooperative learning. On the other hand, teaching strategies are specific techniques or actions employed within a particular teaching method to engage students and enhance their understanding. These strategies can include the use of multimedia, hands-on activities, group discussions, or problem-solving tasks. While teaching methods provide the structure and direction for instruction, teaching strategies are the practical tools that teachers utilize to achieve the desired learning outcomes. Both teaching methods and teaching strategies are crucial in creating an engaging and effective learning environment.


AttributeTeaching MethodsTeaching Strategies
DefinitionVarious techniques or approaches used by educators to facilitate learningSpecific actions or plans implemented by teachers to achieve educational goals
FocusEmphasizes the overall approach to teaching and learningEmphasizes specific actions and techniques used in the classroom
ExamplesLecture, demonstration, inquiry-based learning, cooperative learningBrainstorming, role-playing, case studies, problem-solving activities
FlexibilityCan be flexible and adaptable based on the needs of the learnersCan be flexible and adaptable based on the specific learning goals
ImplementationImplemented by educators to guide the overall teaching approachImplemented by teachers to achieve specific learning objectives
EffectivenessEffectiveness can vary based on the learning styles and preferences of studentsEffectiveness can vary based on the alignment with learning objectives and student engagement

Further Detail


Teaching is a complex and dynamic process that requires educators to employ various methods and strategies to effectively engage and educate their students. While the terms "teaching methods" and "teaching strategies" are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to different aspects of the teaching process. In this article, we will explore the attributes of teaching methods and teaching strategies, highlighting their similarities and differences.

Teaching Methods

Teaching methods refer to the overall approach or framework that educators use to deliver instruction and facilitate learning. These methods are broad in nature and encompass the overall structure and organization of the teaching process. Some common teaching methods include lecture-based teaching, inquiry-based learning, cooperative learning, and problem-solving approaches.

One attribute of teaching methods is their emphasis on the overall instructional approach. For example, lecture-based teaching methods involve the teacher delivering information to students through a structured presentation. This method is often used to convey complex concepts or theories in a straightforward manner. On the other hand, inquiry-based learning methods focus on student-centered exploration and discovery, where students actively participate in the learning process by asking questions, conducting experiments, and seeking answers.

Another attribute of teaching methods is their suitability for different learning environments and subject matters. For instance, cooperative learning methods are particularly effective in promoting teamwork and collaboration among students, making them suitable for subjects that require group work, such as project-based assignments or team sports. In contrast, problem-solving approaches are beneficial for subjects that involve critical thinking and analytical skills, as they encourage students to apply their knowledge to real-world situations and find solutions.

Furthermore, teaching methods can also vary in terms of their level of teacher control and student autonomy. Some methods, like direct instruction, involve a high level of teacher control, where the teacher leads the learning process and provides explicit guidance to students. On the other hand, student-centered methods, such as the flipped classroom model, give students more autonomy and responsibility for their own learning, with the teacher acting as a facilitator and resource.

Teaching Strategies

Teaching strategies, on the other hand, refer to the specific techniques and actions that educators employ within the broader teaching method to achieve specific learning objectives. These strategies are more focused and practical, aiming to enhance student engagement, understanding, and retention of information. Some common teaching strategies include active learning, differentiated instruction, scaffolding, and formative assessment.

One attribute of teaching strategies is their emphasis on student engagement and participation. Active learning strategies, for example, encourage students to actively participate in the learning process through discussions, group work, and hands-on activities. This approach promotes deeper understanding and retention of information compared to passive learning methods, where students are merely passive recipients of knowledge.

Another attribute of teaching strategies is their ability to cater to diverse learning needs and styles. Differentiated instruction strategies, for instance, recognize that students have varying abilities, interests, and learning preferences. By providing multiple pathways to learning, such as through varied instructional materials, flexible grouping, and individualized tasks, educators can effectively meet the diverse needs of their students and promote inclusive learning environments.

Furthermore, teaching strategies can also be used to scaffold learning, providing support and guidance to students as they gradually develop their skills and knowledge. Scaffolding strategies involve breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, providing prompts, modeling, and feedback to help students progress. This approach is particularly useful for challenging subjects or when introducing new and unfamiliar concepts.

Lastly, formative assessment strategies play a crucial role in monitoring student progress and providing timely feedback. These strategies involve ongoing assessments throughout the learning process, allowing educators to identify areas of strength and areas that require further attention. By providing constructive feedback and opportunities for improvement, formative assessment strategies help students develop a growth mindset and take ownership of their learning.

Similarities and Differences

While teaching methods and teaching strategies are distinct, they are also interconnected and complementary. Both play a vital role in effective teaching and learning. Teaching methods provide the overall framework and structure for instruction, while teaching strategies offer specific techniques and actions to enhance student engagement and understanding.

One similarity between teaching methods and teaching strategies is their focus on student-centered learning. Both aim to shift the role of the teacher from being the sole provider of knowledge to a facilitator and guide in the learning process. By actively involving students in their own learning, both methods and strategies promote higher-order thinking skills, critical analysis, and problem-solving abilities.

However, a key difference between teaching methods and teaching strategies lies in their scope and level of specificity. Teaching methods are broader in nature, encompassing the overall instructional approach, while teaching strategies are more specific and practical, focusing on the techniques and actions used within the method. In other words, teaching methods provide the "big picture" framework, while teaching strategies offer the "nuts and bolts" of effective instruction.

Another difference is that teaching methods are often chosen based on the subject matter and learning environment, while teaching strategies are selected based on the specific learning objectives and student needs. For example, a teacher may choose a lecture-based teaching method for a content-heavy subject, but within that method, they may employ various strategies such as visual aids, questioning techniques, or group discussions to enhance student understanding and engagement.

It is important to note that teaching methods and teaching strategies are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they work in tandem to create a comprehensive and effective teaching and learning experience. Educators need to carefully select and combine appropriate methods and strategies based on the learning goals, student characteristics, and subject matter to create a dynamic and engaging learning environment.


Teaching methods and teaching strategies are integral components of the teaching process, each with its own attributes and contributions. While teaching methods provide the overall framework and structure for instruction, teaching strategies offer specific techniques and actions to enhance student engagement and understanding. Both methods and strategies play a crucial role in promoting student-centered learning, catering to diverse learning needs, and fostering a positive and inclusive learning environment. By understanding the similarities and differences between teaching methods and teaching strategies, educators can make informed decisions and create effective and engaging learning experiences for their students.

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