Teaching Strategies for Using Educational Television in the Classroom


For years, parents, teachers and students have tried to figure out the best way for children to absorb and retain information. Educators have made their lectures more interesting to help students learn difficult concepts. Others use comedy to alleviate some of the apprehension students might feel toward tackling a challenging project. Music has been used as a means to help children memorize facts for decades. Today, all of these elements - comedy, music, etc. - can be found in educational television programs that children watch at home. But how can people entering a career in teaching use this powerful tool while their students are in class? Here are a few tips to help you use educational television creatively in your curricula:

Make connections

The obvious and most direct way teachers use educational television programs is to make a connection between the television program and the concept being studied in class. The chapter in your marine life textbook would most likely be accompanied by a video on some sort of sea animal like whales, dolphins or sharks. While this strategy can be effective, there are other ways teachers can use educational television. Connecting to a subject matter can involve discussing broader topics. For example, the after viewing a video on marine life, students can include identifying the effects of oil spills on animal breeding, or organizing classroom projects that educate children about wildlife preservation.

Enhance TV's inherent audio/visual value

When teachers use educational television programs during class, the relationship between them and their students changes. Usually the status quo of the classroom is the teacher imparts knowledge while students absorb the information. Educational programs change the status quo by, in a way, making the educator and children peers who can share and discuss the viewing experience. Teachers can take advantage of this shift in roles by encouraging small group discussions after watching the show. Educators can set specific goals or activities for students in these small groups, which allows them to explore their own questions and share their ideas on the given topic with their classmates. The instructor can then ask one member of the small group to share their team's insights with the rest of the class, strengthening the absorption of knowledge.

What are your strategies for incorporating educational television programs into your curriculum? Let us know in the comments, and then check out our list of educational TV shows for elementary school students!"

WGU's Teachers College offers multiple online degree programs for current teachers or those looking to become teachers. To find out more, please check out WGU's online degree programs in teaching.

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