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What Are the Different Types of Teaching Aids?

Lumara Lee
Lumara Lee

Students can become bored sitting in a classroom for hours. Teaching aids can provide a welcome break for students who have been sitting for awhile and listening to an instructor lecture in front of the room. Educators can use various teaching aids besides textbooks to pique students’ interest and demonstrate how things work. Visual aids, such as whiteboards or chalkboards, charts, maps, flash cards, and calendars are commonly used. In fact, this is where it all begins. A child that learns to write will learn to read and from there, can be challenged to absorb more academic information. Modules or math worksheets may be assigned to students to allow them to practice discipline in not just answering the questions, but doing so diligently to meet deadlines. Presentation tools. such as bulletin boards, audiovisual equipment, and overhead projectors are also utilized frequently along with multimedia displays and computers.

Flash cards are an effective way to teach various subjects. These popular teaching aids are available for many fields, such as spelling, geography, and arithmetic, and the teacher or parent can also create customized flash cards geared toward a specific subject or child. Children who are visual learners will receive the most benefit from the use of flash cards, but auditory learners will also benefit if the information presented on the cards is read aloud.

Projectors are often used in classrooms as teaching aids.
Projectors are often used in classrooms as teaching aids.

A pointer is a teaching aid used in many classrooms. It is used to point out items such as words written on a chalkboard or features on a map. The traditional pointer is a long, skinny wand. Laser pointers, which are used to shine a beam of light on the feature the instructor wants to highlight, are becoming more common. The lights in laser pointers are available in different colors, and some can even display various designs such as flowers, butterflies, and animals.

A teacher using a whiteboard to teach a classroom.
A teacher using a whiteboard to teach a classroom.

Computers have become popular teaching aids, but overhead projectors still have a place in the classroom. A transparency is placed on the glass and the information on the transparency is projected onto a screen. An instructor can write the information directly onto the transparency. The transparency can also be fed into a laser printer so that information can be transferred onto the transparency from a computer.

Students using computers to learn.
Students using computers to learn.

Some teaching aids are aimed at a specific subject. For instance, a good online tutor will use visual aids for subjects that require images to make sense. They may also use technology for students who are proficient in them. For example, driving simulators have been developed for use in driver’s education classes. The student sits in a module that has a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal and watches a movie from the perspective of a driver. He or she reacts to events taking place on the screen by pressing the accelerator or brake and turning the steering wheel. The driving simulator records all of the students’ actions for the teacher to review with the student afterward.

This isn't limited to the subjects alone, but to age brackets as well. This means that learning strategies in English differ from strategies in Math, and strategies used for adults are different from strategies used when teaching kids.

Discussion Comments


I think all teaching aids can be effectively used in a class. It is just a matter of choosing the right teaching aid. It depends on the students that you have, the lesson you will teach, and the level of your students. It is very important that we take into consideration the students' interests and abilities.


With a creative folder of images based upon an educational theme, the selection of images into individual named folders by students of all ages may have educational value under the guidance of teaching objectives.


@blackDagger - I agree that teaching aids don't have to be costly, in fact, I think some of the best teaching aids are those from around your own home. If you have small children everyday objects can become teaching aids when you are helping them learn the ins and outs of everyday life.

Cooking is a great example. Children love to get messy and to feel like they have done a good job creating something. I always make sure to get my kids to help me make things while showing them a recipe step by step with pictures. You can find these recipes easily online.


I teach English as a second language and teaching aids are especially important when you are trying to get someone to learn a new language. I have found that lots of interactive games and pictures of what were learning about to be immensely helpful in the classroom.

If you are choosing teaching aids it is a good idea to do some research before hand. You will need to figure out what your students are interested in and be aware of any cultural differences that exist if you are teaching immigrants or those in another country. Integrating ideas from a student’s culture into your lessons can really help to make it relevant to them.


Approaching this from a teacher's point of view I know that teaching aids are invaluable in the classroom.

My students are adults, but they benefit from a lesson which incorporates different methods just as much as school children do. Even the most interested student struggles to maintain interest for more than ten or fifteen minutes at a stretch, making it vital to mix up the way information is presented.

When I was first looking for teaching jobs I was often asked about this topic at interviews. I was glad to have learned how important they are when I was training. I could talk confidently about the benefits and also check out what kind of teaching supplies were available in a particular position.

It's always tempting to talk to much, a fatal mistake for a teacher of any age group. Teaching aids such as OHPs, flip charts and white boards, as well as old fashioned worksheets, are all good ways of taking the focus of the teacher and encouraging learners to engage with the subject.


I think it is so important for today’s students to be exposed to as much technology as possible, and from as early an age as possible.

We know that technology is only going to move forward, not backward, and it is incredibly important to prepare tomorrow’s workers for that kind of job market.

The best way to do this is to use the technology as aids for the teacher. By integrating touch screens, updated computers and even more into the classroom we are preparing our kids for a technology infused world.


Teaching aids today are really only limited by a teacher’s funds and imagination. However, it should be said that there are many effective teaching aids that are not expensive at all.

I was amazed at the creativity and simplicity that was combined by my daughter’s Pre-K teachers this past year. It was miraculous what those people could do with a few popsicle sticks and some construction paper.

As long as the objects are being applied to the purpose of aiding the teacher in getting the objective across, it is in fact a teacher’s aid. It doesn’t have to be anything huge at all!

That isn’t to say that white boards and computers and projectors aren’t all great, but a lot can be learned with far less costly items.


@Cafe41 - I wanted to add that most of the classrooms at my children’s school now offer white boards with high tech touch technology. It is much more interactive and fun for kids to learn in this format. I think that a school has to keep up with the times in order to keep kids engaged because if not, children lose interest quickly.


I remember that program. I think that the only problem with this teaching aid is that kids might select books with high point values in order to satisfy their goal and not continue to read. It may also turn them off to reading books that have no point value assigned. With this program, teachers have to make sure that the kids are tested periodically and are reading books at or slightly above their reading level because if not then children can select easy books and satisfy their entire nine week goal in a week and not read anymore which defeats the purpose of the program.

I know that many teachers use incentives to get the children to reach their goal faster. Some schools offer a pizza lunch, while others might suggest a non uniform day. This is a big focus in a lot of schools.


I know what you mean. My kids sometimes get internet homework from sites like Spelling City and Brain Pop that my kids also use in school. What I really like about Brain Pop is that it offers a short ten minute movie with animated characters that is short enough for most kid’s attention span.

They then follow up every video with a quiz to see if the child was paying attention. It is really a great source and there are topics involving all school subjects from English grammar to mathematics. I also know that many schools use the

Accelerated Reader program as a teaching aid to develop more reading fluency for the younger kids and more critical thinking and comprehension skills for the older children.

The program assigns points to various books and the kids are tested on their reading level. The teacher usually offers silent reading time during certain periods in the class and when the child is finished with the book they can take a quiz on it and get awarded points. Most schools give the children a point goal so that they read additional material other than their text books. The teachers usually use a few computers to allow some children to test on their own.


I know that the teaching aids for teachers have changed a lot from when I was a kid. When I was a kid teachers used flash cards and rulers to point to things on the chalkboard. Now at my children’s school they use internet streaming video that coincides with their lesson plans.

For example, the Discovery Channel offers a school and homeschool subscription that offers thousands of supporting videos for kids in kindergarten until twelfth grade. There is even educational programming that offers reading and science instruction like “Reading Rainbow” and “Magic School Bus”.

I think that kids are expecting high tech teaching aids because using creative teaching aids like this enhances the learning process and allows for the kids to pay more attention to the lesson.

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    • Projectors are often used in classrooms as teaching aids.
      By: M S
      Projectors are often used in classrooms as teaching aids.
    • A teacher using a whiteboard to teach a classroom.
      By: Monkey Business
      A teacher using a whiteboard to teach a classroom.
    • Students using computers to learn.
      By: Monkey Business
      Students using computers to learn.
    • Flash cards are useful teaching aids for students.
      By: Gembo
      Flash cards are useful teaching aids for students.
    • Chalkboards are often used as a teaching aid.
      By: sklyarova
      Chalkboards are often used as a teaching aid.
    • Laser pointers have become popular as a teaching aid.
      By: crom
      Laser pointers have become popular as a teaching aid.