10 Effective DAP Teaching Strategies

Last Updated on October 3, 2023 by Editorial Team

Developmentally appropriate practice is a philosophy in early childhood education that encourages a teacher or caregiver to support a child’s physical, mental, and emotional growth. Understanding what is appropriate as per the cognitive abilities of students is also something that is extremely important that educators need to look out for, and DAP promotes that effectively. This tendency can also lead to the development of a healthy atmosphere of learning in a class.

Using various DAP strategies in class helps teachers and educators in better implementation of the learning goals. The classroom environment can be transformed with well-established goals, a balance in activities, games, and ways to build curiosity and inquisitiveness in students. With the help of well-framed strategies, teachers can keep track of guidelines. These strategies are aimed at keeping students interested in the process of learning and helping them persevere through various challenges that they face during their academic lives.

Using DAP in class: What makes it different?

A DAP Classroom is more interactive, and there is a more positive and reliable relationship between students and teachers this impacts the performance of students in a fairly positive manner and enriches students with qualities of perseverance, patience, compliance, obedience, self-efficacy, critical thinking, creativity, and discipline.

Research[1] has been carried out to study the effect of DAP on the academic performance of students. This particular research studied the strategy of Rigorous DAP which was a combination and a set of 11 principles of instructions that were aimed at helping to close learning gaps that occur in early childhood.

It was found that academically rigorous learning environments create the right atmosphere for children to develop their learning abilities at high levels. The peculiarity of DAP is that it focuses on the whole landscape of learning which comprises aspects covering the dimensions of motivation.

What does a DAP classroom look like?

  • Using DAP in class helps make a classroom more of an interesting and interactive space for students. 
  • It becomes a place of healthy discussion, learning, and knowledge and stops being a place of attending lectures. 
  • DAP motivates students to think, discuss, and learn rather than being a place intended for simply listening. 
  • With DAP, students become active recipients of knowledge rather than passive entities. This difference plays a major role in the construction of various aspects of a student’s academic life.
  • Each student is acknowledged and supported as a valuable member of the learning community by developmentally appropriate activity.

As the DAP classroom offers an effective learning environment for students and teachers, it is always a good idea to frame and implement strategies keeping in mind the scenario and guidelines of the Developmentally appropriate practice. Given below are some strategies that can transform the learning atmosphere for little learners.

DAP teaching strategies for the effective implementation of the approach

DAP teaching strategies help teachers and educators understand and set learning goals in an efficient manner. Teachers can also plan the curriculum and everyday classroom etiquette with the existence of well-framed strategies.

1. Encourage Effort

It is important to encourage students to put effort into the class itself to understand what is being taught clearly. Teachers can encourage efforts in the classroom by making two teams of two or three rows in a class and creating a small competitive quiz out of it, this can foster a playful environment in the class and can also encourage students to pay attention. 

Encouraging effort can also happen by giving homework, but making students do most of their work in the class itself can help educators monitor the way in which students are approaching their subject of study. Assignments, quizzes, and interactive games during classes are some other active strategies to encourage students to put effort into studying and learning various subjects effectively.

2. Provide Appropriate Feedback 

After assigning assignments, projects, homework, or classwork to students it is important to give students appropriate feedback regarding their work. The importance of feedback cannot be underestimated as giving feedback is not limited to grading them and objectively telling them that their work was good, satisfactory, or below average. 

Providing appropriate feedback revolves around the fact of giving students a subjective and brief explanation of what was good in their assignment or project and telling them briefly about what was missing in their work. Telling them politely and suggesting to them what can be added and improved can inspire students to work more creatively in the various other projects that can be assigned to them later on.

3. Create Challenges 

Creating challenges can introduce students to their hidden potential and provide them with opportunities to channel their talent and put it to effective use. Challenges can be given by involving a group of classmates together and by asking them to present, debate, explain, or discuss a particular topic in front of the class. Another way of challenging students is by keeping creative activities at the end of the period of a particular subject. 

In a math class, after the teacher has taught a particular type of sum, he or she can introduce a sum with a classic twist and give a challenge to the class that whoever solves this particular math problem gets a small prize at the end of the class.

Such challenges can foster determination in students and encourage them to try and think creatively. Such strategies can also develop the tendency in children to look at challenges not as problems but as opportunities to put their minds and hearts to work and achieve a sense of accomplishment.

4. Motivate a Problem-Solving Mindset

The question is how do we exactly promote and encourage this mindset in young students? For this to happen, students should have a clear idea of what exactly is the problem. Critical thinking is a very important part of developing this attitude of having a mind that seeks solutions. Addressing the problem and difficulties surrounding certain situations clearly can give away an efficient path in the development of a problem-solving mindset. 

For this, a teacher can give various hypothetical situations where students are encouraged to apply their knowledge and solve the problem that is being portrayed in the given situation. This can be done through activities like small treasure hunt competitions on a particular day once in three months. In regular classes, asking students to imagine a particular situation and then giving and stating certain ways to solve that situation can also help in developing this mindset.

5. Ask Open Ended Questions 

Asking open-ended questions simply means, questions that motivate students to explain their answers in detail rather than in a few words. Such questions help educators gain better insights into what students have exactly understood. Such questions also help students develop better writing skills and also contribute to their comprehension skills. 

Open-ended questions make students explain the concepts in their own words. This helps them develop an approach to studying by understanding the concepts and not simply learning for the sake of learning. In other way, students get an opportunity to furnish their storytelling skills as they learn to explain their answers with brief discussions.

6. Offer Direct Instructions

Direct instructions are clear, apt, and precise. They help in curbing confusion and giving students a clear path to execute the goals that they have to achieve. Offering direct instructions also helps in making the work of students easier and helps them work in an efficient manner. It facilitates obedience and compliance as well.

It is significant to know that students can get confused when they do not have the direction of their task. Direct instructions from the teacher make the task easier while also keeping children interested in it. Moreover, direct instruction solves the problem of misunderstandings or misconceptions with reference to the task.

7. Set Classroom Goals

Setting classroom goals is crucial to enhance discipline and order in the class. Teachers can start with easy goals such as completing a particular chapter or an assignment by the end of a certain time. A defined goal can encourage students to work effectively and motivate them to work with a clear direction. 

Such a direction can help them learn the importance of deadlines. Goals help achieve and execute certain assignments and develop the important quality of self-efficacy which is important in various professional areas of work. Classroom goals also help set a code of conduct where students are aligned in a particular direction or mindset.

8. Plan Specific Curriculum 

If you have a kid with learning disabilities at home, your prime goal would be to set up a justified curriculum for them. Similarly, planning a specific curriculum for children can give educators a fair chance to introduce creativity and innovation. It also helps to develop syllabi that can keep children engrossed and engaged in the academic strata. Planning is one of the fundamental ways to keep updating the syllabi for students. 

Introducing various important and ongoing concepts in their curriculum eventually keeps them updated. Additionally, DAP strategies work well when teachers are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of students. Tapping in the right direction through the curriculum can bring about a significant difference in the overall learning experience. 

9. Demonstrate the Right Way of Doing 

Demonstrating the right way of doing something in a step-by-step manner. It can help students gain clarity and better hold on to what needs to be done. Otherwise, confusion can foster self-doubt and low confidence in them related to a particular area of their academic syllabi. 

Teachers who demonstrate the right way of doing in a patient manner allow students to know exactly what they are doing. This can also avoid the spreading of certain confusion from one student to another. Moreover, when students lose track of their behavior, task, or classwork, demonstration helps them get back to the expected standards.

10. Offer Assistance

At times students need some assistance related to various projects and assignments related to teachers but they don’t know how to ask their teachers. Teachers who are open to assisting their students can gain their confidence and help them develop better skills which can facilitate better performance and lead to outstanding results in the classroom.

It is necessary for educators to learn the art of communicating in ways through which they can sound polite and genuine in front of their students and not make them feel as if they are a burden on them or are not good at their studies.


The above-mentioned DAP strategies can help develop an overall better environment in the classroom, it can help students in various areas of their academic life and develop their self-confidence and overall performance in the field of their study. These strategies can also help in developing a class that is full of interaction and free of monotonous lecturing. 

The relationship between an educator and a student can also become stronger and more influential through the appropriate use and combination of these strategies. DAP strategies are indeed a great tool to enhance the overall development of students.


  1. Brown, C. P., & Mowry, B. (2015). Close early learning gaps with Rigorous DAP. Phi Delta Kappan. https://doi.org/10.1177/0031721715579041

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