a progressive educator, it becomes important to incorporate active learning strategies in classrooms. The following techniques can be used to involve students in active learning:
Student-generated test questions
This is a great strategy that empowers students and fosters their voices and choices. It is essential to Learning at its core is the process where the learners gain information that enhances their present knowledge and behaviour. Active learning is when one actively participates and collaborates with peers to apply concepts to the real world. The active learning process makes student learn centrally and focuses more on ‘how’ students learn, not just on ‘what’ they learn. It also involves activities involves activities where the learners understand and gain knowledge of applying theoretical concepts in realworld applications.
Active learning often requires significant mental effort leading to increased retention. Also, understanding new knowledge that can be transferred in novel situations other than the one in which it was initially learned. Thus, students are encouraged to ‘think hard’ rather than passively receive their teachers’ information.
Active learning can simply be described as ‘a learning activity in which the student participates or interacts with the learning process, as opposed to just passively taking in the information’. It draws from constructivism learning theory as in both the philosophies, the learner constructs new bridges of knowledge. Constructivism theory emphasises that learners should construct and build their own understanding. Here, the learners develop their existing knowledge to achieve more profound levels of understanding.
Active learning is significant because the students are required to participate in the teaching process that goes into the classroom. This means learners are able to analyse, evaluate and synthesize ideas. It involves students in various tasks to think about what they are doing. Additionally, active learning can also make the classroom an inclusive environment. Various researches proved that the extensive use of active learning strategies in the classroom significantly impacts student learning, especially female students, directly reducing gender bias.
As a progressive educator, it becomes important to incorporate active learning strategies in classrooms. The following techniques can be used to involve students in active learning:
Student-generated test questions
This is a great strategy that empowers students and fosters their voices and choices. It is essential to develop a shared understanding of the learning goals of the students.
The students are given a pictorial representation of the Blooms’ Taxonomy alongside the keywords associated with each level. The instructor then asked the students to create as many test questions as they could from different levels, and every group can share their favourite five questions with the entire class. This student-generated question bank could be used in multiple ways as a study guide or assignment booklet.
The aforementioned strategy is helpful for students to connect to the learning goals. It is also beneficial to practice subjects like science and mathematics because of their intrinsic nature of inquiry and sense making. A few challenges might be that all students cannot frame appropriate high-quality questions as this is something new for them. As an educator, modelling the process with appropriate examples and timely feedback may support seamless execution.
Complex instruction for group work:
This is the most elaborative and well-researched strategy to implement collaborative small group learning. The strategy is such that all its activities are carefully designed so that they acquire different skill sets and rely on group members for completion . Teachers have to be key players as it is imperative to pay attention to unequal participation and assign competence to select individuals with their feedback.
Group members should also have assigned roles like a recorder, reporter, materials manager, etc. Tasks and activities that require various skill sets like research, writing, visual representation are well suited in this context. A complex instruction collaborative task resonates with the true nature of the mathematics discipline, such as asking students to reason with each other and convince peers.
Such a task also demands students to share their thinking like real-world mathematicians. Some of the challenges that would need to be addressed include appropriate teachers training to execute complex instruction in the classroom. Teachers often grapple with limited time, which could be a significant hindrance to reap the positive benefits of this practice.
Research shows that it is impossible to transcend knowledge to students by simply telling them what they need to know and learn. Instead, teachers must ensure that they challenge their students’ thinking and skills. With active learning, students play an essential role in their own learning process. They build knowledge and understanding in response to opportunities provided by their teacher.