Students’ forearms prop heavy heads and eye lids become fatigued and weighty. Information fills the room, but the restless audience remains impervious as attention is stolen by fleeting thoughts and boredom. If this is a common scene at your school, most likely the learning environment is passive. Although a passive learning environment can accommodate large numbers of students, it is often an ineffective scholastic milieu. In contrast, an active learning environment should have the opposite effect on students. This way of teaching encourages creativity, self directed learning, mindfulness, interaction, discussion and multisensory ways of processing.
So what can I do to nurture active learning?
1) Help your students understand the difference between active and passive learning.
2) Encourage your students to complete the free Passive vs. Active Learning Profile offered free here.
3) Let your students brainstorm things they can do to become active learners.
4) Allow your students to brainstorm things you can do to help them become active learners.
5) Integrate active learning activities into the classroom such as acting, small group work and hands on activities.
6) Incorporate fun learning stations in the classroom, so that the students can move around and process with other peers in smaller groups.
7) Encourage students to preview new topics by watching YouTube clips or doing internet searches so that they come to class with some prior knowledge.
8) Give students assignment options so that they can make a choice on how they would like to demonstrate their mastery of the content. Make sure the different options tap into different learning modalities.
9) Consider the 12 ways of learning and teach in a multisensory fashion.
10) Break the class into groups where they take opposing positions on a topic. Allow one student from each group to facilitate the discussion. The teacher can act as the judge and can dole out points for good arguments, creative content and clever presentations.
If you found this blog and activity to be helpful, this is just one of the many resources available in the publication, Planning, Time Management and Organization for Success: Quick and Easy Approaches to Mastering Executive Functioning Skills for Students.