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How to be an Active Learner

Many classrooms nurture passive learning by training students to sit still and receive lessons through lectures and texts.  They are expected to acquiesce, listen, absorb, and remember the new content.  Unfortunately, this approach does not serve the needs of all students, and an active learning environment can offer an exciting solution.
Diagram of the senses and the brain that depicts active learning.

What is Active Learning?

Active learning environments are bustling with energy and thought-provoking activities. Students are busy engaging with others, sharing ideas, and applying new content to prior knowledge. Active learners are continually involved in creative projects, self-directed learning, mindful activities, interactive discussions, and multisensory ways of learning. In addition, learners can discover how to use their inner voice and visualizations to make content memorable and easy to encode.

What are Active Learning Strategies for the Classroom?

Active learning strategies involve a different teaching approach as well as engaging lesson ideas.  Students are not looked upon as empty vessels that need to be filled.  Rather, they come to the table with a wealth of knowledge and interests that can make the learning process both fun and memorable.  Some active learning strategies that can be used in the classroom are:
  • Roleplaying: The teacher divides the class into groups and allows the students to act out historical time periods or famous people. 
  • Discussions: Classroom discussions involve a sustained exchange of thoughts and ideas with the purpose of developing opinions, understanding concepts, and acquiring skills.
  • Hands-on learning: This approach directly involves learners by actively encouraging them to be physically involved with the subject matter.
  • Cooperative learning: This strategy encourages small groups of students to work together on a common task.
  • Think Pair Share: This cooperative approach allows students to work collectively to solve problems or answer questions. Students learn to:
    • think independently 
    • share ideas with peers
    • discuss lessons with a partner 
  • Learning Games: Learning games are integrated into lessons to offer practice with new learning content.  This allows the students to move around and have fun with other peers in small groups.

Diagram showing how the brain uses active learning strategies.

Where Can I Find Active Lesson Ideas?

collage of different lessons that can be purchased at Good Sensory LearningAt Good Sensory Learning we offer a large selection of multisensory, active lessons for reading, writing, math and even cognitive ways of processing such as visualization.  To learn more about these active and engaging products, CLICK HERE.

Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

· Blog: https://learningspecialistmaterials.blogspot.com/
· YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/warrenerica1
· Podcast: https://godyslexia.com/
· Store: http://www.Goodsensorylearning.com/ & www.dyslexiamaterials.com
· Courses: http://www.learningspecialistcourses.com/
· Newsletter Sign-up: https://app.convertkit.com/landing_pages/69400

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