Traditional methods of teaching have taken a backseat, especially with the younger generation. Being born into the world that demands speed and efficiency, having information delivered to them immediately has hampered their ability to focus on one thing for long periods of time.
Teachers are slowly introducing the concept of active learning and listening in the classroom to encourage participation.This is a more inclusive method of teaching that does not focus on only those who are able to listen but for those with attention deficit disorders as well. Building a relationship between teachers and students is crucial.
As a teacher the sole purpose is to ensure each student is receiving the best education experience possible; as a student, the effort lies in making each class worth its while.
This post will cover various methods of active learning, their benefits and how older students can be more involved in class.
Methods of Active Learning
- Mind Warm Ups
- Try to get the students organized and energetic at the beginning of every class.
- These mind warm ups are meant to boost their attentiveness and energy right at the start so that they are engaged throughout.
- Make them get up on their feet and recite a few motivational lines together to get through the day.
- The proceed to recount what happened in the previous class.
- Do not simply ask questions and then wait for one child to answer.
- Eliminate what could possibly be dead time by dividing them into groups or ensuring that each student is able to give you at least one answer, no matter how important or unimportant the point is.
- This can help to determine how much information they are collectively retaining and understanding from each class.
- Remember, if the teacher enters the class energetic and excited for the day, students automatically follow his/her lead.
- Do not ask long questions or look for extensive answers. A simple work or small sentence should be sufficient.
- Interactive and educational games are the one thing that will engage students of any age group.
- This is an effectively and excellent way to get children to learn and pay attention without them even realizing that any amount of learning is happening.
- A simple focus exercise for middle schoolers would be to begin a rhythm on your desk and ask them to join in and echo the sounds you’re making.
- This will force them to work together to build a rhythm and forces them to focus on what is happening.
- Proceeding to teach after this is much easier since you already have their attention.
- Games like quizzes are a great way to get everyone involved.
- Divide them into teams or even allow individual answers but ensure that they understand that each student must answer at least one question.
- Inform students that you will be doing this after a particular class in order to get them to pay attention.
- Knowing that they will be required to listen and learn and answer later encourages attention and focus.
- Simply encouraging movement by making students move chairs and tables together or do an exercise gets their blood pumping and allows them to focus more clearly.
- The singular approach where a teacher teaches and then sets homework is pointless.
- It does not test the child or make classroom learning a lot of fun.
- After teacher, a portion of the topic, stop and begin a discussion with the students.
- Motivate even the silent ones to open up and speak up in class slowly.
- Stimulate arguments and differences of opinions.
- This allows them to think for themselves and feel differently about different things.
- It also helps them understand that a difference of opinion may not be bad or wrong, it can simply be different.
- Speak about ideas and subjects that are related to topics being taught in class but are not necessarily part of the syllabus.
- This definitely makes classroom learning much more interesting.
- Group Activities
- As mentioned above, group activities in the form of discussions, quizzes and mind warm ups are a great way to ensure everyone focuses and participates in class.
- Another great activity is group projects.
- Whether they are projects meant for the classroom or as homework assignments, it is a great way to get all students to work together towards a common goal.
- Ensure that each student has contributed in some way or the other to the project by asking them for their contributions at the time of the deadline.
- Allow them freedom of creativity; let them experiment with methods and come up with ideas on their own.
- Constantly sticking to curriculum methods can stunt a student’s interest in a subject and their ability to think for themselves.
- Minimalize the guidelines but do not remove them completely.
- Be Firm
- While encouraging fun learning and interactive sessions, do not forget that you’re the teacher.
- You’re the one in control of what happens within the classroom and the students should not forget this.
- If there are students who consistently refusing to cooperate or interact in class, be kind but firm in your methods.
- This will bring them out of their shells and teach them how to develop new habits.
- Do not allow tardiness, but be flexible about your methods.
- Create a Supportive Environment
- Many students are shy and uncomfortable.
- Classes sometimes have more introverts than extroverts.
- Students can even be underconfident about their abilities even though they have a lot of potentials.
- Keeping this in mind create an environment that does not negate these factors or consider them negative points of view.
- Create an environment where students can speak freely or get wrong answers without the fear of being judged or humiliated.
- This is an extremely important point.
- The fear of failure is like a sword over their heads.
- Ensure that they know that failure is not the end of their lives. There is always an opportunity to try and again and do better.
- They should compete less with other students and more with themselves.
- Mix Up Styles
- Every few weeks try and change your teaching methods.
- Do not stick to the same old drab boring routines.
- This will keep the class interesting for both students and teachers, making learning a fun experience.
Benefits of Active Learning and Listening
The more critical benefit of active learning and listening is that students are able to comprehend and remember more information from classroom activities. They are able to retain complex ideas, thereby developing an added interest in the subject.
This in turn allows them to score higher marks which encourage them to continue their hard work and pursue education further. By engaging all students in activities, you ensure that no one is left out or forgotten. This inclusive environment of learning has benefitted many students who learn slower than others, giving them an opportunity to do their best.