Active Learning How do active learning strategies contribute to student-centered teaching?
Comparison Activity Wrap-up: “Active learning is taking place when students are permitted to do more than simply sit in their seats, point at the board, or study the books in front of them.”
Active Learning Strategies Active learning strategies are particularly helpful in student-centered lessons because they require the student to engage his/her body in the learning process. This physical activity assists the student in remaining engaged in the lesson and in remembering what is being taught. Active learning lessons draw not only on children's past experiences, but create tangible physical experiences in the classroom, and thereby make the discoveries that children come to during learning more memorable.
TEACHING EXAMPLES EXAMPLE ONE: A 4th grade teacher introduces a lesson about the family by asking students about their own families. Then, she draws a family tree on the board, explaining out loud that she is writing the names of her mother, father, sisters, and brothers. She asks the students why the mother and father are on the top of the tree, and the sisters and brothers on the bottom. Then, she asks the students to draw their own family trees.
TEACHING EXAMPLES (Cont’d) EXAMPLE TWO: A teacher who is reviewing a lesson about the rotation of the Earth around itself and around the sun calls on students to imitate this rotation. She tells the students that, in pairs, they will all imitate the rotation of the earth around itself and around the sun. The student who is playing the role of the sun will be holding a flashlight, and the pair will explain the phases of the day and night (depending on where the earth is relative to the flashlight).
TEACHING EXAMPLES (Cont’d) EXAMPLE THREE: A teacher explaining the process of photosynthesis on the board. She writes the definition of photosynthesis and the conditions for chlorophyll plants to undergo photosynthesis. She continuously asks students to repeat the steps and conditions (i.e. green plant, sunlight, oxygen…) after her/him.
TEACHING EXAMPLES (Cont’d) EXAMPLE FOUR: A teacher explaining the different bonding of elements in order to form compounds using colored balls. She starts the lesson by asking the students questions to involve them in the process of bonding. She bonds two blue balls (Hydrogen atoms) with a white ball (oxygen atom) and start guiding the students to discover how to write the name of the compound (two elements of hydrogen and one element of oxygen gives H2O).
Summary: Main Points Meeting the 3 criteria previously discussed for student-centered teaching lays the groundwork for quality instruction. However, meeting these criteria does not necessarily ensure that instruction will be maximally effective.
Summary: Main Points In order for instruction, particularly instruction for young students, to be maximally effective, it should involve both mental and physical activity. Although some lessons could involve mostly mental activity, and could meet the criteria elaborated on day one for student-centered teaching, these lessons would not be as effective as lessons that involved both mental and physical activity for the students.