Why should we use active learning? • Students find it ‘engaging’ and ‘enjoyable’ • The focus is on the students themselves rather than the teacher • Students who actively engage with the material are more likely to be able to recall information (Bruner, 1961).
Why don’t we use active learning? • It takes more time to plan activities • Some content must be taught the traditional ‘didactic’ way • Too much active learning can become repetitive rather than a healthy balance of the two approaches • As teachers, are we guilty of standing and talking for too long? Are we sometimes guilty of liking the sound of our own voices too much?
The ‘1 minute’ brainstorm • Students or pairs of students asked to write down everything they know on a topic in one minute • Could award a prize for the student with the most points
What did you learn? • Students to write down the learning objectives or what they can remember from the previous lesson
Guess the lesson objectives • Students are told the nature of a topic and/ or given books and asked to summarise what they will be learning about. • Could be extended so students pair up to discuss answers then several pairs selected to report back to class
Review Questions / Exam Style • Give students a handout containing review questions and/or exam style questions (or have on desk) as they come into the classroom • Encourage students to make a prompt start • (Included as an example of a commonly used didactic approach)
Didactic approach • Even though this style is not active learning this approach is included because it is effective to combine the two styles. • Could use to deliver some background content before an active learning approach, and always use to summarise the key points afterwards. • Also effective to deliver some content in this style before mini plenaries • Not all content can be taught through active learning • Using this approach helps avoid repetition
Teach a partner • Students put into pairs • Students given two different paragraphs and given time to prepare • Students teach each other the paragraphs (not just recall) • Can extend by having a collaborative question or task and moving students. • Teacher picks several students to summarise the two paragraphs back to class
Students to summarise to class • Students to read a paragraph or section of the study pack • Using a random name generator select a student to summarise the key points back to the class • Ask another student to summarise what the first student said
Think-pair- share (paragraph) • Students given the same paragraph and asked to highlight the key points • Students then combine in pairs to discuss the key points • Teacher then picks one or more students to report back
Jigsaw • Set up ‘expert groups’ of information • Assign pupils a number eg 1-4 • All of the 1s will then go and work together, all of the 2s etc. • After 10 minutes you will be told to return to your home group. • Each member of the group takes it in turn to feedback what they have been doing as a ‘RoundRobin’ or ‘question the expert’ • can extend by coming to a group decision about an agreed outcome
Question the Expert • Class split into 4 or 5 groups • Students select one student to be the ‘expert’. Other students are given a paragraph to read. • The teacher then gives a short explanation to the ‘experts’ who go back to their groups and teach the same explanation. • Extend by including a collaborative task
Think – pair – share (Exam Q) • Pairs of students given a different exam question to answer • Students then explain to each other how they have answered the question • Students then mark each others answer using mark scheme and explain to each other. • Select one or two pairs to summarise back to class • Could use same exam question
Reverse Questions • Students are given the mark scheme and asked to come up with the question it was based on • Students then pair up and discuss answers (or questions!) • One or two students then selected to feedback to the class
Group work / Stations Students work as pairs or in groups of 4 Each table works on a different task. E.g. Cut up a mark scheme and students have to match up the questions to answers Students then move tables, or the activities are passed around.
Snowballing / Rainbowing • Put students into pairs and ask them to discuss and complete a task e.g. What is the best exam question • Then pair teams up with another pair to discuss the task • Then students move into another group and discuss their findings or method e.g. What is required in a good exam answer. At this point ensure students are placed in different groups (use colours) • Could extend by asking group to feedback to class
Leading Questions Students work as pairs, each student given a list of questions with model answers. Students take it in turns asking each other the questions and directing each other to the correct answer by giving clues. Could use model exam questions. Give a demonstration first.
Exam paper gallery • Cut an exam paper up into sections • Put different questions around the room with a mark scheme (or put mark scheme at the front) • Students to move round independently and mark own work
Scaffolding Place several review questions (starter or plenaries) around the room – include a mark scheme Students to move around and practice answering the questions Students then pair up, and are given a set of the questions each to test each other
Timed Exam Questions • Set a time limit on exam questions (one at a time) • At the end of each question go through the mark scheme and allow students to self-mark
Think-pair- share (Key points) • Students to summarise the key points from the lesson or part of a lesson • Students to pair up and discuss these key points • One or two students then randomly selected to summarise this back to the class.
Think-pair- share (Questions) • Students given a set of questions to think about independently (could be the learning objectives) • Students to pair up and discuss their answers • One or several students selected to summarise their answers to the rest of the class
Think-pair- share (Q + A) • Students to come up with one question and one answer based on the lesson or part of the lesson • Students to pair up and ask each other their question (could repeat) • One or several students then selected to report back to class
True or False • Students given a piece of text to read independently • They then combine with a partner to decide on true or false statements. • Then teacher takes feedback.
Gallery • Several questions posted around the room e.g. 6-8 • Students asked to walk round and stop on a question of their choice (need at least one student on each question) • Students asked to summarise answers
Post it! (Questions) • Students write down one or several questions on post its • All the post its put on the whiteboard • Students then select a post it and answer the question
Split Group Questions • Display several questions to the class and ask students to choose only one to answer • Select students to summarise their answers back to the class
Discussion • Students given time during a presentation to discuss their opinion or knowledge with each other • Can give points to discuss on slides • One or two students randomly selected to feedback
Role Play Ask students to come up with their own role play or perform a set role play to model a process.
Practical Work Practical work in Biology allows students to get ‘hands on’ and engage with the material Demonstrations can also be used to illustrate key points
Modelling Modelling is another ‘hands on approach’. E.g. Students to build the structure of a protein using a modelling kit
Memory Students get into groups of 3’s Make two student’s the ‘architects’ and one student the ‘team leader’. The leader’s have to view a diagram under a time limit and return to the group explaining how to draw the diagram. Only the architects can draw.
Students to present (groups) • Students put into groups and asked to prepare a short presentation on a topic • Ask each student to speak for at least 30 seconds • Allow time for students to ask questions
Peer or Self Marking • Students take more responsibility for their work • Helps students to become more familiar with mark schemes • Allows teacher to set more work (as marking is reduced)
Group Brainstorming • Class of students shown several different questions or themes to brainstorm. • Group of students brainstorm one of the questions on a piece of A3 • Brainstorm posters passed around different groups with chances to add to or disagree with other groups brainstorms
Discussion Ladders (Debate) • Select a controversial topic • Put students into two lines facing each other • Give them a set amount to time to argue in favour of one side then swap – students must listen when not their turn • Then students move down a place and argue again • Then students move down a place and argue the opposite way
Ceph method • Students given questions to ask based on a powerpoint lecture • Could have question ‘points’ in the powerpoint labelled • Students have to ask the question in the correct place during the presentation.
Home and Away • Students put into pairs and given 5 paragraphs each (different) • Students work independently and draw a picture based on one of the paragraphs • Students then have to guess each others picture and explain why they have drawn what they have drawn, allow students to see other paragraphs • Then students move to another pair and repeat
Post it! (Points) • Students write down several points on post its. • All the post its put on the whiteboard • Students then view group answers
Scenario • Students given a role e.g. Doctor and have to decide on the best strategy • Give students a range of options to discuss