Saturday, May 12, 2012

What are the Benefits of Active Learning?


I believe in being more of a facilitator or guide-on-the-side than a lecturer, allowing students to listen, speak and learn from one another. This active learning approach is critical in multicultural settings because students come to the classroom with varied learning styles, perspectives and background knowledge and through active learning and dialogue, enables the teacher to create a classroom with culturally contextualized students. I believe in the student centered classroom where active learning creates more cooperative environments that lead to more questioning and learning.
               
Active learning can be described as “any instructional method that engages students in the learning process”. It requires students to “do meaningful activities and to think about what they are doing”. 

Some benefits to utilizing this strategy in the classroom are:
  • Leads to better student attitudes and self esteem
  • Improves critical thinking skills
  • Connects material in a real-life context
  • Creates a sense of community through student-student interaction
  • Allows for reflection and time to process information
  • Supports a multi-sensory approach with data to better meet the needs of the diverse group
  • Teacher and student are more “partners” in the learning and can build on each others knowledge
  • Feedback is more consistent so curriculum can be adjusted and the class improved
  • Encourages innovation by allowing students to tailor projects and activities using their individual  strengths
Active learning is also a powerful tool in teaching and learning a second language.  For instance, active learning supports meta-cognition in the following ways:
  1.  Involves students in thinking about what they are doing
  2.  Exposes students to a variety of methods of learning
  3.  Utilizes more than one strategy for learning thus improving the learning process

References:
Beloff-Farrell, Jill. (2010). Active learning: Theories and research. Retrieved December 31, 2011 from http://www.lookstein.org/online_journal.php?id=260
Benefits of Active and Cooperative Learning. Retrieved December 30, 2011 from http://www.mtsu.edu/ltanditc/docs/Benefits_of_Active_Learning.doc
Bonwell, Charles & Eison, James.  Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom. Retrieved December 31, 2011 from http://www.ntlf.com/html/lib/bib/91-9dig.htm
Prince, Michael (2004). Does active learning work: A review of the research. Retrieved December 30, 2011 from http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Papers/Prince_AL.pdf