As we continue to study the human mind, we have found that everyone learns differently. Some people can sit in a lecture hall and just absorb the information from the speaker. Others may have to read the information themselves. Still others may have to actually do the process before they fully understand. This is where active learning comes in.
Traditionally, schools were one teacher standing at the front of the classroom reading or speaking on a certain topic. Students were expected to sit and listen and possibly take notes. However, it was then realized that some students were falling through the cracks with this system. While plenty smart enough, some were barely passing, if passing at all. In an effort to get all children educated, teachers started looking at alternative methods to get their lessons across. Active learning was born.
There are several ways of incorporating active learning into the classroom. First is to have the student self-evaluate. This can mean keeping a journal of the thoughts a student is having on a certain topic and how they are learning about it and how this affects their own life. This can be expanded to discussion with others. In small groups, students can discuss and compare their own points of view on the topic. Observing is the third way to incorporate active learning in the classroom. Students make direct observations of other people performing the task or living in that situation. Lastly is doing – having the student actually do the task. As an example, this can be done in the form of practicing a new skill or conducting an experiment. It is most effective to use a combination of these methods in order to reach more students.
Active learning has vastly improved how well information is absorbed. As it continues to be studied, we can get more children educated in methods that they understand.