Active Learning Strategies (general)
In their book, “The Case for Constructivist Classrooms”, Brooks & Brooks (1993) provide a view of “constructivist” classrooms. They identify 12 ways that constructivist teachers build learning experiences for students. Constructivist teachers…
* encourage and accept student autonomy and initiative.
* use raw data and primary sources, along with manipulative, interactive and physical materials.
* use cognitive terminology such as “classify”, “analyze”, “predict”, and “create” when framing tasks.
* allow student responses to drive lessons, shift instructional strategies, and alter content.
* inquire about students’ understandings of concepts before sharing their own understandings of these concepts.
* encourage students to engage in dialogue, both with the teacher and with one another.
* encourage student inquiry by asking thoughtful, open-ended questions and encouraging students to ask questions of each other.
* seek elaboration of student’s initial responses.
* engage students in experiences that might engender contradictions to their initial hypotheses and then encourage discussion.
* allow wait time after posing questions.
* provide time for students to construct relationships and create metaphors.
* nurture students’ natural curiosity through frequent use of the learning cycle model (discovery, concept introduction and concept application).
Questions to consider when reviewing learning activities:
* Will the learning activities, collectively, lead learners to achieve the learning outcomes?
* Are there a variety of activities that allow multiple paths to meet the learning outcomes?
* Are the learning activities individualized to meet the needs and abilities of the learners?
* Do the learning activities engage students and promote active learning?