Teaching, and the relay of information in general, is hard enough in the best of times. Students learn differently from one another, and what works for one individual may not work for another.
Throw in the stress caused by global pandemics and lockdowns, and navigating the learning environment has become more difficult than ever, for everyone involved.
How then can instructors ensure that their students are successfully retaining information?
The answer lies with active learning: keeping students continuously engaged during class time, as opposed to letting them learn passively.
Fortunately, there are a variety of active learning strategies you can employ to maximize student success during these turbulent times. Here are 5 of them!
Even the most diligent students can lose interest if instruction becomes too monotonous.
Whether students are playing a game, lining up, or even just walking around, the idea behind movement-based activities is to keep the atmosphere exciting by getting them out of their seats.
FlagHouse offers several path related classroom products, all of which encourage students to move around and have fun.
Floor tiles can also double as effective social distancing markers, promoting sensory path stimulation, while also encouraging students to not get too close to one another.
Regardless of age, students must communicate with others throughout the learning process. Group discussions and partner work should consistently be encouraged, as should speaking opportunities in general.
Games are also a great way to facilitate communication between students, particularly for younger learners. As long as the game is fun and gets student chatting, the framework is unimportant.
Flashcard based games can be especially effective for the development of early language skills and can get students started on the path to active learning.
A tried-and-true active learning strategy, students retain much more information when writing it down. Yet instead of just having them take notes, try shaking the classtime monotony up.
UC Berkley recommends beginning class with a 5-minute quick write. This can be used to check homework, comprehension, or even just garner interest for the topic of the day. It's also a great way to get those creative juices flowing!
Similarly, students can also be required to pass an end of class "check", where they take a flashcard and respond to a lesson related question.
No incomplete answers allowed!
After learning, students need some time to process and reflect on information.
This can be facilitated through a variety of learning activities. For example, instead of having students explain what they know, have them write about a point they don't understand. Michigan State University calls this the "Muddiest Point".
Likewise, paraphrasing material into students' own words can also be a sound strategy to synthesize information.
After class, everyone should leave the room feeling more confident than before.
To actively learn, students need to feel comfortable and safe. This is particularly true for those with special needs.
Cooperative games are one way to encourage students to work with one another, while also improving their social-emotional skills in the process. Games such as My Feelings are therapist endorsed and help students learn how to properly express their emotions.
Students will also improve their teamwork abilities!
Regardless of which active learning strategies you employ, learners of all ages should be treated with patience, particularly amidst the uncertainty currently facing the world.
Children are especially vulnerable to turbulence, and therefore need to feel as secure as possible. After all, children are the future, and how we go about educating them affects us all.
Check out FlagHouse's full range of products, and get your students started on a fun and safe path to success.