Importance of active learning in today’s world
Today’s children need to learn skills that prepare them for the modern world. As much as they want to know about how, why and what of everything, these learner also need an opportunity to develop their personalities, be able to work in a social community, be a team player, learn to be patient, show empathy, develop respect, problem solve, make better choices, control emotions and most importantly learn to find joy.
Active learning enforces all these characteristics in a person from a very young age. As the name suggests, active learning is learning that allows engagement, physically, mentally as well as emotionally. It is a multi-sensorial and holistic approach to understanding a topic. Through active learning, students engage with their subject as groups, in pairs or partnerships and in certain cases also through individual tasks.
Active learning classrooms are set up with multiple different work centres, learning resources, more than one teacher who are actively participating with the students, rather than passively watching as the students do their assignments.
Let’s say our students are learning about the pronunciation of alphabets, in a passively run classroom, students would merely be introduced to the sound by the teacher on the board and made to memorize it. Through active learning however, the students would be taught the application of the pronunciation, for example their fellow students names. Not only does this give students context of the alphabet and pronunciation, but also teaches them learn the importance of knowing each other’s names. While this may not seem important to us as adults, it is extremely essential in teaching pre-primary students the importance of socialization.
Additionally students would also be given different activities in connection to the alphabet, such as learning about a fruit which begins with the same alphabet, or learning to draw out the alphabet in a tray of sand. By giving them the fruit you are engaging their senses of sight, taste and smell, and the tray of sand engages their fine motor development.
The most important lesson of all comes in situations where students are made to wait their turn for the class resource. Young kids lack patience and are quick to seek gratification. By being made to wait for the classroom resource they are indirectly taught to learn patience, and problem solving – how will they best utilize their time while waiting.
Thus active learning can teach students to explore, share, wait for their turns, make choices, differentiate between work and play, work in groups, use imagination, patience and develop social behaviour along with grace and courtesy.
The curriculum is designed to address all domains of a child’s learning and development; social, emotional, coginitive, physical, language, and literacy. This whole rounded approach to teaching and learning is what our students require to develop into well rounded global citizens, who can effectively guide their way through life.
(Author Rohan Parikh is Director, The Green Acres Academy. Views expressed here are personal.)