2.3 Incorporating active learning in your class to get to open pedagogy
Figure 5. Picture of Albert Einstein during a Public Lecture in Vienna in 1921
Albert Einstein during a public lecture in Vienna in 1921, F. Schmutzer. Public domain.
As Albert Einstein once commented, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of minds to think.” Educators must teach students to be independent learners and nurture critical thinking, writing, and listening. Students must always be actively involved in their education for education to become catalytic in students’ lives.
Incorporating active learning in our classrooms is a key step in training students to be independent learners and to approach their subject critically. Teaching in the old-fashioned way where the instructor is the center of attention is arguably not going to help students succeed in an interconnected, fast-paced society that puts a premium on self-direction and out-of-the-box thinking.
Instructors need to explain to students from the beginning of the class the meaning of student-centered classrooms and active learning, as well as state the same in the syllabus. Being explicit up front with your students will set up their expectations from the class and the instructor.
Some of your students may be shocked at first and reject this new kind of learning. Be patient and engage your class from the beginning of the semester with active learning group activities with minimal instructor supervision and, where possible, real-life applications, such as Think-Pair-Share, Role Playing, Peer Review, Just-in-Time Teaching and Jigsaw, among others. Students must create everything by themselves in a group setting, using open materials where possible. Once students finish their activity, they will be asked to share their work amongst themselves and present it in front of the classroom. At the end of each activity, students will be asked to license their work to share with the community as discussed above.
By Katuska Campana