Active Learning


There are many questions raised about the quality of the education children receive in Egypt. The Egyptian student is more likely to be taught by the traditional methods where most class time is spent with the teacher or professor lecturing and the students watching and listening.

Teachers rely mainly on textbooks, and depend on memorization and recitation techniques; thereby, there are no means to develop the students’ critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making skills.

This traditional approach is also called passive learning, where students passively receive information from the instructor. Students must do more than just sit and listen; they must read, write, discuss, or get engaged in solving problems. Research suggests that students’ attention in classes and lectures starts to wane every 10–20 minutes; incorporating different modern techniques once or twice during a 50-minute class will encourage student engagement.

In contrary to traditional methods, active learning is an instructional method that engages students in learning and focuses the responsibility of learning on the learners. Active learning strategies can be integrated into any classroom setting easily; they can be as short as a few minutes long. Teachers have to increase the amount of active learning in class; not only will this keep students engaged during the sessions, but will also help students retain information with greater ease and more success.

There are many easy ways to promote active learning; the teacher can pause frequently during the session and ask the students different questions about what was said in the previous 35 minutes. This will promote a higher order thinking through a successful discussion. The class can be divided into pairs or small groups to brainstorm ideas using mind maps where students can stimulate each other’s thought processes and think out of the box. Students are encouraged to build charts, flow charts, and models as contexts for extending their understanding of key course-specific concepts.

Active learning encourages effective collaboration between students; the instructor can provide either real or imaginary contexts along with a range of relevant characters/roles that the students can research then improvise dramatic interactions among their classmates. Peer review can be used for students to evaluate each other’s work; using this technique can improve the quality of their writing through learning from their classmates’ mistakes and ideas. Game-based learning can also be effective; educational games, mysteries, simple puzzles, and riddles make learning fun where students have fun and learn at the same time.

Learning is a lifelong and natural process. When offered multiple opportunities to actively engage and interact with objects, participate in social activities, and reflect on their discoveries, students learn much more. Active learning turns students into successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, and effective contributors.


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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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