Imagine the following scenarios:
Which of these scenarios do you think best captures and holds the attention of your students?
A professor at the University of Texas, D.U. Silverthorn, conducted an experiment in her classroom. She found that her students’ level of attendance increased to 95% when she used a variety of interactive methods during her class.
The main objective of any interactive lecture is to engage students by offering them different ways to interact with the content material, and with their peers and their instructor. This gives them an opportunity to immediately apply what they have just learned, and it provides the instructor with immediate feedback on their level of understanding.
Interactive Lectures incorporate engagement triggers and well-timed breaks in the lecture, enabling students to practice what they understand using the lesson material.
Two examples of engagement triggers are “think-pair-share” and the “one-minute write.” Think-pair-share simply asks students to think about a posed question for a few minutes and share their ideas with a partner.
One-minute write asks students to think about a question for a minute and write down their thoughts, which can be shared out or collected later.
Capture their attention through visuals like photos, videos, live props or documentaries
Use brainstorming sessions to ignite their thinking process
Engage them in small groups to discuss amongst themselves
Implement experiments with discussions or simulations that help produce deeper thinking and more complex responses in them
Allow more opportunity for writing or other reflection exercises
There are many methods available to you! Selecting the appropriate activity and optimizing your pedagogy to include engagement triggers has been proven to help capture and maintain student attention.
Dr. Silverthorn further discovered that interactive approaches had a positive effect on students’ grades, increasing her classroom average from 72% to 93%.
One challenge you may face in the application of interactive lectures is pairing the right material and pacing for the lecture with breaks (which students need in order to reach the desired level of engagement).
Determining the right balance between the lecture and activities is key here. Don’t be afraid to experiment and refine your technique to get it right, you will!
When used smartly, these interactive learning techniques help the instructor meet their desired learning goals, while boosting student morale, participation, and overall performance.
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Interactivity in the classroom is a proven method and an essential element that increases young people’s motivation and learning.
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