Inspiring Active Learning for Students

I spent more than two years in the Kingdom of Tonga, a group of islands in the South Pacific, helping administrators and teachers to inspire students to become more active learners in their own learning processes.

The idea was to have students depart from being bored passive learners, and to become more involved in/on their own learning pathways. As students found learning more meaningful, they enjoyed learning more, and perhaps became more involved in planning their own future. They might even learn to love learning and become life-long learners, an asset in today’s world.

Administrators and teachers (and students) found that switching from the British lecture model to active student involvement in their own learning, not to mention cooperative efforts to help each other along their learning pathways, created chaotic conditions in the classroom. At first.

As time went on, and teachers and students persevered in the new cooperative model, they all began to enjoy learning/facilitating more than the old style of “one-way” instruction or lecturing (and forgetting).

Over time, as the students and teachers enjoyed themselves more and felt more competent in using the “new way of doing things” in the classroom, student achievement went up. In-school test scores rose and external examinations scores climbed as well, making the classroom success a public accomplishment, not just a private satisfaction to the students and teachers (and administrators).

The overall success rates in the school went up, and the failure rates fell. An initial failure rate of 88% was reversed to a success rate of 88%. This was astounding to administrators, teachers, students and parents, and the success tended to reinforce itself with each passing year.

More importantly, student and teacher satisfaction with the educational processes (learning how to learn, not just what to learn) climbed, and the processes became even more meaningful to both the participants and the “onlookers” in the community, and even overseas in New Zealand, where the initial versions of the external examinations were created. – Doc Meek, South Jordan

2 Responses to “Inspiring Active Learning for Students”

  • I think the idea of active learning is such a good idea. I was in college before I had a teacher that applied this idea. I remember it was an English class and we explored the song “McArthur’s Park” and looked at the symbolism of how the park at sunset looked like the melting of icing on the cake. I became an active participant in the class instead of just taking notes and parroting the information back on a test. It started me on a path of exploring and learning that continues today.

    Good ideas here.

  • “Active” learning is what is missing in schools. The world needs more teachers who are willing to “actively learn” themselves so they can transfer that skill on to their students. Thank you, Doc, for sharing your wisdom here.

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September 2020
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