Many parents have heard the terms ‘active learning’ or ‘learning by doing’, yet they are not fully aware of what that means, and in this article, we hope to define active learning and help the reader to gain a deeper understanding of this style of learning.
What is Active Learning?
As the name suggests, this style of learning is centered around the child and their interests, plus the learner takes an active role in the classroom, rather than sitting in rows and being instructed by the teacher. Passive learning is more teacher focused and relies heavily on the student’s ability to retain information, which is fine for passing exams but does little to develop critical thinking, whereas a proactive approach helps the students to develop a deeper understanding, while also allowing them to gain some real hands-on experience.
Critical Thinking Skills
These are paramount for a young person to excel, which begins as early as kindergarten, and the goal of an international primary school in Bangkok would be to develop critical thinking and analytical skills through an active learning approach that follows student interests. These traits cannot be taught as such, rather they come with constant hands-on learning, which happens to be a lot more interesting than following a teacher and the whiteboard.
The earlier a child is encouraged to use their imagination, the better, which is evident in early learning programs, when a teacher is telling the children a story, then pauses, asking the students what they think might happen as the story unfolds. The teacher uses this opportunity to ask the children to imagine, and every opinion is valued, no matter how uniquely different it might be, and this will encourage the children to use their imagination.
Sourcing Active Learning Programs
If you would like your child to learn in a hands-on environment, check out a school’s website, paying particular attention to their beliefs and values regarding education. Every school should have a vision and mission statement, and this will help you to gain a deeper understanding of how they perceive education. Active learning should begin at the earliest opportunity, which would be nursery or kindergarten, and if you can find a local K-12 school that believes in active learning, your child will not have to change schools and can focus on a single curriculum.
If your child is taking an active role in their education, they will develop in all the right areas and this will give them many benefits as they move through the twelve years of formal education.