Interacting With New Methods

VICKY LAM

Staff Writer

It has become customary for teachers everywhere to adopt a certain way of teaching. The most common form is the lecture. This teaching format that transcends through time and is still very much practiced today may not be as effective as some may think.
Students are not learning to their fullest potential. An experiment conducted by Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education analyzed 225 studies of student performances under active learning and under the traditional lecturing method. The active learning study involved discussions with each student, small group activities, simple synthesis and reflections, and overall interactivity between students and teacher. Test scores within the interactive learning group rose six percent higher than those who received only lectures. The meta analysis even showed an improvement of students’ understanding of conceptual ideas rather than basic, concrete ones.
The conclusion of the study is compelling in the sense that students cannot merely sit and listen. At most, information enters in through one ear and exits out the other. Psychologist Peter Killeen from Harvard University emphasizes that humans naturally have their minds wander off when doing one thing continuously, especially if attention is not fully honed in. In the classroom setting, droning on and on with the same topic eventually tires the brain out no matter how focused one may be. Direct involvement turns students’ focus toward learning instead of wearing them out.
The current younger generation is socially dominant, suggests the American Press Institute. This is thanks to social media and the Internet, giving them copious amounts of interactivity with others. Young students seek to remain socially self-sufficient instead of having their voices shut out from a conversation. Teachers should incorporate more lessons that allow students to interact with one other. Futhermore, genuine discussion between a student and teacher may actually motivate students more toward educational success.
Lectures are traditionally a convenient teaching method. While passionate lecturers may be able to drill knowledge into students, it must be considered that this method is not always reliable. As times change, learning changes as well. Students must break through the passive barrier of learning and strive for active learning.

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