This ancient Chinese proverb reinforces the need for learning to be active and creative. Here are some top tips from our Outstanding Lessons courses, which can be implemented right away and ensure that there is active and creative learning in every one of your lessons.
1. Class discussions
Discussions can give learners a chance to participate in their own learning and remember that “wrong” answers can promote the best discussions and should be encouraged!
2. Think, pair and share
Present an idea, problem or question to the class and ask learners to think it through on their own, then discuss in pairs, and then share their ideas with the class or group.
3. Round Robin activities
Divide learners into small groups of three or four and ask them to pass around a piece of paper in which they each write down facts or information on a prescribed topic. This could be for over specific time frame, or until a certain number of facts are created. This allows students to share knowledge with each other in a non-threatening way.
Encourage learners to visually represent their knowledge, using modern variations on traditional spider diagrams. Some great free online tools for creating infographics can be found here.
5. “The Chat Show”
Let learners interview an historical figure or a character from a recently read book using the format of a chat show with interviewers, “guest stars” and questions from the “audience”.
6. Create a story
Learners sit in a circle and one begins with a story prompt. Each student in the circle adds to the story. This activity encourages collaboration and can also be used to recreate event timelines or exchange facts.
7. Create a website
Have learners design a simple page or a few pages that incorporate stories, pictures, interviews, or role plays about the lesson or topic. There are some great free resources for creating classroom webpages or blogs available here.
8. Games, quizzes and interactive contests.
Games, quizzes and interactive contests work amazingly at engaging and motivating learners. They are particularly well suited to boys’ learning styles and lower ability learners. This short video clip contains some great examples of games and quizzes you can use in your lessons.
9. For me…
Just before the end of a lesson, ask learners to reflect and share what — “for them” — was the most important learning point of the lesson and what was the most difficult idea to understand.
10. Your ticket out
At the end of the lesson ask learners to complete an “exit ticket” to their next lesson to stimulate thinking and conversation — have learners consider and complete sentences such as:
If you’re interested in including more creativity and activity into your lessons why not see if one of our “Outstanding Lessons” courses is right for you, click here to see our full list.
We are also offering fully funded 2 day training programmes supported by the British Council for state-funded and non-maintained institutions, in Core Skills such as Creativity and Imagination. To see the full range of courses in the Connecting Classrooms portfolio, click here.
Steve is an experienced lecturer who has spent more than 25 years supporting high quality learning in schools. Originally a music teacher, he rose swiftly to become head of Performing Arts faculty and later held senior management positions in three contrasting schools including time as a Head Teacher of an inner city comprehensive school. Steve has a breadth of experience in training and consultancy delivering training, coaching to Masters level and authoring training materials. He has a particular specialism in leadership and management, the effective use of data, supporting positive behaviour; and Music and Performing Arts in the classroom. Steve is currently leading a team of writers and trainers in establishing a new curriculum for the country of Kazakhstan.