Involve me and I will learn

Michael Gonzalez
What is active learning? Active learning is a process whereby students “engage” in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, and problem solving that promotes analysis and evaluation of class content. Example of active learning is where the teacher is a facilitator rather than a one-way provider of information to their students. Other examples of active learning are role-playing techniques, group projects, debates, and short demonstrations by the students followed by class discussion.

In the Middle School, we have many examples of active learning. Project Empathy, Student Led Conferences, Rocketry, Robotics, classroom projects, labs, and presentations. Our students engage with the materials, ideas, participation in class, and collaboration with each other and the teachers. The key to a successful active learning strategy is to have the students “actively engaged” in the process.

In the Middle School Student Led Conference process, the students utilize hands on learning and engagement in order to help direct his or her own education. Unlike at traditional parent/ teacher conference model where a teacher explains a student’s strengths and weaknesses to the parent without the student present, in Student Led Conferences the student must explain to his or her parent and teacher their path of their own educational journey. The advisors only instruction to the student is to be honest with themselves when they analyze their own journey. After the student has done a complete learning style, personality profile, and educational self-evaluation, the end result is to then deliver his or her findings to their parents. The outcome now gives the student an interactive connection with their parents, allows them to assume their own educational responsibility, and become accountable, as well as enhance oral presentation and communication skills. Most importantly, it gives the students an empowered sense of controlling the direction of their own learning. After two years of conducting Student Led Conferences, we have found our students to be significantly more engaged with their teachers and parents resulting in higher confidence levels entering high school.

The advisors only instruction to the student is to be honest with themselves when they analyze their own journey. After the student has done a complete learning style, personality profile, and educational self-evaluation, the end result is to then deliver his or her findings to their parents. The outcome now gives the student an interactive connection with their parents, allows them to assume their own educational responsibility, and become accountable, as well as enhance oral presentation and communication skills. Most importantly, it gives the students an empowered sense of controlling the direction of their own learning. After two years of conducting Student Led Conferences, we have found our students to be significantly more engaged with their teachers and parents resulting in higher confidence levels entering high school.

Benjamin Franklin was very clairvoyant 265 years ago about active learning; “Involve me and I will learn.” When teachers invite their students to actively participate in the learning process, the student takes more responsibility and accountability for their performance in the course. We have found in Student Led Conferences and other active learning experiences, that by involving students in classroom activities, it requires them to assess their understanding and skills of the subject, rather than allowing students to rest comfortably with surface knowledge, active learning forces the students to develop a deeper understanding of the material and their own learning process.
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All Saints’ Episcopal School is a leading college preparatory day school in Fort Worth, Texas. Grounded in the Episcopal school tradition, All Saints’ offers programming of national distinction in the academic, fine art, athletic and spiritual disciplines, which brings to life our philosophy of promoting each student’s individual genius within.
All Saints’ Episcopal School © 2013
9700 Saints Circle, Fort Worth, Texas 76108 Phone: 817-560-5700