Archer (2023) suggests four ways of ensuring students are actively involved in the learning process:
Request frequent responses from students
- Increased student responses = increased on task behaviour AND Increased academic learning (due to information rehearsal).
- For each minute, provide 3-5 opportunities for simple responses and 1 opportunity for more complex responses.
EXAMPLES: Choral responses, gestures, holding up response cards, sharing with a partner.
Require overt responses – saying, writing, doing
- Enables real-time monitoring and checking of student learning.
- affirmative or corrective feedback can be provided immediately.
- Appropriate adjustments can be made to the lesson as required
EXAMPLES: Write a one-word response/answer on a mini-whiteboard, read then add one sentence to a sheet or poster, turn and tell your partner what you have learned, copy a particular action/model.
Involve all students
- Needs to be used in conjunction with explicit instruction, appropriate scaffolding and a safe environment in which students can make mistakes without negative consequences.
- Have a ‘no-hands up’ policy, as in students do NOT raise their hands to answer questions (with the exception of requesting assistance, clarification or elaboration).
- Instead have all students respond (see examples in points 1 & 2).
Structure the active participation procedure
- Explicitly teach students the ‘participation procedure’ before implementing.
- Requires intentional, structured, planned and consistent usage.
- Use a hand signal or key word as a signal so everyone responds together.
- Designate students in each pair to be 1 or 2, or A or B, or Blue or Red.
- Direct what each person will do on a given signal – 1s give your response. On a second signal, students stop and then further instructions are provided – 2s say if you agree or disagree and why.
- Have students first write a response (this could be key words on a mini-white board) or a paragraph response.
- Students share response with partner.
- Select students to share with the class. Record responses and encourage subsequent students to add further information and to try to avoid re-contributing points that have already been presented.
- Students respond by making a hand signal (thumbs up=agree, thumbs down=disagree, thumbs sideways=not sure), hold up fingers 1-4 to indicate answer for a multi-choice question, write a one word response on a mini whiteboard, hold up prepared card (e.g., true/false, noun/verb).
- Give students thinking time and use a signal so everyone responds at the same time to avoid copying.
Archer, A. (2023). Learning is not a spectator sport: Essentials of active participation. The Bulletin, 59, 2-3