Remember when you first started to learn how to ride a bike? It was a little scary and you failed a lot on your first few tries. Well, dad got your training wheels, and you went into it getting somewhat braver. After some time, dad removed the trainers and started to hold the back of your seat for extra balance and security. Next step, dad let go and you are on your way! Well, learning anything is really the same as riding a bike. We need courage, patience, determination, and a dose of guidance.
The keys to active learning
The key to successful achievement is active learning, being highly involved in the task at hand; whether it be to solve a problem, write an essay, perform an experiment, or give a presentation. The teachers at Oak Hill Academy, the best private school in Monmouth County, have been hard at work putting their students at the center of the learning process. They have been organizing instruction around concepts, not facts. There is no need to memorize useless material since information is at our fingertips.
By encouraging “doing” in class and then applying critical thought and reflection, the pathway to deep understanding is established. The brain is a goal-seeking device and if a problem, skill, or idea is presented as a challenge, the mind is activated. Oak Hill teachers know that classroom time is better-spent giving students the opportunities to work on concepts repeatedly in a variety of ways with opportunities for immediate feedback. With student action, a growth mindset is established that minimizes failure as a temporary setback, leading the way for greater insight and reflection.
Today teachers have wonderful digital tools, which enables students through the use of technology to extend their world. Used properly technology can clarify, add depth, and ignite student thinking.
How do students benefit?
Active learning also permits students to learn with others as they discuss and debate issues. The Socratic Method also allows learners to challenge theory and formulate new ideas. This sets the stage for students to be problem finders as well as problem solvers. Oak Hill teachers know that today’s world presents an exciting backdrop for true student insight, discovery, and reflection. Their curriculum plans are designed to have students actively involved in doing things and thinking about the things they are doing. The teacher is no longer the source of information, but the facilitator who designs lessons that feature open-ended essential questions, which opens the doors for the learner’s imagination, creativity, critical thinking, and action. This approach is both exciting and rewarding with the result being well prepared children and teens.