What is Active Learning and Why it is so Popular?

For thousands of years, we have changed and modified the way we teach children and in the 21st century, it is widely accepted that learning by doing offers optimum learning outcomes. This method of learning was pioneered by Rudolph Steiner, who discovered that children learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process.

Experiential Learning

This is the core concept for schools such as St Andrews, Dusit, Bangkok, where they deliver the British National Curriculum in an active way, using qualified UK teachers. Active learning is very different to the traditional ‘passive learning’ where the students sit in rows with a teacher next to the whiteboard and using active learning strategies means the teacher changing the role from being the instructor, to facilitating the learning process as a guide. Most schools that follow the learning by doing approach make good use of project-based learning, where the students choose a topic that they are interested in and work as a group to prepare a project that they will eventually present to the class.

Developing Critical Thinking Skills

Children should be encouraged to think outside the box and for many top international schools around the world, problem solving and analytical thinking are important aspects of learning. The traditional form of education is focused on students passing examinations by memorising information, whereas active learning gives the students other skills that they need for success in the modern world. Students should be encouraged to enquire and with the guidance of a professional teacher that understands how learning occurs, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills development are high on the list of priorities.

Essential Life Skills

One famous educator once noted that life doesn’t come at you in separate subjects, rather we need to integrate all the knowledge into reality and active learning is the best way to develop the essential life skills we need for success. Problem-solving, initiative and creativity are aspects that should be developed throughout a young person’s schooling and with a tried and tested curriculum and professional teachers, these skills are honed. Click here for further reading on how to choose a school for your child.

Learning Should be Fun

This is the very core of active learning and right from a very young age, children should enjoy the learning process and if this is nurtured throughout the schooling years, the students become very effective self-learners. It is a primary goal for an international school to nurture a life-long love of learning in all forms.

Project-Based Learning

The cornerstone of the active learning approach is project based learning; students are grouped given a list of topics from which to choose, then the group must decide in what format they will present their project, which might be computerised, read out to the class, or even in the form of drama and music. No limitations are put on the students with regard to how they present their findings, or indeed, the topic they wish to learn about. Here is some more information on the British National Curriculum.

If you are considering preschools to send your child to their first school, make sure that the institution is one that embraces active learning, as this will ensure that your child loves learning and that will motivate them throughout their formal education.