7 discoveries from an active learning classroom

There is a fair amount of research into the impact of classroom design on student learning. Spaces flooded with natural light that allow for a variety of learning methods and activities, and spaces that let students feel a sense of ownership over the classroom, demonstrably affect how well students learn.

Active learning applies a similar principle, including minimizing institutional barriers like teacher lecterns, fixed and stagnant furniture, and limited student exposure to real-world experiences. Through active learning, the teacher gradually releases control to the students, encouraging them to become independent learners.

Four years ago, I became an inaugural recipient of a Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grant. The renovated classroom and colorful mobile chairs and desks provided by the grant have literally transformed my practice, my seventh-grade language arts students, and their families. Test scores, homework completion, and grades have soared and parents who had never visited their student’s classroom now volunteer regularly. My research in our active learning classroom (ALC) over the past three years led me to discover seven elements critical to student success.…Read More