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Interactive Learning: Yes or No?
January 27, 2023
While a push in education is to incorporate more interactive learning at school, is it a good idea for all classes?
According to 51 students surveyed on the Fluco Journalism Instagram page, 25% believed that interactive learning is most beneficial for them. Approximately 65% preferred a mixture of interactive and traditional teaching (e.g., lectures and worksheets), while only 10% preferred a 90-minute, traditional teaching block.
Interactive learning isn’t just playing games or goofing off in class; it is a way of learning that encourages independent study. Examples of interactive learning can be ice breakers, problem-based learning, debates, think-pair-share activities, and group projects. According to Baylor University, studies “consistently find that interactive methods correlate with positive student outcomes, such as higher rates of attention, interest in subject matter, and satisfaction.” They also suggest that “Interactive classrooms also perform better on measures of student learning.”
Younger students may especially benefit from this new trend in learning. “We should have more interactive learning because it is nice to get up and move around. Going outside and just moving would be really good for everyone, rather than sitting in a seat for 90 minutes,” said freshman Margeaux Cantagallo.
Teachers have different opinions on interactive learning, often depending on what subject they teach. “I am a fan of interactive learning. Many students enjoy hands-on activities and it enhances their learning. I believe that when students interact during learning they are more likely to remember the information being taught,” said ESL teacher Jennifer Payne.
Yet while this type of learning has its strengths, it is not a one-size-fits-all answer for all the classes, subjects, or grades. For example, while teaching 8th graders through tools like Kahoot can really engage students, it may be less appropriate for AP classes which are preparing students for the rigors of college courses. “I think that interactive learning works some of the time and can be an interesting way to learn new things. I do not think a generalized statement can be made on further incorporation of interactive learning since it does not suit everyone. It simply depends on the students,” said senior Abigail Adams.
AP Government teacher Mitchell Pace agrees that interactive learning has its place, but is not appropriate for all situations. “While interactive learning can be effective and has an obvious place in modern classrooms, the current education system demands other skills as well. At higher levels of learning, students are required to listen, take notes, focus on source materials, and think critically about the information they’ve received, and then produce their own understanding of that material,” he said.
Pace also noted that many forms of conventional interactive learning remove several elements of those demands and do not help the students develop the necessary skills needed at the next level. “Honestly, a healthy mix of teaching strategies is the best plan in my opinion,” he said.
For those topics or classes which could benefit from interactive learning, what are some ways to introduce it in the classroom? “A teacher could assign games that incorporate the lesson into everyday circumstances. For those who are more lecture-centered, we could use more PowerPoint presentations, or something of the like, while teachers discuss the implications of what is being presented,” said Adams.
Sophomore Savannah Morris said she likes to do experiments in science classes. “I feel like I learn a lot from getting up and moving around,” she said. Senior Asiana Hawkins agrees that interactive learning helps her too. “I feel like I have learned a lot from interactive activities because it makes it so I can’t fall asleep in class and I actually enjoy going to class,” she said.