Buzz Group

A Buzz Group is a group of approximately 4 students used for brainstorming or discussing a specific question or problem. Buzz groups can be done in large auditoriums or regular classrooms with very little preparation. The main benefit of buzz groups is that you can rapidly create group configurations of four so that the students are immediately engaged in responding to questions or problems you present throughout the class. By simply calling out assigned lettering and numbering of rows, students can conveniently identify which group they belong to so they can begin dialoguing with each other quickly with minimal confusion or delay.

Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning is a teaching and learning method that allows students to practice learning through experience by engaging in authentic activities that replicate real-life situations or problems.

Fishbowl

The Fishbowl technique is another popular active learning technique that allows students to practice active listening and debate. It works like this: A group of volunteer students have a debate, do a roleplay or perform a specific task in front of the class while students on the periphery are tasked with listening to the debate and deciding which of the two sides was the most compelling and convincing. At the end of the session, the whole class comes together and a large group discussion follows as a way of summarising key points and findings.

Interactive Lecture

In an interactive lecture, students are given short periods of mini-presentations followed by breaks that can consist of individual or group activities including 1-min papers, problem sets, brainstorming sessions, or open discussion.

Jigsaw

Jigsaw is a peer teaching strategy in which groups of students work in teams to become experts in a single topic or concept, which they will then teach to their peers. First, students are organised into expert groups. Each group is assigned a different concept to learn or master so that they become the subject matter experts. In this example, you can see that there are four students working together to become experts on that single concept. They develop an understanding of the content together and might even create instructional materials. All this happens with the understanding that once they have mastered the content, they will be asked to teach it to other students in the class. Once they are confident enough to teach their peers, the students are organised into new groups, making sure that there is one student from each of the different “expert” groups. In these newly formed groups, each student takes turn teaching their peers the concepts they mastered in their expert groups. Finally, the students engage in a whole class discussion in order to respond to questions and complete the process by adding any missing information or addressing misinformation.

Mental Schemas

Mental schemas are the organizational structures we have of concepts, or how we make sense of information. The addition of new information leads to a disruption of existing schemas as previous assumptions and experiences are tested. The old schema makes way for change as new information becomes part of the existing schema.

Note Taking Pairs

Note Taking Pairs allows students to take turns sharing notes after lecture segments of approximately 10 to 15 minutes. In the first iteration, Student A shares their notes with Student B recapping the main ideas and important details from the lecture while Student B listens, compares notes, and helps to fill in any gaps. Once complete,  they return back to the lecture to receive more content. Next, the role between students is reversed. Student B presents their notes from the most recent segment of the lecture to Student A. This cycle continues until the end of the lecture. In this manner, students become the pedagogues, teaching each other and reviewing the content at the same time. Cycling through a process like this that combines lecturing as the passive delivery mode of information with collaboration and practice through summarization and explanation of notes, effectively combines the transmission of information with more engaging peer-to-peer interactions. This technique is especially good for large, first-year survey courses and is ideally suited to help students practice note-taking strategies. And, it does not require any advanced preparation and can be applied in nearly all disciplines.

Peer Instruction

Peer Instruction is a structured teaching practice that requires students to first engage with core course concepts then reinforce their own understanding of these concepts by teaching them to other students.

Problem-based Learning

Problem-based learning is an instructional and learning method that motivates students to focus on how and what they will learn through formulating questions, analyzing evidence, deriving conclusions, and reflecting on their learning.

Socratic Questioning Techniques

Socratic Questioning Techniques are a thoughtful questioning practice that requires students to examine ideas logically and determine the validity of those ideas.

Student-centered Learning

Also known as learner-centered education, Student-centered Learning is an instructional method that shifts the focus of instruction on the diverse learning needs of students rather than the need to push through content.

Think-Aloud-Pair-Problem Solving

Think-Aloud-Pair-Problem Solving is a technique that allows students to work in pairs using a turn-based approach. The instructor begins by presenting a problem or asking students to think of a problem they must solve. Taking turns, Student A presents the problem to their partner and explains their proposed solution and rationale based on theory and assumptions. Student B is tasked with active listening, responding at the end of the explanation with feedback and comments to validate the solution or address any errors or imprecisions. These roles are then reversed, so that Student B presents a new problem followed by the problem solving expression while Student A engages in active listening followed by feedback and comments in response.

Think-Pair-Share

Think-Pair-Share is an active learning technique that encourages peer-to-peer collaboration and opportunities for creating a greater sense of classroom community. Students are given a single question to briefly think about individually. They are then asked to share and discuss this question with a partner seated next to them. This paired discussion can then be followed by a full class discussion [share] so that the class can benefit from a wider range of answers and a more comprehensive exploration of the questions. This technique provides opportunities for clarifying misinformation and prompts critical reflection.

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Traditional Lecture

In a traditional lecture, an instructor presents information to students and focuses on the delivery of the course material. In this method, the instructor is more active and students are passive.