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Teaching Tactics that Encourage Active Learning

Use the following tactics during class to ensure that students are actively engaged in thinking about the content. Students should be called on randomly (using the deck of cards method for instance) so that everyone participates. When students do not know when they will be called on they are much more likely to remain alert and engaged in the learning process. Students should be routinely called upon to:

  1. Summarize or put into their own words what the teacher or another student has said.


  2. Elaborate on what they have said.


  3. Relate the issue or content to their own knowledge and experience.


  4. Give examples to clarify or support what they have said.


  5. Make connections between related concepts.


  6. Restate the instructions or assignment in their own words.


  7. State the question at issue.


  8. Describe to what extent their point of view on the issue is different from or similar to the point of view of the instructor, other students, the author, etc.


  9. Take a few minutes to write down any of the above.


  10. Write down the most pressing question on their mind at this point. The instructor then uses the above tactics to help students reason through the questions.


  11. Discuss any of the above with a partner and then participate in a group discussion facilitated by the instructor.

Tactics that Encourage Active Learning
{In Critical Thinking Handbook: Basic Theory and Instructional Structures}

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