Facilitating in Active Learning

“Active learning requires students to think, discuss, challenge, and analyze information.  Passive learning requires learners to absorb, assimilate, consider, and translate information. Active learning encourages conversation and debate, while passive learning encourages active listening and paying attention to detail.”

–  Khristina Russell

Be a Facilitator
In passive learning (reading and listening) the students are responsible for taking in and comprehending everything that is given to them.  

Sometimes the teacher needs to take a step back from “giving” the students all the information.   Students are not simply computers waiting for commands to be input.

Help students discover answers and improve their skills by being a facilitator and subtly guide activities through tasks that generate active participation and critical thinking skills rather than lecture.  

Active VS Passive Learning (Bath & Bourke, 2010: 25, International Journal of Languages’ Education and Teaching. 6. 163-170)

Active Learning activities can include:

  • projects
  • perspective role-playing
  • game based learning
  • role-playing with character cards (Mystery – Murder Mystery games)
  • survey tasks (disguising them as games helps)
  • real world problem solving

One of the best ways to improve Language Acquisition is to do things that involve talking to people in a more relaxed environment.    Getting students talking while focusing less on their language skills and more on communication and conveying their ideas is a great foundation.   To improve language acquisition use activities that get students out of their comfort zone (silence) and actively speaking.  Make speaking their new comfort zone by encouraging them to communicate and not worry about speaking perfectly.

Some Other Ideas for Adapting Boring Book Exercises into Active Learning are:

  • Turn gap fill exercises into a treasure hunt
  • Turn surveys into a bingo game
  • Turn vocabulary study into a number of activities
  • Do group projects where they need to communicate
  • Projects
  • Team Project Example: Create Which way adventure/ Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Story
  • Station Rotation
  • Get your students moving
  • Perspective role-playing
  • Role-playing with character cards (Mystery – Murder Mystery games)
  • Survey tasks (disguising them as games helps)
  • Real world problem solving
  • Game based learning

Example Activity

Perspective role-playing: look at the topic/situation from the perspective of a
character, who will affect or be affected by the topic.
(Example: the hamster’s view vs. the elephant’s point of view in a situation)

Reflection: Active Speaking in My Classroom

  • Are there follow-up questions in your speaking activity?
  • Are there  prompts to keep the conversation going and for
    students to give detailed answers?
  • Are learners actively doing something?
    Students like something active to do rather than just following the book.  
    Even in ‘Read – Aloud’ activities!
  • Does one task lead into the next creating a smooth flow?

Russell, K. (2021, June 2). Active vs. passive learning: What’s the difference? Graduate Programs for Educators. Retrieved from https://www.graduateprogram.org/2021/06/active-vs-passive-learning-whats-the-difference/#:~:text=Active%20learning%20requires%20students%20to,and%20paying%20attention%20to%20detail.

Active VS Passive Learning (Bath & Bourke, 2010: 25, International Journal of Languages’ Education and Teaching. 6. 163-170) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324220970_Blended_Learning_Improving_Student’s_Motivation_in_English_Teaching_Learning_Process

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