Activities, activities, activities!

Having read Grant Wiggin’s recent blog post about the experiences of a teacher shadowing a student for two days, the thought that students are sitting down, and passive learners, for most of the day resonates, but it is sobering.

Meanwhile, secondary school teachers at CA recently shared their teacher learning goals. The Wordle that highlights the commonalities was affirming in that students are at the forefront.

Wordle: CA SS Teacher Learning Goals '14-'15The notion of “activities” proved to be a common thread amongst some teachers, and, as such, captured my interest.

Classroom “activities” per se have earned something of a bad name of late, in that activities that do not advance the learning of the students are seen as shallow and time wasters, even if they motivate the student and are “fun”.

So why have some of our teachers have decided to include “activities” in their lessons?

“Activities” provide opportunities for students to move around, interact with others, while the teacher is the passive observer.  These teachers have noticed increased focus in students, both prior to these “activities”, and after the students move to more sedentary learning situations.  Some teachers state that the ideal situation would be to change the type of learning every 20 minutes.  These activities may reinforce recent learning, interact with the concepts in a different way, or allow students to apply that learning.

After all, the word “activities” is the noun related to the adjective “active”.  Surely we want our classrooms full of “active” learners.  So, please remove “activities” from the dirty word list, and let’s see more “activities” in our classrooms.

About eadurkin

Originally a HS Mathematics teacher from New Zealand, currently working as Associate Principal in the Secondary School at Canadian Academy, an international school in Kobe, Japan. Married with two children.
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