What is an interactive classroom?

Monday, December 19th, 2011 | education

Boring, boring, boring!

It is the dream of every teacher to be in a classroom where learners respond and participate in the learning process.  Sadly, this is often just a dream.  Many teachers battle to grab the attention of learners, let alone getting them to interact during lessons.

An interactive classroom is one in which learners participate as equal partners in the learning process.  The teacher acts as a facilitator and guide, but the learners are enthusiastically playing their part in learning.  Apart from the fact that learner participation makes the teaching task more interesting for the teacher, research has shown that much more learning takes place in an interactive classroom than in a passive one.

What are the features of an interactive classroom?  It definitely is not a place where a teacher lectures and the children passively listen.  Learners do writing exercises, take part in class discussions and actively participate in solving problems.  An interactive classroom also requires that learners engage in higher-order thinking tasks, which include analysis of information, evaluation of the facts and a process of synthesis to build new knowledge.

Many teachers have acquired the skills to transform a dull classroom into an interactive one.  Different techniques exist to do this and where teachers apply these techniques the attitudes and achievements of learners are affected positively.

The key to a successful interactive classroom is in the hands of the teacher – it is not dependent on any fancy tools or equipment.  However, children are fascinated by technology.  They grow up in a world dominated by technology and they likely have cell phones or other mobile devices in their pockets.  The wise teacher makes use of technology to enhance the learning experience of their learners.  In this way technology enables an interactive classroom.

You can have learner interactivity in the classroom without technology … but if this goal is illusive, technology will help you to attain it.

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2 Comments to What is an interactive classroom?

Mark C
Monday, 19 December, 2011

I visited a good, ex-Model C school, to observe how an educator used her technology with the learners. I was surprised to see the lack of interaction between herself and her learners. She asked questions of course, but learners where either just listening or writing down what they need.

The lecture method works, but is very much limited to one-way talking. Thinking does take place, but true learning comes about during interaction/dynamic discussion. It shows what and how the learners understand what was taught. Misconceptions can be nipped in the bud or new/difficult concepts can be explored. ICT plays an important role here.

I immediately think of the current situation at CERN where they are feverishly looking for the Higgs-boson. This is not part of current schools syllabus, but some explanation and discussion can stimulate further study. Bringing the various videos, blogs and pictures into the classroom via the biggest library in the world,the internet, is much mreo stimulating than one textbook.

Listening to the radio today, a remark was made that more people were referring to their phones for information. Texting, Tweeting, Facebooking, blogging, microblogging or just using Wikipedia to look up something they would like to know. It will be a mistake to ignore ICT in schools and to use it to good effect. Education is more than just a syllabus, it is….

Monday, 19 December, 2011

Even primary school children have cell phones these days. Kids no longer use dictionaries, calculators and watches – they simply pull out their phones! If we adults are struggling to use this technology for learning in the classroom, then we should ask the learners for ideas – they are SO eager to for us to enter their world.

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