18 Feb 2019
Cambridge programmes are best taught using an active learning approach. For Cambridge International, active learning means that learners take increasing responsibility for their learning, and that teachers are enablers and activators of learning, rather than lecturers or deliverers of ideas. Encouraging active learning helps students to achieve higher grades, based on their enhanced skills and understanding.
To learn more about how some of our schools approach active learning, we asked Sarnel Holloway, a Stage 3 teacher from Lonehill International Primary School in South Africa, to share her experiences in the classroom.
Tell us a little bit about your school and the level you teach?
'Lonehill International Academy’s inception was in January 2018. Classes are from stage 1 to stage 7 and there is a maximum of 20 students in a class. I teach stage 3.'
What does active learning mean to you?
'Active learning is based on the lesson being student centred and the teacher facilitates the learning process. Active learning engages students in learning, using activities such as reading, writing, discussion or problem solving, which promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content. Active learning also provides students with an opportunity to provide informal feedback in class, demonstrating their understanding.'
How do you implement it in your classroom and what do you think is unique about your approach?
'Students work in groups and are encouraged to discuss problem solving challenges and content with each other, or to refer to the flip board chart for information, before approaching the teacher for assistance.'
What have been the benefits of this approach to teaching?
'These activities allow student to think independently as well as feel that they are able to make a mistake and revisit the problem without judgement from an adult. Students become less afraid of taking on a challenge and are happy to share their outcomes with the class, thereby developing their ability to communicate their thoughts.'
What advice can you give to other teachers that would like to incorporate active learning techniques in the classroom?
'The best advice is to trust that your students are capable of reaching their potential by helping them find a good level of independence; students will be at different levels and some will require guidance. Avoid rote learning and encourage students to share their understanding of content being taught. Students become reflective of their work and are challenged by themselves to improve. This is further enhanced by holding a student led conference in term two.'
If you’re interested in finding out more about active learning, download the relevant ‘Education Brief’ or ‘Getting Started with’ guide in the Teaching Cambridge at your school section.