Active Learning: Make lectures active

Strategies for breaking up lectures

Here are just a few ways to change-up lectures and get learners active:

  • Write a Question – Instead of just saying, “Are there any questions?”, ask all of your students to spend a minute or two reflecting on the lecture thus far and writing down one or two questions on paper.
  • Think-Pair-Share – After posing a sufficiently difficult question, instead of asking for volunteers to answer the question, have students think about the question silently for a minute. Then have them pair up and discuss the question with their partners. Then ask for students to share their perspectives with the whole class.
  • Finding Illustrative Quotations – Ask students to reread the text for the day to find quotations that support particular arguments. You might have all students address the same argument or different students look at different arguments.
  • Brainstorming – As a segue to a new topic, have students share any thought, idea, story, etc. that occurs to them in relation to the new topic. Record these ideas at the board without analyzing them. After the ideas have been surfaced, then move on to more critical discussion.
  • Practice Homework Problems – After lecturing on a particular type of problem, give students a problem to work at their seats that resembles the kinds of problems they’ll see on their homework. After giving students a few minutes to try to work through the problem, discuss the problem with the class.