Monday, March 22, 2010
Interactive and Collaborative Learning
Wow how things have changed! I remember sitting in rows, outlining the science chapter, answering questions in a notebook, and turning them in to be graded. It doesn't seem like there were many things done collaboratively when I was in school. In fact, I'm still not sure collaborative learning is a "mainstream" as I'd probably like to think that it is. Haven't people ever heard the coined phrase "two heads are better than one"? When I stop to ponder why people might veer away from collaborative learning, I think the biggest road block for most would be the noise that comes with it. I equate collaborative and interactive learning in my classroom with organized chaos and will be the first to say that I feel my students learn the most when they are loud and working together. It can be difficult to keep all students engaged all the time, so it can be very tiring for teachers to walk around continuously (especially since roughly 90% of one of my classes are all on intervention plans for focusing issues). However, if the lesson is engaging, interactivity can keep them all focused. I found this to be true when I had students constructing their own pots of out newspaper, filling them with dirt, and planting seeds for a garden they each planned. There were spills, of course, but every student could find the volume of one of the pots so we could make sure I had purchased enough potting soil. Collaborative and interactive learning sounds like it would be less work for a teacher, but it is quite the opposite.