In this section I’ve tried to cover the main points and questions that come up time and again from trainees and at CPD courses about using the kinds of activities that are on Thinking History.
These notes cover practical basics, the reasons for using what’s become known as ‘active learning’ (though I’m not sure there’s any other way of learning!) and the importance of effective debriefing and follow-up. There’s also an introduction to the original DVD material from 2005 which is now available on YouTube.
If you're new to this kind of activity be reassured that there are widespread examples of teachers successfully and repeatedly using the activities exemplified on Thinking History.
A warning - don't just print & use!
Please don’t just print off an activity from this site and hope it will work five minutes later.
You must think about
• what you want to achieve with the activity
• the nature of the individual class
• where the lesson fits into the class’s week
and a wide variety of other things!
Each activity needs personalizing to you and each of your classes.
Why Use Active Learning?
How these activities improve knowledge and understanding and the importance of debriefing the class and yourself.
Model Activities on YouTube
Six activities are available on YouTube (from the original Active Learning DVD) showing their choreography.
But read this first! More…
Class Management & Practicalities
Key points for using the activities in the classroom, written with new teachers especially in mind.
Types of Activities
Summaries of the nature and benefits of a variety of types of activity.
Reflections on Active Learning
A simple guide to thinking about the effectiveness and value of activities.