As teachers, we are entrusted with giving opportunities for students to ‘think actively’ in the classroom. Bombarding students with information with no room for thinking and reflecting does not serve the purpose of imparting quality education. Balancing teaching and active learning in the classroom is a challenging task for me. I try to use active learning strategies in my classroom as and when time permits. I would like to describe two such activities I used and continue to use during teaching.
The first activity is asking the students at the end of the class to design 3 questions from the topic which I covered in each lecture class. I make the students work in groups. In the next lecture class, before I start my lecture, I ask students in different rows to read aloud their questions and provide answers for the same. This activity was found to generate a lot of discussion in the classroom and students seemed to enjoy it. It also provided an opportunity for me to give feedback to the students regarding the quality of the questions and also the correctness and completeness of the answers.
Another activity which I did during my endocrinology lectures was to ask students to write stories on any endocrine disorders which they learnt. Again this was a group activity, where they had to work together outside class hours. Students commented that the story writing activity helped them to apply their knowledge and facilitated their creativity. Putting thoughts and creative ideas in writing was indeed learning through fun, as commented by the students.
Reem Rachel Abraham, PhD is an Associate Professor of Physiology at Manipal University. She teaches MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery), BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) and Allied Health Science courses through lectures, practical sessions, Problem-Based Learning (PBL), and Self-Directed Learning (SDL) sessions. Reem is a past LifeSciTRC Scholar and Fellow.