[Report] “Interactive Teaching” Academy: Part 4 “Active Learning Strategies”

Here is a brief report of our latest event and a preview of our next event.

“Interactive Teaching” Academy: Part 4 “Active Learning Strategies”

Date/Time: August 4th (Sat), 2018, 09:00–16:00
Venue: 93B, Faculty of Engineering Building 2, Hongo Campus, The University of Tokyo
Participants: 43 people
Instructors: Kayoko Kurita (Center for Research and Development of Higher Education, The University of Tokyo)
Lui Yoshida (College of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo)
Nagafumi Nakamura (Center for Research and Development of Higher Education, The University of Tokyo)

1. Topic and Goal
This time, the topic was “Active Learning Strategies.” Based on the goal, “Be able to introduce active learning (AL) strategies into classes that promote student learning,” we set specific learning objectives as follows:

① Be able to explain the significance of AL. (Preparation)
② Be able to explain the perspectives that you should be careful of when designing AL by refining the activities in the classes designed by others. (Exercise in the morning)
③ Be able to design activities that promote student learning. (Exercise in the afternoon)

2. Summary
This program was conducted in a flipped-classroom manner, and participants worked on pre-class assignments beforehand. The session started with reviewing what they had learned at home, followed by the exercises of improving a sample AL design and designing activities for their own classes.

(1) Preparation
All participants were asked to watch the videos for WEEKs 1–2 of “Interactive Teaching” and read Chapters 1–2 of the book “Interactive Teaching” (Kawai Publishing, 2017). Also, some participants voluntarily designed and submitted the activities to be used in their classes.

(2) Session
[1] Introduction (09:00–09:15)
Participants listened to the explanation of the goals, structure, and rules of the program before introducing themselves to others.

[2] Review of What the Participants Learned in the Preparation (09:15–09:30)
Participants reviewed and organized what they had learned in the preparation through group activities. They examined the significance of introducing AL and the points they should be careful of.

[3] Exercise of Improving an Activity (09:30–12:00)
Participants examined a sample activity and had a group discussion on what was good about it and what points needed improvement. This exercise was intended to help the participants apply what they had learned in the preparation and during the reviewing session.

Participants learning from each other (Improving a sample activity)

[4] Exercise of Designing an Activity (13:00–15:30)
Participants designed activities to use in their own classes, based on what they had learned in the improvement exercise in the morning. They examined whether the designed activity was aligned with the goals and objectives of their classes through individual work and group discussions.

Group discussion (Designing an activity)

[5] Wrap-up (15:30–16:00)
Lastly, participants organized what they learned, what kind of questions they had, and what they wanted to bring back to their own work through group activities and Q&A sessions.

3. Participants’ Reactions
The affiliation of 43 participants was as follows: 17 faculty or staff members of the university or technical college, nine graduate students or postdocs, 10 teachers or staff members of junior/senior high school, three teachers or staff members of elementary school, and four teachers or staff members of vocational school. According to the five-point scale question asking the degree of satisfaction (Extremely satisfied; Very satisfied; Satisfied; Not so satisfied; Dissatisfied), 49 percent of the respondents were “extremely satisfied,” 47 percent were “very satisfied,” and 4 percent were “satisfied.” According to another five-point scale question asking whether participation in the workshop would affect your future practice (Yes (very much); Yes; No (not so much); No (not at all); Unsure), 23 percent of the respondents answered “Yes (very much),” 74 percent answered “Yes,” and 3 percent answered, “No (not so much).”
Here are some of the feedback we received in the comment section:

“I’ll be sure to practice the activity I designed in today’s training program and further improve it.” (Faculty member)

“I felt that the whole training itself was conducted in an AL style, so it was great to join the program.” (Faculty member)

“I learned that AL is not a goal but a means.” (Elementary school teacher)

We are relieved that the program was appreciated to a certain extent, but the satisfaction slightly decreased compared to the past three events, which we are taking seriously. We are eager to provide the participants with the opportunities to share their practices and improve our events to satisfy future participants by examining the points we need to improve as indicated in the feedback (e.g, to hold a two-day event on AL strategies; to let the participants examine more strategies).

4. Preview of the Next Program
We are planning to hold a one-day seminar on syllabuses on Sunday, November 11th. Details are to be announced. We look forward to your participation.

Videos “Interactive Teaching” JREC-IN website UTokyo FD website
Book “Interactive Teaching” (Kawai Publishing, 2017) (Kawai Publishing website)

Nagafumi Nakamura (Project Researcher in charge of “Interactive Teaching” / Main Moderator of this event)

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