Interactive English Lessons

How do you teach your lessons? Are they interactive?

Our Philosophy of Interactivism

Many students enrolled in higher education today are led to believe that their primary role in the classroom is a passive one. The students perceive themselves as strictly receivers of information and they in turn perceive the sources of information, be them 10417482-ccs-presentation-systems-interactive-whiteboardteachers or texts, as unquestionable authorities. While the growing demands and competitiveness of the global job market place a priority on content-knowledge and specialization, a student with a strictly theoretical knowledge of their subject matter may not have ownership of what they know, and therefore are inclined to become passive professionals without an internal motivation to seek greater understanding and skills. To be put more simply, a large part of university education tends to be teacher-centered and the students in turn tend to become passive receivers of information.

Interactivism stands apart from other philosophies of education because it acknowledges both an objective truth and reality, but it does not ignore the subjectivity of the human experience in relation to a changing reality.

Our universities must prepare professionally competent men and women who can balance theory and practice by cultivating a lifelong love of learning. This aim can be best achieved through an interactivist approach.

Methodology of Interactivism

Interactivist educational methodology flows out of its philosophical foundation. Interactivist methods resemble a conversation or discussion much more than a teacher-centered monologue. The core essence of interactivitist learning theory can be paraphrased as what is on the inside and the outside of the student work together to create learning. The very word ‘interactive’ contains the essence of the interactivist learning theory, which is to say that students do not simply passively react to new knowledge, reasoning, and skill as behaviorists argue, but instead they inter-act with the input and integrate what they’ve learned into what they already know (a process Piaget coined as ‘scaffolding’).

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Interactivist educational psychology is based on Piagettian theories of human development as well as advancements in the field of cognitive psychology. The chief aim of any methodology should be to improve student learning and the author believes that interactivist methods most effectively enable learning to happen in the classroom and the world.

It is necessary that a student-centered approach is applied to every aspect of an interactivist lesson plan in higher education because interactivists want each subjective student to interact with the objective content on the subject matter and to be empowered to make it their own. This can best be achieved through a carefully structured lesson plan.

When a teacher approaches lesson planning from an interactivist
perspective he or she should include at least five interrelated—but distinct— facets to each lesson.
The five facets are

  • lesson-plan-no-aimObjective (or ‘big idea,’ ‘aim,’ ‘outcome,’ etc.)
  • Assessment
  • Anticipatory Set (or ‘motivational activity’)
  • Input
  • Processing Activity (or ‘closure’)

These five facets are effective in ensuring a student-centered learning event. This is not to say that the teacher is passive in the classroom. Instead, both the teacher and the student are interactive, in other words they are co-learners together. These five facets have been proven effective by both teachers and educational researchers to improve learning.

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Nicholas Drapeau is an American graduate from Cairn University in Philadelphia, USA and holds a bachelors degree in Secondary Education- English as well as Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Educational Certification for teaching English. He is the director of Next Level English in Almaty, Kazakhstan. His favorite subjects to teach are educational methodology and leadership.

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