As Fun at Work Day approaches, teachers should teach content in more interactive, engaging ways

As+Fun+at+Work+Day+approaches%2C+teachers+should+teach+content+in+more+interactive%2C+engaging+ways

Elise Varhan

Last year, as a hybrid student, nearly all of my virtual days involved some form of lecture. While I didn’t mind them too much, as the lectures were informative and helped me learn content, I have to admit the topics I remembered best were the ones that involved interactive learning. In light of Fun At Work Day approaching on Jan 28, teachers should incorporate more interactive, game-like assignments and social-emotional learning (SEL) into class agendas. 

I am not trying to undermine the efficiency of lectures, but I believe there are more effective ways to teach content. In a study done at Harvard, lectures were labeled as a “transfer of information,” as they lack engagement and retention between the students and the professors. Interactive learning, which demands student participation, is much more beneficial. Interactive learning typically involves student-led discoveries and discussions. This type of learning requires the student’s initiative to find their own information. Project-based learning and problem-based learning present students with base guidelines and an end goal, giving them much more freedom and motivation to explore the topic on their own terms. During lectures, it is easy for students to zone out or miss a piece of information. As they write down notes, students are too focused on transcribing what they hear, preventing them from fully registering and retaining the content. However, fun projects and assignments allow students to explore topics at their own pace. This way, they are more likely to register what they learn and are more attentive to its accuracy, as these assignments are often for a grade. 

Another effective form of learning that should be incorporated into class time is social-emotional learning (SEL). SEL encourages students to exercise their social skills and empathy. While these two skills alone might not help students pass their AP exams in the spring, they are two essential life skills that will help them succeed in life. As a GKOM, I have learned the importance of SEL, as each Connection Session focuses on some aspect of SEL and helps students work on their social and emotional abilities. SEL exercises involve social interactions or emotional reactions and can be as simple as discussions. Not to mention, SEL is often fun and also interactive. The activities we do typically involve a game, which is much appreciated by the students, as it gives them a brain break and allows them to improve skills when they don’t even realize it. They are just playing a game, but their social and emotional skills are benefiting from it greatly. However it is done, teachers should make their classes more interactive and even fun to increase engagement and retention.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Elise Varhan at [email protected]

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