A Guide to Teaching in the Active Learning Classroom
History, Research, and Practice

Foreword by Bradley A. Cohen
Paper: 978 1 62036 300 3 / $29.95
Published: June 2016  

Cloth: 978 1 62036 299 0 / $95.00
Published: June 2016  

Lib E-Book: 978 1 62036 301 0 / $95.00  
About Library E-Book

Published: June 2016  

E-Book: 978 1 62036 302 7 / $23.99
Published: June 2016  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
280 pp., 6" x 9"
14 photos, 6 figures & 9 tables
While Active Learning Classrooms, or ALCs, offer rich new environments for learning, they present many new challenges to faculty because, among other things, they eliminate the room’s central focal point and disrupt the conventional seating plan to which faculty and students have become accustomed.

The importance of learning how to use these classrooms well and to capitalize on their special features is paramount. The potential they represent can be realized only when they facilitate improved learning outcomes and engage students in the learning process in a manner different from traditional classrooms and lecture halls.

This book provides an introduction to ALCs, briefly covering their history and then synthesizing the research on these spaces to provide faculty with empirically based, practical guidance on how to use these unfamiliar spaces effectively. Among the questions this book addresses are:

• How can instructors mitigate the apparent lack of a central focal point in the space?

• What types of learning activities work well in the ALCs and take advantage of the affordances of the room?

• How can teachers address familiar classroom-management challenges in these unfamiliar spaces?

• If assessment and rapid feedback are critical in active learning, how do they work in a room filled with circular tables and no central focus point?

• How do instructors balance group learning with the needs of the larger class?

• How can students be held accountable when many will necessarily have their backs facing the instructor?

• How can instructors evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching in these spaces?

This book is intended for faculty preparing to teach in or already working in this new classroom environment; for administrators planning to create ALCs or experimenting with provisionally designed rooms; and for faculty developers helping teachers transition to using these new spaces.

Table of Contents:
Foreword : Bradley A. Cohen

1. History and Research on Active Learning Classrooms
2. What We Currently Know About Active Learning Classrooms
3. The Social Context of Teaching and Learning
4. Common Teaching Challenges in Active Learning Classrooms
5. Assignments and Activities
6. Managing Student Groups
7. Assessment and Feedback
8. Supporting All Students
9. Supporting Faculty
10. Designing Learning Spaces Research
11. Future Directions

About the Authors


Reviews & Endorsements:
"The book advocates a particular physical organization of the classroom. This is not up to the individual professors, but to the institutions in which they work. Even if one does not have the particular physical layout advocated in this book, there are a number of helpful tips for professors who seek to more actively engage
their students. With chapters titled, 'Assignments and Activities,' 'Managing Student Groups,' and 'Assessment and Feedback,' it is easy to find practical suggestions on how to make the classroom less didactic and more engaged. Each chapter has helpful and clear subheadings that make it easy to scan for the topic that one needs. The examples in the book range from the sciences through to the humanities, helping a humanities professor get ideas on means of implementing the method in their own classroom."
- Reflective Teaching (Wabash Center)
"This perfectly timed book provides a much-needed and extremely useful road map of the history, innovative research, and emerging practices in active learning classrooms. The authors’ extensive knowledge and lived experience as teachers, faculty developers, and educational researchers is palpable on every page. Collectively they cover all the bases, identifying key teaching challenges in the active learning classroom and generating evidence-based suggestions and solutions. Every teacher, scholar, and administrator who seeks to understand the transformations in learning environments that are reshaping how teachers teach and students learn will find this volume a must-read and an indispensable companion."
- Mary Deane Sorcinelli, Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Mount Holyoke College , Founding Director, Center for Teaching & Faculty Development, University of Massachusetts Amherst
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