Education is a flexible concept. It changes from country to country, district to district, class to class. There are a lot of styles. There are a lot of opinions. It’s a bit like parenting (or dieting). Instead of holding yourself to hard and fast rules, we believe a combination approach to teaching works best.
With that in mind, here is a list of teaching techniques to pick and choose from. Look out for crossover or complimentary elements. Start mixing and matching to create your own combination classroom style.
The Flipped Classroom method is a form of inverse learning that delivers instructional content, often via computer, outside of the classroom. Traditional lectures are absorbed as homework. More creative, long-form activities, usually associated with home and coursework are brought into the classroom. In the flipped classroom timeline, students watch online lectures, discuss online, and research online, all while at home. The concepts that have been established in this research are then put into action in the classroom through practical application and creation.
The approach is bold, rewarding, and fun! Originated entirely by accident as lecturers recorded their lessons for absent students, flipped teaching started to take form as it became clear that children liked absorbing lessons in the way they absorbed other media. The reward for students comes from trust and an understanding of their habits. A new class culture is created through the combination of technology and respect.
We’ve looked at the Flipped Classroom and the way it uses everyday tech to inform teaching. Now let’s go a step further into the modern student’s world with Incidental Learning.
Incidental learning happens when we least expect it. From watching television, reading a book, talking with a friend, playing a video game or, as many language students do, travelling to another country to be surrounded with a new language.
Sounds fun. But can it be controlled?
Well, incidental learning always happens in the context of another activity or experience. The key is that the experience has to be engaging on its own merit. Like playing a video game in another language! Same objectives, same play structure, same engagement. All of these fun elements help to contextualise the thing you are learning. The principal activity is playing the game; learning new vocabulary is a beneficial byproduct of enjoying the game.
Incidental learning has become a key element of the flipped classroom. Bring entertainment – music, stories, games – into school hours and see engagement levels soar!
Speaking of educational gaming…
Take children on a learning adventure! With game-based learning you push fun to the foreground and sneak the lesson in through the back door, craftily obscured by fun characters, situations, and a new context.
Playing educational games on in-class devices is the strongest way to introduce incidental learning to pupils. They can control the pace of learning in a way that they could not with a subtitled cartoon or an educational song. Children are programmed to explore and expand their horizons. Why not do it in a safe, teacher-led environment?
We recommend story-led video games as opposed to point and click digital lessons. When choosing your classroom tech, be discerning about the kind of games your students play at home. A moving textbook on a student’s Chromebook is a redundancy. But an active experience where students can make decisions based around understanding and empathy creates a much stronger context for lessons to stick.
We’ve flipped the classroom and engaged students in incidental learning through video games. We’re using new media to explore and celebrate the different ways that students learn. We’re a forward thinking classroom!
But… that’s a lot of time in front of a computer monitor. It’s time to take that renewed energy your student’s have and get them active…
-Multiple Intelligence chart. Celebrate your own specific smarts.
AKA tactile learning, hands-on learning, learning-by-doing, kinaesthetic learning is centred around the concept of multiple intelligences, requiring students to engage and create. Using the kinaesthetic model, students enact physical activities in contrast to a more passive approach. Students perform, they build, they tell stories, they write songs. Lessons are contextualised through creation.
Kinaesthetic lessons can be refreshingly low-tech. The goal is to get kids up and interacting with the classroom through craft and imagination. We think this is a great compliment to the video game teaching Wibbu normally utilizes. Take something structured and linear and then use the ideas and lessons it promotes to get creative! Our teacher’s book offers kinaesthetic lesson plans for every level of gameplay. Design your own spaceship. Write your own dialogue. Tell a story from a different perspective.
Kinaesthetic lessons have the benefit of practical application, energizing the class, and most importantly, empathy. Get students engaging with new perspectives by carrying out unfamiliar actions.
THE WIBBU WAY
Okay, so this is a bit of a cheat. Because The Wibbu Way is actually a combination approach of the previous points on this list. Using a mix of technology and active participation to engage students in learning.
- Create a context for learning. Set out your learning goals.
- Engage in an activity that re-contextualises the goal. Play a game, enjoy a story.
- Create new content that carries the learning points. Write a story, build a game!
- Leave students to explore the subject in their own time. Spark the fire of self-directed learning.
Combination teaching can umbrella lots of different complementary styles and you can find others that will suit you. But we’ve found that this combo works very well for integrated technology in the classroom. Understand your students needs, empathise with their personal goals, trust in their ability to self-direct learning outside of the classroom.
We believe The Wibbu Way works. But don’t take our word for it. We’ve built a classroom tool that puts the concept into action.
Ruby Rei: School Edition is out now. It features 18 fully playable environments to explore, thousands of lines of dialogue to learn from, and beautifully animated curriculum-aligned stories and exercises that meet ELL standards.
Truan Flynn, Educational Game Writer