Teaching Assistants' Training Program

Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, 130 St. George Street, Robarts Library, 4th floor

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Active Learning in Discussion-based Classrooms

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT


Tuesday, March 15, 2016
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT
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Core IconDiscussion Based Icon
Blackburn Room, Robarts Library 4th Floor – CORE

Robin Sutherland-Harris, TATP Humanities Coordinator
Kathleen Ogden, TATP Humanities Trainer

Active learning is a teaching philosophy in which students participate in the lesson, rather than listening passively. Active learning techniques can increase retention and depth of understanding by engaging students through learning by doing, reflection, group discussion, and teaching others. These effective techniques can be used in myriad contexts, including lectures (of all sizes), tutorials, and labs. In this workshop, we will discuss and demonstrate different active learning methods for discussion-based classrooms.

Those of us who teach in discussion-based classrooms are often challenged by flat discussions, uneven participation, and disengaged students. Incorporating active learning strategies is often suggested as a corrective. But what is the theory behind active learning, what research supports its use, and how can it be done well? In this session, we will investigate the philosophy behind active learning and the evidence that supports its effectiveness. As participants, you will apply active learning theory to your own teaching context to better understand what kinds of strategies for engaging students will work in your classroom. Each person will create a personalized approach that takes into account both individual teaching styles and the challenges specific to different disciplines. Throughout the workshop, we will also explore a wide range of classroom strategies and discuss how to make them work for you.

NOTE: Please come prepared to apply active learning to a specific upcoming tutorial or class that you will be teaching; a draft lesson plan is highly recommended.

*This session can count as Discussion Based Tutorial Training



Blackburn Room


Elliot Storm