How Do I Choose the Best Active Learning School?

Solomon Branch
Solomon Branch

An active learning school encourages an interactive approach to learning rather than just verbal instruction, which is the typical format used in many schools. Choosing the best active learning school requires research and patience, as you will undoubtedly need to look at several schools before finding one that suits you. A good school will have a set curriculum that meets your needs and a proven track record of effectiveness.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The first step to take in finding the best active learning school is determining your specific, personal needs, as many different types of schools use the active learning model. Once you have defined your needs, choosing the appropriate active learning school by scouring the internet, school directories and listings provided by government agencies should be your next step. When you have narrowed down your choices, choose a school that has a curriculum you like or that seems promising, either by contacting the school or checking its website.

Active learning is a broad description of an overall methodology, so many variations of the model are practiced; however, most of the time an active learning school will teach using at least four basic activities, including talking and listening, writing, reading and a time for reflection, which is a time used to evaluate a lecture after it has occurred. A good active learning school will have a curriculum that at least works with these four basic activities. Be sure to discuss the curriculum in detail with any school in which you are interested.

Once you are satisfied with the stated curriculum and teaching methods, taking a tour of the school and sitting in on several classes is advisable. A good active learning school will practice what they preach, which is interactive learning. Sitting in on classes is a good way to see how the school runs in a practical manner, although sitting in on more than one class of the same subject, if possible, is recommended. Doing so can help verify consistency.

Talking with students and alumni of the school can also be helpful, as can talking with the teachers. Discussing the teacher’s credentials with the school administration is also a good idea. Depending on where you are located, a local governing body might have access to standardized test results for each school, which can be helpful in getting an overall idea of the effectiveness of each school’s teaching methods. Checking online with various review sites that compare schools can also be helpful; you should be wary at times, however, as it’s often easy to post anonymously on review sites.

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