Interactive teaching method 1: whole-class discussion
- Provide the discussion topic well in advance.
- Clearly describe the question, problem, dilemma or proposition.
- Explain how students are to prepare for the discussion. For example, provide questions for students to investigate before the discussion, or students can prepare their own questions and responses.
- Explain how the discussion will be conducted and the 'rules' for discussion. For example: listen attentively, remain objective, make relevant contributions.
- Encourage students to think deeply about one another's contributions.
- Develop an environment where students feel secure expressing their ideas.
- Present a clear question to focus the discussion.
- Start by asking students to define terms and concepts.
- Ask extra questions to guide the discussion as necessary.
- If necessary, help students by providing extra information to clarify a point or overcome a hurdle but do not dominate the discussion or students' thinking.
- Wait for each student to answer the question.
- Keep the discussion moving by paraphrasing, re-stating, inviting elaboration and asking for examples.
- Encourage questioning or challenging of ideas and sources of information.
- Refocus discussion if students' contributions are irrelevant or inconsistent with the discussion's academic purpose.
- Keep a progressive record of the key points of the discussion, for example, by writing on the board or other visual means.
- Close discussion by summarising, foreshadowing or evaluating.
- Allow time for students to make their own notes about the discussion. They could use the teacher record as a guide.
- Facilitate student reflection on what they learnt, for example, about their values about the topic.
Interactive teaching method 2: cooperative learning
- Plan across the year to start with small, highly-structured cooperative tasks and build into more complex tasks. For example, students work in pairs until they have the skills to work in larger groups.
- Plan for students to take on diverse roles so all students develop the intended range of skills. Students can take on a role within a single task or for a set of tasks across the year.
- Define the topic and the expected outcomes.
- Form groups of students comprising two to six members. Ensure groups are diverse (gender, ability, culture, etc).
- Develop students' skills to help each other learn, for example, how to give clear explanations and how to ask thought-provoking questions.
- Provide clear and simple outlines of the team roles.
- Allocate roles (or let students allocate the roles).
- Clarify each team member's responsibilities: individual responsibility for their part of the learning as well as group members' responsibility for achieving the group goal.
- Establish team rules that promote mutual respect and responsibility among members.
- Suggest how teams might get started and how they might develop a plan of action.
- Allow students to work together to achieve their common goal.
- Circulate to give help, to monitor the activities and learning, and to make notes of what needs to be dealt with after the group sessions have finished.
- Allow groups to manage minor problems by themselves.
- Reinforce collaborative behaviours.
- Facilitate sharing of findings if appropriate.
- Allow students time to reflect on:
- their learning and how they learnt
- how well the group is functioning
- how effectively they are performing in their role.
Interactive teaching method 3: peer partner learning
- Outline the topic and the expected outcomes of the peer partner learning.
- Introduce and model peer partner learning so that students are familiar with the expectations of the two roles. The 'doer' performs a task and the 'helper' observes and provides feedback.
- Provide necessary support so that the partners can work independently. For example, spend time building their capacity to ask thought-provoking questions and provide feedback.
- If necessary, give students the opportunity to practise their roles.
- Allocate the 'doer' and 'helper' roles and explain at what point the roles will be reversed.
- Give students the task and, if necessary, a work plan.
- Discuss and clarify the task and work plan.
- Provide a structured guide for the 'helper' to guide what they should be looking for when providing feedback to their peer. Use language that students could use in their discussions.
- Circulate to:
- provide assistance
- monitor the activities and learning
- make notes of what needs to be dealt with after the partner sessions have finished.
- Allow partners to manage minor problems by themselves.
- Reinforce collaborative behaviours.
- Encourage students to reflect on what worked well and what they would do differently next time.
- Check for understanding of the intended learning.