How teachers may promote active learning Summary:

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In this inquiry, the purpose is to evaluate how teacher may promote active learning and what the main obstacles are to reach this target. This enquiry explores the problem is investigated from the perspective of student teachers, teacher educators, teachers and pupils in school. All these groups have evaluated how active learning is applied and what the obstacles are to active learning within Urdu classes.

The inquiry aim to indicate the clear results that schools and teachers are needed to change the learning style in Urdu class. Many indicators of active learning can be seen, but there are many obstacles, which should be overcome.

This research , carried out at my first placemen, took the form of qualitative information-gathering through structured and semi-structured interviews with key informants (the students and members of staff involved), the observation of two of the group's lesson, and an analysis of existing questionnaires completed by students. There is a brief consideration of ethical issues raised by the research process, some of the enquiry's limitations, and some possible avenues for further exploration.

In the assignment's main section, I consider experience through examination and careful observations that show, that within passive learning although a primitive form of learning there is also some kind of active learning taking place.

I attempt to evaluate these qualitative and subjective findings in relation to one another and to secondary sources including recent research in this area, finding that, in my brief experience as well as that of the students concerned. The effect of various teaching and learning techniques in other subjects but there are still some factors that are posing a great barrier to active learning in Urdu classes.

The barriers involve curriculum, content, teaching pedagogy, school and classroom environment, behaviour and social factors. In order to create a better active learning environment within the Urdu class, there is strong need for giving more autonomy to teachers within the Urdu class.

In a concluding section, I look at alternative style as an ongoing, interactive process, needing to build the experience gained back into its development, and how this appears to be managed at my placement school. The study has also shown that pupils have different learning styles in their approach. The role of the teacher, as a mediator of knowledge and skills, the teacher must be able to support the pupils and to make them understand the learning material on a deeper level.

Finally, I consider what implications the experience of carrying out school-based research in this area might have for my continuing profession development.

Introduction:

"Our intention is to create and education system tailored to the needs of the individual pupil, in which young people----are more able to mix academic, practical, and work-based styles of learning. We will introduce greater choice of what and where to study and make it easier to combine academic and vocational learning. (DFES 2005:44)

Active learning is one of the most important goals in the British school scenarios, which include a concept of learning society. The important characteristic of the learning society is the learners' own initiatives and responsibilities for their own progress. In this research, the purpose is to evaluate how teacher may promote active learning and what are the main obstacles are to accomplish this. During the last decade, the new metaknowledge of teaching and learning, new concepts of learning environment and new knowledge of the diversity of the learners have offered several initiatives to seek new practices at schools. However, Monique Boekaerts (1997), as a researcher of self-regulated learning, describes a recent situation in schools and society in the following way.

"Most class rooms are still populated with students who are not self-regulating their learning, and that most teachers are not yet equipped to turn students into self-regulated learners. In most cases, teachers are still steering and guiding the learning process, a situation that does not invite students to use or develop their cognitive or motivational self-regulatory skills. Usually, students are expected to reproduce and apply the new information that the teacher has presented or made available. (Boekaerts, 1997, P-162).

I will refer throughout this assignment to recent learning style relevant to these developments.

The School Context:

I had my first placement in a comprehensive girl's school where 70% students are from an Ethnic Minority background. The school accommodates over 100 teachers from diverse backgrounds. My subject area as a trainee was MFL Urdu, I observed, there had been a tendency of learning through passive teaching over a number of years in Urdu classes. The behaviour in general of the pupils was good with some odd occasions of bad behaviour. Most of the students were from ethnic background, learning to improve their language. The major problem student faced was in relation to reading and writing skills because the unusual writing style of Urdu language.

Speaking and listening skills were good due to their cultural and social environment. There were also some students who were forced to learn Urdu by either parents or their peers and were there without any interest for the subject. There was a change within the school at management level and was a move towards a "change" in teaching methodology and assessment. The higher management was trying to implement the OFSTED lesson observation criteria throughout the department. The behaviour management system also went under changes, Urdu teachers had problems in understanding, and implementing them with the classes alongside the factors there was a huge task of assessing the pupils within all four essential skills within MFL (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing). I observed few lessons that did not go well because of the behaviour problem and teaching were more passively than active.

During the training, I had implemented various strategies within the class of which some worked very well and some were not. I tried to change the class atmosphere by using different active form of learning and teaching upon which some classes appreciated the new strategies and techniques where as some gave insight of the problem that could arise when introducing the active form of learning and teaching within the Urdu classes.

The enquiry aims to offer a tentative assessment of the experience; so far, I introduced the new alternative in Urdu classes at my placement school. Influenced by the idea of 'ground theory research' (Bell 2005).

I began with a series of questions rather than an existing hypothesis in order to generate criteria for assessing the active learning within the Urdu classes as a part of the research process.

To this end, I aimed to learn about the thinking behind the learning style and its structure, looked into the expectations of those involved, tried to gauge the extent to which these were being met, and generally explored the experience of staff and students. From this process emerged the following key aspects of the research design and implementation, under which I will evaluate my findings in section 4.

The questionnaire.

Selection of participants.

Choice and Personalization.

Collaborative provision.

What are the benefits or drawbacks of a variety of learning contexts?

What are student's experiences about different learning style?

Literature Review:

Active learning is an approach that allows

Students to take responsibility for their own learning. It may use a variety of methods to create different contexts in which students interact with subject matter. The common goal is the provision of opportunities for learners to integrate new information, concepts, or skills into their own mental schema through rephrasing, rehearsing, and practice. Activities can include collaborative group work, investigation with materials inside or outside the classroom, and peer teaching, as well as self-guided instruction, lecture and individual seatwork. Most important, to be actively involved, students must engage in such higher-order thinking tasks as analysis, synthesis and evaluation. (Chickering and Gamson 1987; Bonwell and Eison 1991).

In modern learning psychology, many concepts, such as authentic learning, self-directed learning, self-regulated learning, independent learning, autonomous learning, problem solving, and active learning, have the same purpose, even though they originate from somewhat different theoretical frameworks. The common feature is a learner's active impact on learning and a learner's involvement in the learning process. The active role may be manifested in individual and cooperative learning strategies (Simons, 1997; Slavin, 1997; Niemi, 1997).

Active learning is probably more conspicuous for learners than passive forms of learning. Learners are supposed to be more motivated and interested when their mental activity is challenged and when they can make decisions about their own learning. Active learning provided the framework that guided this project. Important characteristics of active learning are:

1) Active engagement of students in learning.

2) Students taking responsibility for their own learning, and sometimes for the learning of others.

3) Teachers providing activities that facilitate active learning, instead of simply transferring information.

Active learning activities promote a higher level of learning through an emphasis on students' abilities to control their learning environments and develop interdependent or cooperative relationships with other students (Vos, 2001).

Active learning promotes a higher level of learning through the process of Meta cognition. The concern of met cognition goes beyond students' identification of their knowledge level to a focus on the learners' insight regarding what they know (Flavel, 1979, Hacker, 1998).

Active learning strategies emphasise constructivist qualities in knowledge processing. These are independent inquiry, and structuring and restructuring of knowledge. In active learning, the processing of knowledge also requires a problem solving orientation, a critical approach, and an evaluation of knowledge.

Individual learning strategies the ultimate goal of knowledge processing is that the learner can elaborate on applications of knowledge and she may produce new knowledge using cognitive processes. According to the newest learning theories, quality of learning also depends on learners' abilities to steer their own learning orientation, to develop inquiring skills and to learn to reflect on and control their own learning processes.

Co-operative learning In the construction of knowledge, social elements have emerged as very important. How we learn and comprehend knowledge depends on our beliefs, attitudes, and values and our self-concept as a learner. The sociohistoric tradition sees a human mind as being distinctive from the minds of all other species in its capability for developing language, tools, and a system of education. Knowledge is seen as the creation of a social group, as it engages in its daily interaction and praxis, and both adapts to and transforms the environment around it (Vygotsky, 1978; Cole, 1991).

Constructive learning has been heavily influenced by the work of Vygotsky (1962). Educational psychologists, anthropologists, and sociolinguists have built on his writings to complement the Piagetian orientation and to explore more comprehensively the various social and linguistic contexts within which the child develops (Paour 1990). For Piaget, developmental change and learning are nearly synonymous, as they are precoded, genetic, and obedient to an external structure of graduated epistemological levels.

New teaching methods, which consisted of more independent learning, more collaborative arrangements, more open tasks and projects, enabled students to collaborate with each other, but very often, a teacher was also a partner in a learning team. A teacher's position was no longer in front of the classroom, nor in the centre of the classroom, but s/he was a circulating expert, learning together with students and trying to give as much space as possible to his/her students. To promote active learning, the teacher should be a tutor. In addition to the teacher, other partners (e.g. peers, parents, employers) in networks and co-operative projects should have a tutoring and supporting role. These scenarios of teachers' work create new demands on teacher education.

In reality, active learning is the measurement of the extent to which the learner is challenged to use their mental abilities while learning. The passive learner does the same in less content as passive learning is mainly involved in the initial phases where as active learning enhances the passive learning. "There are various types of learning skills that could structure the focus of process-oriented instruction such as cognitive skills, meta-cognitive skills and affective-motivational skills". (Simon et al, 2000)

Methodology:

Given the size of the cohort concerned, I opted for a qualitative approach, gathering data through the 'triangulation' of structured and semi-structured interviews with key informants, lesson observations, and an analysis of existing Questionnaires, completed by students and teachers. I carried out interviews with staff and students at my placement school: the Urdu teacher, who had allowed me to observe her lessons; my curriculum mentor, overseeing the process; the professional mentor responsible for implementation, and most importantly ten of the fifteen students. My notes from these interviews are contained in Appendix.

The staff interviews were semi-structured, in order to draw out responses to particular questions, while leaving open the possibility of exploring issues raised by my informants. My questions focused on active learning in teacher

education. The interview was an open discussion, but it contained the following themes:

How do you try, in your teaching, to get students to become active learners or inquirers?

(What methods do you use? How do you use modern technology , e.g. media, Internet

What is active learning or active studying at its best, in general/with your own students? (What does it demand of teacher, what does it demand of students?

How much of your students' learning is as you just described it? Among your students?

What is your opinion about what are the greatest obstacles to active learning and self-regulated studying at schools/in your own teaching?

Do you feel that school gave you a good enough readiness for applying active learning methods?

The student's interviews were more structured, because of the limited time available for discussion. I selected informants following lesson observations, and discussion with their teachers. I decided that the two I interviewed offered if not a 'cross-section', then complementary viewpoints: two girls at the same time; one rather reserved and one extremely lively; both able to express interesting perspectives. In the event, I found their responses thoughtful, honest, and mature. Given the uniqueness of each student, I considered, with bassey (1981, in Bell 2005:19) that "the reliability of a case study is more important than its generalisability." The themes of the interviews were:

How often you use ICT?

How often you work in pairs and helping each other?

What kinds of methods are used in your lesson?

How much support they are getting from their teachers?

Do you like helping each other during the lesson?

Results:

Active learning from the viewpoint of the Teachers.

The interviews of three teachers and six pupils revealed several factors, which affect whether

active learning is implemented in schools or not. The teachers described what active learning

methods demand of them. Active learning methods require much more work and are much harder on a teacher than traditional teaching. All interviewees emphasised that much more preparation is needed than for traditional teaching: more planning and more preparation of learning materials. The real problem may be that the available learning materials (also multi-media materials) are not good enough and teachers have to produce materials on their own. Teachers seem to be in a very problematic situation. On the one hand, they would like to apply active learning methods; on the other hand, they feel that they do not have enough strength for all the new tasks. They said that active learning methods are challenging and rewarding, but they are worried about whether they have the time and energy to implement them.

It takes a long time before children learn to use active learning strategies. It requires a lot of

patience on the part of the teacher: ''you do not have silence in classrooms''. And it is hard work for students. The teacher must have the skills of organising and differentiating, as well as time for tutoring. Very often teachers confront role conflicts in active learning. There are so many varying and contradictory expectations of the role of teachers and students among students, teachers, and parents. When teachers use active learning methods, they have to clarify objectives and goals to themselves, and they must accept a long continuous learning process of met cognitive strategies, which is necessary in active learning. The teachers were very committed to apply active learning methods, but at the same time, they were very unsure about the future. There seemed to be very many obstacles to active learning methods and additional work. The most important obstacles are presented in Tables (see in the appendix)

Six main categories could be found in an analysis of the interviews: (1) Curriculum and lack of time, (2) Size of student groups, (3) Conditions and materials, (4) Other teachers, (5) Students and (6) Parents. All six were mentioned by both teachers and pupils.

I have equipped questionnaires, thirteen pupils and three Urdu teachers had filled the questionnaire, giving feedback on the active learning in their Urdu lessons in general. I made my own synthesis of responses relevant to this enquiry.

Finally, I carried out two lesson observations attending at my placement school Key stage 3 Urdu classes. I was interested in possible differences in teaching techniques, content, style, etc. Between these lessons and in relation to others I had observed at the school and in understanding how students taking the learning system during the Urdu lesson. I recorded my impressions of the shape, content, and atmosphere of the lessons, with timings, activities, and classroom talk as well as the use of resources and shape. Following each lesson, I spoke briefly with the teacher/subject mentors in order to try to gauge the representativeness of these sessions, and hear their perspectives on the students' development.

Ethical considerations:

For the interviews with students, I sought conformation from the pupils that they did not mind speaking to me, and from their teachers, willing to release them for a short time. I agreed that this would be preferable to taking up lunch-or break times, and ascertained that I had gained all necessary permissions. I conducted the interviews in school library, to avoid the possibility of students feeling uncomfortable with the relative stranger in a less public place. I trailed the - potentially sensitive - questions with colleagues (another reason to a pre-determined interview structure), and assured the students that they would not be named. The completed questionnaire to which I had access bore the students' names, but I decided that, since they had not originally been completed for the benefit of 'outsiders', I would neither record these nor question student about their responses. As with any classroom observation, it was possible that my presence could influence the behaviour and attitudes of students and their teachers. I gained the agreement of both beforehand, made my purpose clear, and tried to be unobtrusive, open, and non-judgemental, and to participate only when invited.

Limitations to the enquiry:

I would have liked to interview all the students in the Urdu class, but there was a limit to the time available at school, and - since I already had the group's questionnaire data - I agreed with my subject mentor that two students would be spared for a short time during a lesson. Further possibilities, as part of a larger-scale evaluation, could have included gaining perspectives on the active learning and on students' development from the teachers. My professional mentor have provided interesting angle on the school's strategic direction in this area.

Analysis:

Learning to collaborate and learning from collaboration means acquiring skills like dividing tasks between group members, leading a group, learning together, monitoring group progress, defining group goals and group learning goals, negotiating and co-structuring knowledge, coordinating cognitive and social communicative actions and creating a supportive collaborative climate (Simon et al, 2000).

The following section is structured by the thirteen questions that emerged from my research at the school, according to which I will consider the KS3 'Active learning in Urdu Lessons'. Throughout this section, I will make reference to secondary sources on the themes of Active learning and passive learning, in order to compare my findings to experience of these issues elsewhere. The purpose of the research carried out resolute and identified the existence of the problem. This piece of research was completed in February 2011 and the questionnaire was consisted of thirteen questions.

The open-ended questions were analysed by qualitative categorisation. The two sets of Questionnaire data were analysed separately and categorised. Some categories of teachers and students are slightly different, emphasising different aspects of active learning, but most of the categories have the same basic message or core idea. In this research, mainly obstacles to active learning will be presented.

Question 1:

Learner: Do you prefer to follow written instructions on worksheets or in workbooks?

Teacher: Learner follows written instructions on worksheets or in workbooks?

Please refer to diagram 1. The results are measured as follows: it is calculated by the following key standards, a (almost never), b (occasionally), c (half the time), d (most of the time), e (almost always). According to this shown data 70% pupils occasionally like to follow the worksheets, 30% half the time. However 65% teachers prefer to give instruction on worksheets, 15% half the time and 20% most of the time. In my school, there has not been much selection in the Urdu lessons, the pupils came into the classroom, textbooks and exercise books were given out, and reading and writing continued until the end of the lesson.

According to these data, it seems that students have some experiences of active learning with fairly closed tasks. However, they do not have experiences of planning and building their own learning tasks and environments. Teachers see the conditions more positively than their former experience, and there are significant statistical differences in almost all items between students and teachers.

Question 2:

Learner: Do you prefer to follow oral instructions?

Teacher: Learners like active learning over passive learning. When asked learners, the image shows that 50% of students prefer to act upon on oral instructions half the time and 50% most of the time.

If we look at the results from teachers, it shows that 30% of teachers prefer active learning as a substitute of passive learning occasionally, 30% half the time and 40% most of the time.

Question 3:

Learner: Do you prefer lecturing or audio learning style?

Teacher: Learners prefer lecturing or audio learning style?

If we engage the class in meaningful and creative activities with the intension of creating environment conductive to learning, during my observations the Urdu lessons has not been much variety in the lessons usually taught. I was right in my judgement that the majority was looking for variety of activities. Affective use of ICT and multimedia, I had noticed that

lessons in Urdu classes lacked in catering for different learning styles. This question, when

asked to learners and teachers, according to learners 30% of them prefer ICT/audio learning style half of the time, 60% most of the time and 10% almost always. Same question when asked the teachers, according to them 10% prefer to use audio learning occasionally, 20% half the time and 70% prefer lecturing. If we compare the results, pupils prefer most of the time activities related to ICT, as compare to teachers.

Question 4:

Learner: Do you prefer visual learning style or demonstration?

Teacher: Learner prefers visual learning style?

When learning strategically, students should have freedom of choice related to the learning strategy such as what kinds of learning approach to take, when and where learning will take place. As described by the Simon et al (1995), in the beginning stages of any learning the simpler forms of independence should occupy more time than the more complex ones with a gradual increase of time for more complex forms.

According to the results shown in given chart, that 80% pupils prefer visual learning style and 85% teachers prefer demonstration.

Question 5:

Learner: Do you prefer kinaesthetic from the learning?

Teacher: Learners prefer kinaesthetic form of learning?

My approach to learning styles (such as visual, auditory or kinaesthetic) and multiple intelligences is based on a concern to avoid the labelling and categorisation of learners. While every person may have a unique individual combination of intelligences, they are also potentials, to be practised and developed. In any case, such concepts as multiple intelligence

themselves culturally bound, as Alexander (2005b:14) implies when he asks:

"Which came first, a human mind which has linguistic, mathematical, and musical intelligences, or a curriculum which contains the language, mathematics, and music that such intelligences have created?"

When we see the results, 80% of students prefer kinaesthetic learning most of the time and according to 85% teachers, most of the time their learners prefer kinaesthetic learning in lessons.

Question 6:

Learners: Do you learn more when working on their own?

Teachers: Learners work on their own?

I will evaluate question 6, 7 and 8 together, I will proceed according to the principle that unique individuals, the infinite complexity of human interrelationships, and the particularity of dynamic situation cannot be fully captured by generalised understandings or a single theory of learning, but that insights from many quarters can help understand classroom practice. Classroom observation, however, is necessarily by a particular purposes (Wragg 1994), and my student teacher's lens will no doubt emphasize certain aspects of learning to the possible exclusion of others.

According to the qualitative data, learning as an active learning process has a clear connection with students and teachers' professional development. Learning which demands active reflection and high responsibility gets students to overcome their own limits. It is seen as very rewarding to students. Active learning in classroom is not only a method; it is a concept of the teaching profession. As a Student teacher, I see that becoming a teacher is a continuous, active learning process, which should be continued in my career. The qualitative data revealed the important categories. They describe the meaning of active learning in teacher teaching. The peer review process, one-to-one support and group work involves building a foundation in the classroom that supports collaborative evaluation and helps students relate to and practice real-life situations. In order for peer evaluation to be effective, faculty need to prepare and explain to students the who, what, when, how, and why of the collaborative experience so students feel capable of evaluating one another effectively and fairly.

According to the results of question 6, 7, 8, we can see that 85% students prefer to work in groups, and learn by helping each other. As compare to teachers, they prefer group and peer learning occasionally.

Question 7:

Learner: I like to get one-to-one support from teacher.

Teacher: I like to give one-to-one support.

Question 8:

Learner: Do you like helping each other?

Teacher: I encourage learners to help each other.

Question 9:

Learner: Do you prefer to learn one application or topic at a time?

Teacher: I like learners to learn one application or topic at the time?

80% of students prefer to learn one application most of the time and 20% prefer almost always, on the teachers side, 5% half the time, 5% most of the time and 90% almost always prefer to finish one topic at the time.

It shows that many Urdu teachers are not highly motivated to give attention to active learning as they do not see the benefits of it within the subject matter and argue that these activities take up too much valuable time. Other teachers want to concentrate all their attention on the instruction of content knowledge as otherwise; it will affect their results or grades. Also not all the teachers possess sufficient knowledge and skills to foster active learning and to supervise their students in active self-directed learning. Most Urdu teachers would need to develop forms of instruction, which are fundamentally different from those they are currently using and familiar with.

Question 10:

Learner: Do you prefer to make mistakes and learn from them?

Teacher: I encourage learners to make mistakes and learn from them?

Results shows that, 10% of students almost never learn from their mistakes, 30% pupils occasionally 50% half the time and 10% most of the time try not to repeat their mistakes.

85% teachers half of time encourages their students to make mistakes and learn from them.

Learning from their own mistakes is a procedure, in which the learner uses opportunities to decide about aspects of learning process or the extent to which the learner is challenged to use his or her mental abilities while learning.

Question 11:

Learner: Do you prefer activities that enable you to work in pairs?

Teacher: I design activities that enable learners to work in pairs?

The group peer review active learning strategy is a positive experience for both the students and teachers. This strategy provided students with an opportunity to use higher level thinking skills, work collaboratively, and evaluate scholarly work done by their peers. They had the opportunity to see how other students developed their own critiques and learned from their mistakes as well as benefited from their accomplishments. As a result, students could use what they learned through the group peer review activity to revise and further develop

.

80% of students prefer group learning, and 40% Urdu teachers encourage their pupils to work in groups most of the time.

Question 12:

Learner: Do you prefer to start at the beginning, even if you have some previous knowledge?

Teacher: I like learners to start at the beginning; even they have some previous knowledge?

Learners prefer 80% half of the time start from the beginning, but if we look at the teacher's

interest, mostly teachers do not prefer to check the prior knowledge of their students.

Question 13:

Learner: Do you prefer to talk to each other about what they are doing?

Teacher: I encourage learners to talk to each other about what they are doing?

Teachers must assess their students during the lesson to check their learning and persuade them to talk about the activities and learning happening in the class. Results as shown, 80% students most of the time prefer to talk to each other about what they are doing, and only 60% of teachers encourage their learners to talk to each other about what they are doing.

Active learning is an approach that allows students to take responsibility for their own

learning thereby facilitating the management of more than one grade by teachers. It uses

a variety of methods to create different contexts in which students interact with subject

matter. The common goal is the provision of opportunities for learners to integrate new

information, concepts or skills into their own mental schema through rephrasing, rehearsing and practice. Activities can include collaborative group work, investigation with materials inside or outside the classroom, and peer teaching, as well as self-guided instruction, lecture and individual seatwork. To be actively involved, students must engage in such higher-order thinking tasks as analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

Active learning has its roots in three bodies of education literature. The first is the

constructivist approach to the acquisition of knowledge, which argues that learning is a

process of knowledge construction through social interaction that builds on a learner's

previous experience. The second is cooperative learning, which supports cooperative

small group problem solving as a means to improve student learning, increase student

motivation, and serve as a tool to help manage large numbers of students. The third is

sociolinguistic research, which suggests that students use discourse strategies in

classroom settings to promote and interpret verbal interaction with teachers and other

students.

Conclusion:

The findings outlined in the previous section are in keeping with the research of Cullen et al, who identify a wide range of alleged positive outcomes from Active learning. Success should not be taken for granted, however, they argue: These positive outcomes for the young people were only achieved through a substantial degree not only of planning... but of support (Cullen et al 2000:117). Once young learners leave the supportive environment, they may 'regress rapidly'; The message here is that active learning must remain in Urdu classes 'work in progress' in order to perpetuate its undoubted benefits.

When given the choice between active and passive learning, I find that active learning best provides me, as a student teacher, with the opportunity to succeed in my studies. By definition, active learning provides students with the ability to actively participate in the learning process, rather than passively absorb information. I believe that when students participate only in passive learning environments , which are dominated by lectures and memorization of facts and figures , it takes a longer amount of time to fully grasp and understand new strategies , because passive learning tends to lead to learning by rote . In an active learning setting, where students are encouraged to participate in discussion groups, studies, experiments and other interactive opportunities, because the mind is more stimulated by interaction rather than one-way lectures.

Hands-on participation seems to be the single easiest way to dive into new subject matters. When students are empowered to participate, learning curves moderate. Finally, passive learning, or learning by rote as I mentioned above, tends to lead to short-term information retention. Memorization, as opposed to continued studies, accesses the part of the brain that only retains information shortly. So when I have the opportunity to participate in active learning, I find that I am better able to retain the knowledge I have gained long-term. Active learning may not be appropriate for every situation. There are certain strategies that are better facilitated in a passive learning environment. However, when given a choice, I find that I am best served by active learning environments that provide interactive and hands-on opportunities.

Professional development:

The experience of this enquiry - my first encounter with this area of secondary schooling - has provided me with several insights that will help inform my professional development. I have become interested in the potential of active learning in Urdu classes, for meeting the educational needs of young learners. In the longer term, I would like to become involved in the process of extending such opportunities to students, and of working with learners.

The process of carrying out interviews at school has focused my attention on the ethical considerations addressed, and the need for sensitivity. I hope I have trodden lightly in the school where I was privileged to spend my first placement.

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