By: Kamille Jude

Teaching methods seem to vary depending on the subject matter of the class and the individual’s learning the content. Each technique has its respective benefits, which cater towards a specific learning type amongst students. Some students prefer lectures where they can avidly take notes so that they have everything they need to review for their upcoming test, while others prefer more hands-on methods. Predominantly lecture-based education has been the norm, but teachers have started to implement interactive activities that allow students to understand the content through personal experience, rather than passively memorizing every piece of information handed to them. For the IB curriculum, a combination of both is employed to promote further understanding of a concept, which can be applied in test situations across the different curriculums.

In ISM, teachers differ in teaching techniques based on whether the subject at hand seems more suitable to be taught in an interactive manner or through a lecture. Ms. Thompson, an English teacher, says that she “prefers interactive discussion-based learning, as students have to figure out things for themselves.” She mentioned that specifically with English, if she were to just give students all the information for an analysis, then the ideas would all be hers and the student wouldn’t have really learned anything.

Chemistry teacher, Ms. Patrikios, also “prefers interactive activities”, but acknowledges that it can be “challenging to fit them into higher level curriculum classes, because there’s just no time.” Ms. Dickinson, an integrated science and biology teacher, adds that, “It really depends on who and what [she is] teaching.” She mentioned that when she teaches grades 9 and 10 classes, where there are no external examinations, she can employ various lecture and interactive-based activities. In terms of the IB, she attempts to do the same, especially with HL classes, but also adds that “there are times when [she] just has to get through the material,” which is when lecturing comes in handy. Ultimately, she recognized that, “every student is individual and has their own preferred learning style.” This shows how various methods can be employed when the time calls for it. Overall, it seems that interactive-based activities prove to be an effective tool in teaching, as they allow students to put the pieces of the puzzle together themselves, thus enabling them to employ problem-solving skills.

Amongst students, junior Jess C. voiced, “I prefer it when teachers lecture and explain the materials we need to know without distracting us with games or other activities.” She also believes that these interactive activities tend to lead to “everyone getting side-tracked,” which, of course, defeats the purpose of the activity. She added that “in activities, we tend to arrive at our own conclusions that are not necessarily correct” and would rather take comprehensive notes. Another junior, Angelica C., said that she prefers “lectures because [she’s] getting more details and it is less likely that [she’ll] miss any of the content.”

It seems through the diverse nature of the responses that both of these teaching methods are here to stay. Either one may be employed depending on the circumstances. It’s ultimately about the best way to learn, after all!

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