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Taking active learning into the primary school: a matter of new practices?

Stephen C, Ellis J & Martlew J (2010) Taking active learning into the primary school: a matter of new practices?. International Journal of Early Years Education, 18 (4), pp. 315-329.

This paper examines the extension of active learning pedagogical practices familiar in preschool settings to the first class of primary school. Policy and practice guidance in the UK is advocating the benefits of experiential learning as a way of engaging young children as they move into primary school but for teachers this means a move to new practices which can be in tension with other expectations. In this paper the rationale for active learning is considered along with an account of the classroom activities of teachers and children in five primary settings implementing the policy shift to active learning. The children in these classes spent varying amounts of time in whole class activities led by the teacher or in small groups directed to engage with specific activities. They had opportunities to engage and respond verbally, through manipulating objects and with physical actions but the emphasis was on planned, teacher-directed learning activities. The characteristics of active learning as introduced in these innovative classes are compared with the expectations of practice guidance and theorising about early learning.

active learning; primary school; classroom practices; teacher actions; implementing policy; Active learning; Learning, Psychology of; Activity programs in eduction; Education, Primary

International Journal of Early Years Education: Volume 18, Issue 4

Author(s)Stephen, Christine; Ellis, Jennifer; Martlew, Joan
Publication date31/12/2010
Publication date online17/12/2010
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