Teach in the UK• 3 Min read

24th August 2021

Activity Orientated Teaching: What Is It?

We all know that children learn in many different ways. Although ‘learning styles’ have fallen out of favour in many teaching circles, there is still lots of research that suggests that activity-orientated teaching is more effective than ‘passive’ teaching. You can read some research into activity-orientated learning from UCL here.  In short, activity-oriented teaching allows pupils to take part in activities, games or tasks focussed on the subject at hand.

What is activity-orientated teaching?

Activity-orientated teaching means that your pupils learn by performing activities or tasks. Pupils learn through investigation, analysis and summarising. They may share their findings in a group, or work together to reach a mutual conclusion. Collaborative working is an important component when planning activity-orientated lessons. Pupils are given tasks that they actively participate in – instead of listening and taking notes, they might build, design or create something relevant to the subject matter. Games, presentations and hands-on tasks such as matching and sorting are all examples of activities that teachers can use to boost learning and foster a deeper understanding of the subject at hand.  The alternative to activity-orientated learning is ‘passive learning’ which is usually teacher-led and involves little active participation from pupils. One example of passive learning is lecturing – Oxford Brookes shared this article “20 terrible reasons for lecturing” which gives lots of evidence and research into why this can be significantly less beneficial than activity-orientated learning.

   What Are The Benefits To Pupils?

Activity-oriented teaching allows children to learn at their own pace.  For pupils, especially younger students, sitting still and paying attention for long periods of time can negatively impact the amount of information they are about to take in as attention spans wander. Activity-orientated learning also develops other skills, such as communication, self-discipline and confidence.  Active participation in the learning process is beneficial to both retention and recall. Investigative and exploratory tasks encourage independence, investigation and analysis, which create a deeper learning experience and helps pupils to truly understand and retain information.


   How Can I Use More Activities In My Lessons?

Plan your lessons to include activities that allow your pupils to explore, investigate and analyse at their own pace.

   Where Can I Find More Ideas?

There’s lots more ideas for history teachers here – we especially like ‘Planning A Roman Town!’

Try this word-bingo generator to create a fun game of Word Bingo for your class

STEM subjects lend themselves perfectly to activity-oriented learning. Find hundreds of free ideas over at Twinkl

Our Pinterest board on Kineasthetic Learning has lots of activity-oriented ideas for teachers

Bring activity-orientated teaching to your maths lessons with these innovative ideas for Maths-based challenges

We hope you’ve enjoyed these ideas. We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for creating exciting activity-orientated lessons, come and join the conversation on Twitter.

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