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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs.

Strathprints serves world leading Open Access research by the University of Strathclyde, including research by the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS), where research centres such as the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), the Cancer Research UK Formulation Unit, SeaBioTech and the Centre for Biophotonics are based.

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

Stephen, Christine and Ellis, Jennifer and Martlew, Joan (2010) Taking active learning into the primary school : a matter of new practices? International Journal of Early Years Education, 18 (4). 315 - 329. ISSN 0966-9760

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Abstract

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 schools that were 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.