Activity Based Instruction

Teaching has gone a long way and has evolved into the non-traditional practice and profession that it is today. Teaching methods have gone from initiation during the early stages of educational development to the non – traditional and modern methods in the present educational set up.  Certain strategies and techniques have come into existence with accompanying frameworks to make the best out of every student through innovative, efficient, and effective instruction.

Such teaching strategies, techniques, and methods owe their existence to the different schools of thoughts and educational theorists and experts who pool their opinions based from the latest trends in educational psychology and researches. However, there is no teaching strategy, technique, and method prescribed by educational researchers and experts as the best. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Activity based instruction is no exception. However, it distinguishes itself as a modern form of instruction as opposed to the teacher – monopolized instruction which thrived in antiquity leaving the students as mere recipients and absorber of knowledge. Its approach is more of providing opportunities for pupils to express their freedom to explore possible ways to solve a certain problem or to manipulate materials with the teacher’s role reduced to that of a facilitator.

This form of instruction will be evaluated in the light of its identified advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

1. The application of Dewey’s principle of learning by doing is very evident in this form of instruction which benefits the students as it creates in them a natural urge to learn to strengthen and enhance learning.

2. Practice, through manipulation and free self – expression, is another benefit students get from it. This feature of the activity – based instruction makes learning permanent in a more meaningful way.

3. The provision of diverse activities to the students become venues for them to express themselves creatively on how to deal with certain situations or how to solve problems. They get to apply their knowledge in these instances towards the achievement of goals they set with the teacher.

4. The opportunities provided by the teacher for students to work in  groups, whether small or big, paves the way for the development of the students’ social self and sense of belonging.

5. The teacher’s role in an activity – based classroom is reduced to that of a facilitator. This lessens the anxiety felt by students as compared to situations when the teacher is always there as a symbol of authority.

6. The teacher is spared from having to talk and talk all throughout the lesson and is honed to become a creative engineer of the classroom, especially, in devising activities that work for most of the learners.

Disadvantages

1. The activity based instruction calls for long term planning which requires teachers to master the schemes and understand the details and carefully  go about them. Failure to do so makes the practice of this instruction half – baked.

2. Prerequisite skills play a vital role in the achievement of the instructional objectives in activity based instruction. It becomes frustrating on the part of the slow learners to see fast learners showing their topnotch forms in performing certain activities.

3. Activity – based instruction works best with experimentation or in experimental sciences but is less practical to use in social sciences.

Activity based instruction, by nature, has its advantages and disadvantages which are utilized to evaluate how its use fits in the classroom setting. While the advantages delved on the benefits that the stakeholders of the educative process (the teachers and the students) get from the application of activity based instruction in the classroom,  the disadvantages are identified as results of improper planning and implementation of instruction.