Monday, January 5, 2015

Movement in the Classroom - Yes, Please!

We often shy away from using alternative teaching methods when working in adult education for fear of sounding juvenile. However, I ask you to think back to the last conference you were at. Did you appreciate the long lecture-style presentations or did you remember the presentations that used interactive activities, songs and/or games? We've been to dozens of conferences and find that while lecture style presentations are often informative, the presentations that get attendees talking are the ones that have the post variety and activity.

Why not give your adult students the same enjoyment? Often, adults have made education a priority, but that doesn't mean it comes without struggle. Your Nursing and Allied Health students probably have families at home, night jobs and/or hectic lives outside of school. Take some of the burden off of them and make it easier to stay present in class.

One way to do that is to engage your kinesthetic learners and incorporate some movement into the classroom. We've pooled together a few very easy ways to incorporate active learning without changing your teaching style before.

1. Physically move seating: You probably already do small group discussions or activities in your classroom, so this shouldn't change anything about your lessons. But instead of having students partner up with students sitting nearby, ask everyone to physically get up and relocate to create a group. After the discussion, have students physically move back to their original seat. A simple change in location and the temporary activity of moving desks can work miracles for short attention spans.

2. Simulations: Luckily Nursing and Allied Health education comes with a great learning tool for kinesthetic learners - simulations. Use your simulation time as much as possible with your students. For example, we knew one instructor who used to drag mannekins into the classroom when not in use so when discussing A&P or other concepts she could physically show the process to students and have a volunteer come up to help participate. The more volunteers you use - the more people you'll get up and moving.

3. Games: I know this one seems silly, but games are a great way to review concepts. Do a jeopardy game where students use an arm signal as a buzzer or play a round of charades with words like "myocardial infarction" and "anaphalactic shock". Games are especially good before a test, on a slow Friday or before holiday breaks.