In classrooms where professors use active learning, students are actively involved in their learning by building knowledge and thinking about how they are thinking. Students do this by participating in class and group discussions, doing pair work to exchange ideas and share knowledge, debating issues relevant to the class, cooperating on group projects, doing research and then making presentations. At MIC, professors use these activities as well as role playing, peer review of students’ written work, assessment of their own learning, and doing experiments, carrying out simulations, and studying case studies.
Since MIC was established, our students and professors have always used active learning to study the content of classes and to practice and master critical thinking. In fact, we think the best way to be a good critical thinker is to have a lot of experience doing higher-order thinking activities. That means analyzing information, arguments, and evidence; synthesizing knowledge to gain new insights and to find new solutions to problems; and evaluating our own and other people’s thinking to make sure it is logical and correct. Through the whole process, professors also help students understand what they are learning and how they are learning.