Ten Ways You Can Embrace Interactive Learning in the Classroom

What can professional development mean for your school? Successful teachers, successful students, and a successful learning environment.

At Cochrane Collegiate Academy, students were among the lowest-performing middle schools in North Carolina, then they decided to try something new. The school implemented a consistent professional development program that dramatically increased learning and engagement, according to Edutopia.

The educators at Cochrane came up with a list of their ten best practices. These “non-negotiables” are used by every teacher, every day in every lesson. This top ten list was developed by the educators at the school and used to implement the instructional method they named Interactive Learning (IL).

Cochrane shared their Top Ten Interactive Learning Non-Negotiables with Edutopia recently in the article “Ten Tips for Engaging Underperforming Students.”

  1. Essential Questions: What is the intended goal of the lesson?
  2. Activating Strategy: Get students actively thinking or making a connection with the material.
  3. Relevant Vocabulary: Actively use, and have the student actively use, new relevant words throughout the lesson.
  4. Limited Lecture: After 12-15 minutes of lecturing, teachers must engage students in some type of activity.
  5. Graphic Organizer: The graphic organizer helps students conceptualize information given to them.
  6. Student Movement: Students must be mobile at some time during instruction to ensure they’re actively engaged.
  7. Higher Order Thinking Questions: Present at least three higher-order-thinking (HOT) questions during the lesson.
  8. Summarize: Close the lesson with a summary and assess the students’ abilities to answer the essential question.
  9. Rigorous: Activities must be challenging and move at a brisk pace.
  10. Student Centered: Students are the focus and the lesson is centered around their success.

You can read a more in-depth write-up on this top ten list by visiting Edutopia. Do you regularly use any of the above non-negotiables? Do you have any additions to make? Will you try any in your next lesson?

If you or your school is looking for a professional development program to implement in order to boost student success, LifeBound offers professional development sessions and can also customize sessions to fit your school’s specific needs. Please visit our website to learn more.



“Ten Tips for Engaging Underperforming Students,” by Mariko Nobori. 18 October 2011. Eduptopia. Accessed on 2 December 2011. http://www.edutopia.org/stw-school-turnaround-student-engagement-tips?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_content=stw&utm_campaign=tentipsengagingstudents


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