When you think of the term ‘classroom interaction’, you probably think of a teacher doing all the talking and the students mainly just listening. This type of interaction is called unidirectional and has been used in traditional classrooms for centuries. Even in the present day, unidirectional interaction would be the most common classroom experience for any student in school.
As the educational system develops and modernises, a lot of research highlights the importance of using various types of classroom interaction. Studies suggest that changing the teacher-student interaction to a two-way communication and adding student-student interaction can drastically improve the learning experience.
Which other strategies could be used instead?
For instance, the most widely known one is using more questions during the lesson, both from teacher to students, and the other way around. Other examples involve cooperative learning structures, such as solving problems in pairs, peer reviews of presentations and written assignments and using discussions and analysis when working in small groups. These methods can be broadly applied to all classroom settings.
What skills can students develop?
Firstly, these strategies can raise the level of student participation. Even the most quiet students will be involved as they are working through activities in pairs or in small groups. Having group discussions and working in pairs will also improve the students’ collaborative skills. They will practice active listening as well as sharing their own ideas. This will also keep students alert during the lesson.
Other skills that would be developed are social skills and presentation skills. Student to student interaction will require them to be polite and show respect to each other. They will have plenty of opportunities to practise presenting and public speaking as it becomes a natural part of the classroom environment. Studies also show that social interaction in the classroom can improve students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills.
To sum up, there is more to interactions than what we normally see in a traditional classroom setting. The substantial amount of research in this field provides a wide variety of techniques to improve the classroom experience. The evidence from studies demonstrates that using a variety of interactions can develop students’ learning abilities and important life skills.
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