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Correlation between classroom active learning methods and student on-task behavior

1 October 1998


The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the correlation between classroom active learning methods and student on-task behavioral response to those methods. Specifically, this study posed the questions: 1) What learning activities are used within the U.S. History classroom? 2) What is the frequency of on-task to off-task student performances during the instructional period. 3) What is the correlation of on-task frequency to learning activities? 4) What is the student response to each of these instructional methods? The importance of this research was based on the the work of Edward Hootstein (1995) and Charles C. Bonwell (1991) supporting the concept that students who are actively engaged during the learning process are more apt to remain on task in the classroom environment. This research study took place in a medium sized high school in the Pacific Northwest. The seventy five participant were enrolled in three separate U.S. History classes. The learning activities, instructional methods, and student behavioral responses were tabulated through a series of classroom observations. The study culminated with student surveys to determine the student participant's perceptions of the instructional strategies utilized. The results obtained in this research highlights the frequency of instructional time spent in relatively passive methods versus active . learning techniques and the corresponding likelihood that students will disengage from the learning process and gravitate toward off-task behavior as a result.


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