Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

Big Surprise — NOT!: Study Says Students Are More Successful With “Active Learning” Than With Lectures


I’ve written a lot about how active learning is more effective than lectures (see The Best Research Demonstrating That Lectures Are Not The Best Instructional Strategy).

A big New York Times article headlined Active Role in Class Helps Black and First-Generation College Students, Study Says discusses yet another study that reinforces that view.

Here is how it begins:

The trend away from classes based on reading and listening passively to lectures, and toward a more active role for students, has its most profound effects on black students and those whose parents did not go to college, a new study of college students shows.

Active learning raised average test scores more than 3 percentage points, and significantly reduced the number of students who failed the exams, the study found. The score increase was doubled, to more than 6 percentage points, for black students and first-generation college students.

For black students, that gain cut in half their score gap with white students. It eliminated the gap between first-generation students and other students.

I’m adding it to the “Best” list mentioned at the beginning of the post.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. There is one flaw in studies such as these. They assume that all students are alike. They are not. The active learning approach is tailored for extroverts who make up more than 1/2 of the population. The approach can be very painful and counterproductive for introverts, who reflect upon information before being forced to talk about it.

    To compound things an introverts’ reluctance to talk about a subject without reflection is judged as non cooperative or even dullness. Active learning and forced interaction without reflection is torture for some. I speak from experience.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Skip to toolbar