Harvard Kennedy School engages students through active learning to prepare them for complex, real-world challenges.
Active learning at Harvard Kennedy School
With help from SLATE, faculty and students have been experimenting with new approaches that are changing the very nature of what happens in the classroom, and beyond.
SLATE has curated the following collection of tools and techniques to help bring this style of learning into classrooms.
Active Learning Database
ABLConnect, hosted by the Harvard Derek Bok Center for Teaching & Learning, is a database of ideas, materials, and other resources for incorporating active learning into post-secondary classrooms.
- Effective Classroom Discussions (IDEA Center)
- Engaging Students in the Classroom and Beyond (short videos from the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching)
- Questioning, Listening and Responding (Harvard Business School Christensen Center for Teaching & Learning)
- Using Discussion Questions Effectively (University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning & Teaching)
Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Classroom
The following materials are designed to enhance our capacity to leverage diversity and create inclusive, productive learning experiences for all:
- Inclusive Teaching – Evidence-Based Practice
- Guidelines for Discussing Difficult or Controversial Topics
- Managing Hot Moments in the Classroom
- Calling on Students in Equitable Ways
What happens when a faculty member finds that he or she has more course content than the time allotted in class? How can an instructor ensure that all the material will be covered but still leave enough time for questions, feedback, and conversations that may slightly deviate from the planned structure of the lesson?
The following tip sheet contains some helpful suggestions for addressing these concerns.
See this tip sheet for 14 strategies for motivating students to read in preparation for class.
Managing heterogeneity (in levels of preparation, experience, English-speaking abilities, etc.)
See this summary of suggestions from an HKS teaching seminar on "Teaching Students with Different Levels of Preparation."
Making classroom minutes count
SLATE is working with faculty to develop innovative ways to deliver basic content online before the class so that precious class time can be used to foster interactive discussion and problem-solving.
Success in managing a class, especially in a course that relies heavily on class discussion, depends in large part on establishing clear rules of operation, preferably before the class starts. Moreover, it's easier to impose such rules when they are viewed as widely used in many classes. These seven rules were codified by a member of the HKS faculty and are recommended by the Degree Programs Office as an appropriate code for all HKS courses.
Another valuable resource is Solving Classroom Problems, an online tool from Carnegie Melon's Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence.
Engaging Outside Speakers
HKS carries tremendous convening power and international networks, and we encourage faculty to tap those networks, creating opportunities for students to engage practitioners and experts within courses.
The following tip sheet is based on remarks by HKS faculty Alan Altshuler and Meghan O'Sullivan at an HKS teaching seminar "Managing Outside Speakers: Engaging Opportunities and Avoiding Pitfalls."
For information on working with CAs and TFs as well as videos on case teaching and leading discussions, we invite HKS faculty to visit us on KNet (password required).