Interaction Arts – The “Fishbowl” Activity

 

In the last post I wrote about  Liat Ben-David’s concept of “The Four Arts” in education, one of which is “Interaction Arts” that include; curiosity, imagination, motivation, teamwork, activism and sustainability.  Today I want to give one tip for initiating an interactive art in the classroom. Students naturally like to work together on assignments. There are some students who prefer working alone, which is fine; however, one of the skills that we should promote in our classrooms, which will be essential for their future, is working together, discussing issues and coming to conclusions or decisions.

The idea of “fishbowl” came from students I once taught from a school in New York. Oftentimes we have questions about material that we teach and we ask students to answer in writing or we ask the questions orally in class and have students raise their hands and wait until we acknowledge them before answering. “Fishbowl” is a cooperative interactive activity that encourages students to work together and to arrive at an answer through discussion. Here is how it works:

Fishbowl Activity

The teacher chooses a group (no larger than 6 students) to sit in a circle (in chairs) in the center of the classroom. They are in the “fishbowl”.  The teacher then gives them a question. It could be connected to a review on the material before a test or a problem that they have to solve that introduces a new unit. I use this for reviews before literature exams but the possibilities are endless.

The students in the “fishbowl” discuss the question or problem amongst themselves while the other students listen and/or take notes. If a student, not in the “fishbowl”, would like to enter into the discussion he/she must raise his/her hand and be invited to join the group by someone in the center.

One of the best aspects of the “fishbowl” activity is that the teacher is not the center of learning! It is a motivational activity that encourages students to pool their knowledge and experience and to arrive at answers or conclusions as part of a process.

I have had students relate to me that they learned more about the subject through “fishbowl” discussions than they did listening in class or working on the questions alone. Knowledge is something that is acquired through hard work, experience and a collaborative effort. The “fishbowl” activity allows for all of those forces to come together. In other words it engenders learning!

I hope that you will feel free to share some of your interactive arts activities in the classroom with our readers.

Until next time,

Karen

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