What is SCALE-UP?

Did you know that the Teaching Centre together with the Learning Environment Evaluation project (LEE) are delving into new pedagogies this fall? It turns out that these pedagogies work best when there are classrooms that facilitate them. One of these is SCALE-UP, which we’ll portray briefly below.

SCALE-UP stands for Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies. And to figure out what that means, you just need to dissect the acronym a little bit, which we’ll do here:

  1. Student Centered.

In SCALE-UP, lectures have a very minimal place (limit: 15 min per session, if you have to do it at all!). The instructor does not take the stage, but acts as a guide on the side. Here, especially, the SCALE-UP classroom facilitates the SCALE-UP pedagogy: This classroom has fixed tables designed for students to sit in teams and groups, an instructor station in the centre of the room, and no front of the room. The students are the focus of attention. Students collaborate in teams of 3, or groups of several teams based on table size (6 or 9). Roles and responsibilities within the groups are clearly defined to maximize participation and contribution to the process.

  1. Active Learning.

In active learning, the responsibility of learning lies with the students, not with the instructor. There are carefully designed tangible and ponderable activities for students during class to engage in problem solving. This can be followed by whole-class discussion or group presentations.

  1. Upside-down Pedagogy.

This is also known as the Flipped Classroom. Materials are delivered to students prior to class (e.g., textbook readings, PowerPoint presentations, video). Instructors have to carefully think about how to design and utilize these. You don’t just want to put your lecture into a video, because a presentation is a presentation is a presentation, which SCALE-UP tries to minimize. Remember, the focus is on students actively engaging with the material at every step of the way.

Stay tuned for our A Light On Teaching Magazine this fall, featuring two articles on Active Learning and SCALE-UP! In the meantime, we encourage you to visit the LEE project site to learn more: http://www.uleth.ca/teachingcentre/lee/activelearning