Using 360 Degree Learning in the Music Classroom

What is 360 Degree Learning ?

(Photo credits: Don Holtz)

360 degree learning is a revolutionary way of learning, designed specifically for math classrooms. It is a highly structured technique based on social, neurological, and educational research.

In a 360 degree math class,  students get to work through the math on the four walls of the classroom while the teacher stands right in the middle of the room and sees the learning as it happens.

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If a student has trouble, the teacher can get to him or her immediately and offer suggestions. The students can also learn by watching and talking with other students who are working on similar material.

Adapting 360 Degree Learning for the Music Classroom

The 360 degree learning method sounds all fancy and wonderful for a math class, but can it be used in a music classroom with any success?

In my music class, I have students set up in a semi-circle where they can see a screen showing the song we are currently singing and strumming. You can watch He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by 4th graders below to get what I am saying.

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The lyrics change color to show where the chords change. An example of Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me with color coded lyrics is shown below.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 3.44.00 PMThere is a rhythmic and harmonic background accompaniment recording playing to keep the students together.  The students who need a lot of help get more of my time; students who need less help simply practice the song.

Benefits

Now to the bottom line. How is 360 degree learning better than the conventional teaching methods?

  • circle of ukulelesWell, to begin with, you, the teacher can now see what a student is doing wrong instantly and provide real-time feedback. This helps curb problems before they start.
  • It also helpsin planning for future lessons to notice what a student or students did not learn easily.
  • The students shift from being spectators in the classroom to become the actual performers. The teacher becomes the audience. This active participation forces students to make an effort at learning the material.

    “A student will be less inclined to throw pieces of folded paper at his or her friend with the 360 degree learning method.”

  • In 360 degree learning, students tend to naturally form into social networks of learning.  The students get to bond and help one another to grow. All this, with the teacher’s help added, ensures students fully understand the material.

I have had tremendous success using the 360 degree learning method. When I test the students taught with this method, all of them have been able to both strum and sing by themselves. The 360 degree learning is certainly a very useful and fantastic way of teaching in a music classroom.

Happy strumming!

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