Introduction
Active learning takes place when students get engaged with the course elements, take responsibility over learning, are motivated to pursue inside and outside classroom learning, and when they are active participants in classroom activities. Since a large volume of research confirms that active learning improves both the process and outcome of learning, instructors should be able to plan and deliver meaningful, substantive, relevant, and learnerdependent classroom activities (Prince, 2004; Shawer, 2022). At the heart of learner engagement with learning is the ability to use active learning strategies. In this article, I demonstrate how to use the modified fishbowl in real classrooms. The discussion proceeds in this order:
 Why to use the modified fishbowl?
 How to conduct the modified fishbowl?
 Modified fishbowl examples
Why to use the modified fishbowl?
The modified fishbowl encourages active learning in different ways. On the one hand, learners go through various activity modes, including solo, pair group, small group, and whole group. It is the students who actively carry out the learning activities. For example, they perform, observe, peer assess, selfreflect, and discuss ideas in the same lesson. On the other hand, instructors encourage active engagement with learning through learnercentered roles they play. Being organizers, guides, and facilitators, instructors create a context for students to take active roles. These changing roles of both instructors and learners keep learning activities interactive and interesting. Instructors may use the modified fishbowl to:
 encourage active observation and experimentation of new learning.
 encourage peer feedback and selfreflection.
 develop and refine ideas and solutions.
 promote communication, critical thinking, and evaluative skills.
 help students learn new concepts, correct misconceptions, and draw conclusions.
How to conduct the modified fishbowl?
Instructors may use four steps to conduct the modified fishbowl activities:
Step 1: Present fishbowl topic
Step 2: Determine fishbowl tasks
Step 3: Use a grouping strategy
Step 4: Conduct fishbowl activities
Step 1: Present fishbowl topic
 Time: 1 minute.
 Activity mode: whole class.
 Instructor’s role: organizer.
 Learner’s role: active listeners and participants.
As Fig 1 shows, instructors start with introducing the lesson topic to students through multiple strategies. To engage them with the topic, instructors may use Merrill’s (2002) first two principles (engage and activate) as well as Gagne et al.’s (1992) first three principles of instruction (gain attention, inform learner of learning objectives, and recall of prior learning). Part of presenting the fishbowl topic is to set the tasks you want your groups to perform or demonstrate. For example, instructors may ask students to create a table of test specifications.
Step 2: Determine fishbowl tasks
 Time: 4 minutes.
 Activity mode: whole class.
 Instructor’s role: organizer.
 Learners’ role: active listeners and participants.
The next step is to determine the fishbowl tasks (Fig 1). You may, for example, ask students to do these five tasks: (1) write the test aim and assessment targets (learning outcomes (LOs) to be measured), (2) determine the test content, (3) calculate content weights, (4) calculate LOs weights, and (5) assign test items according to content and LOs weights.
Fig 1. The modified fishbowl strategy.
Step 3: Use a fishbowl grouping strategy
 Time: 5 minutes.
 Activity mode: a whole class.
 Instructor’s role: organizer.
 Learners’ role: performers/ doers/ participants, and observers.
 Participants: Instructor and students.
 Purpose: determine the knowledge and skills to be achieved (big change).
 LOs: define what students would know and be able to do (small changes).
You may draw an inner ring and an outer ring. The inner ring is used by the fishbowl group (also inner ring, discussion group, group A) that will perform or demonstrate the tasks. In contrast, the outer ring is used by the observing group (also outer ring, group B) who observe to learn the new knowledge and skills and to provide feedback to the fishbowl group against a rubric. As such, observing groups must take notes to demonstrate what they learned, what remained unanswered, and how fishbowl groups performed. You may use one of two grouping strategies:
 Strategy 1: sametask pair grouping
 Strategy 2: differenttask pair grouping
Strategy 1: sametask pair grouping
Divide your class into pair groups where every two groups work on the same task. All pair groups must do the same task at the same time and that every group must have an opportunity to both perform and observe each task. For example, if you assign task 1 for 6 groups, then you would have 3 fishbowl and 3 observing groups who do task 1 at the same time. Moreover, pair groups work in this order:
First: Perform and observe: Fishbowl groups perform task 1 for observing groups. Observing groups observe fishbowl groups while performing task 1.
Second: Group switch: Fishbowl groups become observing groups and vice versa.
Third: Whole class discussion: Instructor brings all groups to a whole class discussion.
This strategy encourages students to learn target knowledge and skills from peers and allows learning and feedback on a common reference (target skills). It gives every student an opportunity to observe and perform the same task, learn the same knowledge and skills, and provide feedback against the same criteria (rubric). Moreover, task instructions stay the same after group switch. Most important, because all groups perform and observe the same task at the same time, it allows instructors to bring all groups to a whole class discussion after each activity. Furthermore, it allows experiential learning where students use new learning in practice situations. However, this is a timeconsuming strategy because each task is conducted twice.
Strategy 2: differenttask pair grouping
Like strategy 1, the class is not only divided into pair groups but also works on the same task and at the same time. Unlike strategy 1, this strategy requires every group to either perform or observe tasks. For example, if you assign task 1 and 2 for 6 groups (3 pair groups), the 3 groups who perform task 1 will not have an opportunity to observe task 1. After group switch, the three groups who observed task 1 perform task 2 (not task 1). Overall, groups conduct tasks in this order:
First: Perform and observe: Fishbowl groups (groups A) perform task 1 to observing groups (groups B). Observing groups observe fishbowls do task 1.
Second: Whole class discussion: Instructor brings all groups to a whole class discussion.
Third: Group switch: Fishbowl groups become observing groups and vice versa. Observing groups (now fishbowls) perform task 2 (not task 1). Fishbowl groups (now observing groups) observe task 2 (not task 1).
Like strategy 1, this strategy encourages students to learn target knowledge and skills from peers and still allows learning and feedback on a common reference (target skills). It also allows instructors to bring the whole class to discuss the same task. Unlike strategy 1, it has different task instructions after group switch in that groups either perform or observe tasks, not both. Unlike strategy 1, whole class discussion takes place before group switch (Fig 1). Moreover, unlike strategy 1, this strategy is a time saver because each task is performed only once.
Step 4: Conduct fishbowl activities
 Tasks: determine the number of tasks to do.
 Grouping strategy: choose of the two grouping strategies.
 Time: 30 minutes (Fishbowl groups: 15 min. Observing groups: 15 min.).
 Activity mode: small group for fishbowls and solo for observing groups.
 Instructor’s role: organizer, observer, guide, and facilitator.
 Learners’ role: doers/ participants.
 Participants: instructor and students.
 Target learning: determine the knowledge and skills to be achieved.
 LOs: define what students would know and be able to do.
Instructors move on to carry out the learning activities to achieve each of the tasks they have determined for their lesson. Depending on the grouping strategy used, instructors can conduct the fishbowl using three activities:
 First: Perform and observe activities
 Second: Group switch activities
 Third: Whole class discussion activity
First: Perform and observe activity
As Fig 1 shows, this activity involves two parts, preforming and observing. To conduct the performing part, ask fishbowl groups to stand on or sit at the inner rings. Alternatively, ask each fishbowl to perform before one or more observing groups. In both cases, you would have multiple learning stations. Next, ask fishbowl groups to perform one task at a time. Precisely, fishbowl groups must teach the topic or present their case to help observing groups understand and develop target knowledge and skills. To help them carry out the activity, provide fishbowl students with the task material and instructions. Moreover, instructors must determine the outputs expected by both the performing and observing groups. For example, the test aim and assessment targets are one output of the test specifications table task.
On the other hand, observing groups stand on or sit at the outer rings to observe fishbowl groups so that they achieve two purposes: (1) learn target knowledge and skills, and (2) provide feedback to the fishbowl groups. This means every observing student should write notes on what they learned from the fishbowl task. Moreover, every student should prepare feedback (oral, written, and/ or video) on the fishbowl collective and individual performance against a rubric. To help the observing groups learn and assess performance, you need to set the target knowledge and skills every observing student achieve. You should also provide an analytic rubric for every observing student to assess the fishbowl group performance.
Second: Group switch activities
Having groups performed and observed a task, groups switch roles and tasks (Fig 1). Whether task instructions stay the same after group switch depends on the grouping strategy. For example, while strategy 1 requires every group to both perform and observe each task, strategy 2 groups either perform or observe. Moreover, while group switch is second in strategy 1, it comes third in strategy 2.
Third: Whole class discussion activity
 Time: 10 minutes per task.
 Activity mode: whole group.
 Instructor’s role: facilitator.
 Learners’ role: show learning, provide feedback, and respond to questions.
 Participants: instructor and students.
 Purpose: check if target knowledge and skills achieved.
 LOs: check if students can demonstrate target knowledge and skills.
 Outputs: list of LOs achieved and list of feedback items.
As Fig 1 shows, instructors bring all students for a whole class discussion to allow them to demonstrate what they learned from the performing group, what the fishbowl did not answer, and what remained confusing and unanswered for the observing group. On the other hand, observing students tell the class what the performing group did well and what they need to improve. While facilitating this discussion, instructor develop ideas, corrects misunderstanding and misconceptions and provides necessary information. With your class and as appropriate, try to address these points:
 Make a decision or conclusion on X.
 List the facts, concepts, and theories underlying X and Y.
 Explain how the information learned can be used in other situations.
 List the elements of X and Y.
 List the skills required to do X and Y.
 Compare and contrast X and Y.
 Justify why X should come before Y.
 Explain the impact of X on Y and vice versa.
 List the consequences of X and Y for Z (Shawer, 2022).
Modified fishbowl examples
Below, I demonstrate how the modified fishbowl can be conducted when instructors adopt the two grouping strategies:
 Grouping strategy 1: sametask pair grouping
 Grouping strategy 2: Differenttask pair grouping
Grouping strategy 1: sametask pair grouping
In this example, I demonstrate how to conduct the fishbowl strategy in real classrooms according to the sametask pair grouping strategy (strategy 1). I will also follow the same above four steps.
Step 1: Present fishbowl topic


 Time: 5 minutes.
 Activity mode: whole class.
 Instructor’s role: organizer.
 Learners’ role: active listeners and participants.
 Participants: instructor and students.

 For example, ask your students to “plan and conduct a lesson”.
 Use the whiteboard or a projector to display these lesson aims and LOs:
Aims: By the end of the lesson, you will be able to:
 plan and conduct the bridgein and preassessment activities
 plan and conduct the participatory activities.
 plan and conduct the postassessment and summary activities
LOs: By the end of the lesson, you will be able to:
 Plan the bridgein activity
 Write the lesson aim
 Write lesson LOs at the relevant thinking levels (e.g., remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and/or create).
 Plan the preassessment activity.
 Carry out the bridgein and preassessment activities.
 Determine the number of participatory activities to achieve your LOs.
 Plan how to conduct and assess each participatory activity.
 Carry out each participatory activity.
 Plan the postassessment and summary activities.
 Carry out postassessment and summary activities.
 Present the sessions aims and LOs briefly at this point.
Step 2: Determine fishbowl tasks


 Time: 5 minutes.
 Activity mode: whole class.
 Instructor’s role: organizer.
 Learners’ role: active listeners.
 Participants: instructor and students.
 Tasks: 3 tasks.

 Based on the lesson aim and LOs, ask students to plan and conduct these tasks:
Task 1: plan and conduct the bridgein and preassessment activities
 Plan the bridgein activity
 Write the lesson aim
 Write lesson LOs at the relevant thinking levels (e.g., remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and/or create).
 Plan the preassessment activity.
 Carry out the bridgein and preassessment activities.
Task 2: plan and conduct the participatory activities
 Determine the number of participatory activities to achieve your LOs.
 Plan how to conduct each participatory activity.
 Plan how to assess each participatory activity.
 Carry out each participatory activity.
Task 3: plan and conduct the postassessment and summary activities
 Plan the postassessment
 Plan the summary activity.
 Carry out postassessment and summary activities.
Step 3: Use a grouping strategy


 Time: 5 minutes.
 Activity mode: whole class.
 Instructor’s role: organizer.
 Learners’ role: active listeners and participants.
 Participants: instructor and students.
 Strategy 1: sametask pair grouping.
 Groups: (e.g., 3 pair groups, 6 groups, 29 students).

 Divide the class into pair groups.
 Ask all pair groups perform the same task at the same time.
Step 4: Conduct fishbowl activities
First: Perform and observe
 Tasks: task 1: plan and conduct the bridgein and preassessment activities.
 Time: 15 minutes.
 Participants: students, 3 pair groups (3 perform & 3 observe).
 Activity mode: small group for groups A and solo for groups B.
 Instructor’s role: organizer and observer.
 Learners’ role: active doers/ participants.
 Task aim and LOs: stated above.
 Outputs: activity plan, learning list, and feedback list.
Performing: Fishbowl groups
 As flipped or normal classroom, ask fishbowl groups to stand in the inner ring or perform in front of the observing groups in multiple learning stations.
 Ask fishbowl groups to perform task 1 to demonstrate target knowledge and skills to the observing groups.
 Resources:




 Provide every group with the task instructions.
 Provide every student with a copy of the lesson material.




 Outputs: Plans of three activities.
Observing: Observing groups
 Ask observing groups to stand on or sit at the outer rings.
 Ask observing groups to observe fishbowl groups so that they:
 (1) learn target knowledge and skills, and
 (2) assess the fishbowl task performance to provide them with feedback.
 Ask every observing student to write notes on what they learned.
 Ask every observing student to prepare feedback (oral, written, and/ or video) for the fishbowl students against the rubric.
 Remind them to ask questions and document what they learned.
 Set target knowledge and skills for the observing groups to learn. Precisely, ask every observing student to write notes on:


 What they learned from fishbowl performance (learning achieved).
 What remained unanswered (learning struggles).
 What the fishbowl did well against the rubric (feedback).
 What the fishbowl needs to improve against the rubric (feedback).


 Observing group resources:


 provide every observing group with the task instructions and LOs.
 provide every observing student with a copy of the lesson material.
 provide an analytic rubric for assessing the fishbowl performance.
 provide a recording software to help provide video feedback to fishbowl students.


 Observing groups outputs:


 Learning list of what they learned from the fishbowl or still need to learn.
 Feedback list for the fishbowl on what went well and needs improvement.


Second: Group switch
 Tasks: still task 1.
 Time: 15 minutes.
 Participants: same as before group switch.
 Activity mode: same as before group switch.
 Instructors’ role: same as before group switch.
 Learner’s role: same as before group switch.
 Task aim and LOs: same as before group switch.
 Outputs: same as before group switch.
 Observing groups become fishbowl groups and vice versa.
 Task instructions stay the same after group switch.
Third: Whole class discussion


 Tasks: still task 1.
 Time: 10 minutes.
 Participants: instructor and students.
 Activity mode: whole group.
 Instructor’s role: facilitator.
 Learners’ role: students show learning, provide feedback, and respond to questions.
 Purpose: check student ability to demonstrate target learning and give feedback.
 Outputs: activity plan, learning list, and feedback list.

 Bring all students to a whole class discussion to demonstrate what they learned from the performing group, what they did not answer, and what remained confusing and unanswered.
 Ask them to tell the class what the performing group did well and what still needs to improve. While facilitating discussion, develop ideas, correct misunderstanding and misconceptions and provide necessary information.
 With your class and as appropriate, try to address these points:
 Which of Gagne et al.’s (1992) nine and Merrill’s (2002) five principles of instruction underlie the bridgein and preassessment activities?
 Which strategies could be used to engage students with the new learning?
 Which strategies could be used to activate prior learning?
 How do Bloom’s (1956) levels of thinking impact lesson planning and delivery?
 How does Anderson et al.’s (2001) revision differ from Bloom’s taxonomy?
 How would students use the knowledge and skills to plan and conduct the bridgein and preassessment activities in other situations?
 What are the elements of planning and conducting the bridgein and preassessment activities? What skills do they need to plan and conduct them?
 Compare engagement with learning and activation of prior learning.
 Having finished task 1, the class moves on to do tasks 2 and 3 in the same way.
Grouping strategy 2: differenttask pair grouping
In this example, I briefly demonstrate how to conduct the fishbowl strategy in real classrooms according to strategy 2 (differenttask pair grouping).
Step 1: Present fishbowl topic: Same as strategy 1.
Step 2: Determine fishbowl tasks: The same 3 tasks as strategy 1.
Step 3: Use a grouping strategy
 Strategy 2: differenttask pair grouping.
 Total: Same as strategy 1 (3 pair groups, 6 groups, 29 students).
Step 4: Conduct fishbowl activities
First: Perform and observe:
 Tasks: task 1 (plan and conduct the bridgein and preassessment activities).
 Time: 15 minutes.
 Participants: same as strategy 1.
 Groups 1, 3, and 5 (fishbowl groups) perform task 1.
 Groups 2, 4, and 6 (observing groups) observe fishbowl groups do task 1.
Second: Whole class discussion:
 Tasks: task 1 (plan and conduct the bridgein and preassessment activities).
 Time: 15 minutes.
 Participants: instructor and the six groups.
 Bring all groups into a whole group discussion. This involves the instructor, fishbowl groups (groups 1, 3, and 5) who performed task 1, as well as observing groups (groups 2, 4, and 6) who observed task 1.
 They conduct whole class discussion in the same way as strategy 1.
 Having finished task 1, the class moves on to do task 2 in the same way.
Third: Group switch:
Group switch 1
First: Perform and observe:
 Tasks: task 2 (plan and conduct the participatory activities).
 Time: 15 minutes.
 Participants: 3 groups perform and their 3 pair groups observe them do task 2.
 Groups 2, 4, and 6 (now fishbowl groups) perform task 2 (not task 1).
 Groups 1, 3, and 5 (now observing groups) observe fishbowl groups perform task 2.
Second: Whole class discussion:
 Tasks: task 2 (plan and conduct the participatory activities).
 Time: 15 minutes.
 Participants: instructor and the same 3 pair groups (6 groups) who did task 2.
 Bring all groups to discuss task 2.
 Having finished task 2, the class moves on to do task 3 in the same way.
Group switch 2
First: Perform and observe:
 Tasks: task 3 (plan and conduct the postassessment and summary activities).
 Time: 15 minutes.
 Participants: instructor and the same 3 pair groups (6 groups) who did task 2.
 Groups 1, 3, and 5 become fishbowl groups for the second time to perform task 3 (not task 1 or 2).
 Groups 2, 4, and 6 now become observing groups for the second time to observe fishbowl groups perform task 3.
Second: Whole class discussion:
 Tasks: task 3 (plan and conduct the postassessment and summary activities).
 Time: 15 minutes.
 Participants: instructor and the same 3 pair groups (6 groups) who did task 3.
 Bring all groups to discuss task 3 in the same way as strategy 1.
References
Anderson, L., Krathwohl, D., Airasian, P., Cruikshank, K., Mayer, R., Pintrich, P., et al. (Eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. Allyn & Bacon
Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. In Cognitive domain (Vol. 1). Longmans.
Gagné, R. M., Briggs, L. J., & Wager, W. W. (1992). Principles of instructional design (4^{th} ed.). Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers.
Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(3), 4359.
Prince, M. (2004) Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of Engineering Education 93 (3) 223231. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.21689830.2004.tb00809.x.
Shawer, S. F. (2022). The 3C strategy for traditional and online active learning. novapublishers.com.