Keeping a classroom engaged can be a difficult task more often than not. However, research has shown that students learn more and perform better when their teachers implement strategies to actively increase engagement. Therefore it is necessary to use these strategies as the overall understanding and attitude of children can greatly improve. Take a look at just some of our ideas for you to take your classroom to the next level!
1. Take time to get to know your students
It is important to get to know your students as well as them getting to know you. As a teacher, you may walk into a classroom and expect the students to respect you without having done anything to earn that respect. Although it would be ideal, this is not how it works. Building a strong relationship with your students will take time but will be very worthwhile in the end, as they will feel more comfortable and respect you more.
That being said, here are some things you can do to build that relationship. First, you can go around and greet each student individually. Ask them how they are doing and if they want to talk about anything. They will feel noticed and valued, showing just how much you care. They may not want to talk but you being there for them is a gesture that can start a strong relationship.
Getting to know each student is fundamental. They all have different personalities, and knowing these will provide you with a better understanding of how they will interact with each other. Take time to show you care what is going on in their lives as well. If they seem upset, find out why. Let them know that you’re there to listen. This will go a long way.
2. Encourage classroom participation through active learning
It is very common for students to become distracted during lessons, so sitting quietly and listening to a teacher speak for 45 minutes can be very tiring. Active learning can be an approach to tackle this issue. This includes group discussions where they can debate a topic, Q&A’s and hands-on activities. By being actively involved in the lesson there is less room for distraction. Furthermore, engaging in these activities will promote learning and understanding of the subject, as ideas are being connected.
Examples include having students share their knowledge of a topic prior to it being taught. It helps the classroom gain an understanding of the subject and establish a foundation of knowledge when learning new information.
Walk around surveys consist of having students study a topic and then go around the room explaining what they have learnt to other students. They will be able share what they have learnt which supports their understanding of the topic, and they will also discover what others have learnt.
3. Give students choices
Letting your students have a say on what goes on in the class can make them enthusiastic, feel more appreciated and in turn motivate them.
Choice can come in different forms, whether that is the material they study, the type of projects and assignments they complete during the year, who they work with on projects, etc. This can boost their engagement in lessons and increase their involvement as they are given the opportunity to make important decisions and meet their needs as individuals.
4. Set clear expectations and goals
If students do not know what is expected of them they are less likely to succeed. At the start of term and before lessons, make sure you are reminding your students of your expectations. This can be verbally, or you could provide them with a written document stating what you expect. They will be more confident.
Discuss why the class will be relevant to them and how it will help them going forward. This will allow them to understand more about the benefits of the subject and incline them to become more involved in classroom activity.
Overall, it is important to work on engaging students from the moment you start teaching them. This will set an example for what will be expected of them throughout the year and how to approach learning in your classroom.