Creating an engaging learning environment can be a challenge at times for any classroom teacher. But you really want your students to be engrossed in the subject you’re teaching.
When kids are engaged and attentive, I’ve found that they’re better listeners and respond quicker to instructions. Plus, they look like they’re learning and having fun.
Here are several ways to help engage with students and make the classroom more interesting, light and beneficial for learning. I’ve based these on my own experiences as a late-elementary school teacher. But the student engagement strategies also draw on research into what’s effective across all age groups.
1. Make Classes Interactive
Unless you are a truly fantastic presenter, your students could become bored very quickly when they’re only hearing you talk. Involving your students in discussion is a time-honored method to keep attention levels up and manage a classroom effectively.
One of the best ways to gauge your students’ understanding is to ask questions or let them ask questions. Give the students a chance to give their opinion over debatable issues.
You should let your students be part of the class as much as possible. Interactivity is vital for struggling students and can be used to engage advanced students as well.
2. Create Classroom Games
Everybody likes playing games of some sought. Whether at an elementary or higher education level, playing games is a classic method to activate the student’s thoughts and engage them in the topic.
Academic puzzles, science toys (such as terrariums, specimen rocks and microscopes) and mind-challenging games can be incorporated in lessons. You can also create competitive games in a class where students try to outshine each other in groups or as individuals.
3. Give Students Choices
Do your students have any say over what happens in your class? The class will feel appreciated and gain enthusiasm when you involve students in decision making. For example, for the subject, you could let students choose between doing a project on dinosaurs or modern reptiles.
No matter how young they may be, students have ideas that might help improve the learning environment. You can do this without handing over control, such as to give them options to choose from or create an activity that requires decision making.
4. Use Technology
Technology usually arouses people’s interest, even us grownups. Students love experimenting with devices such as tablets, phones and computers. Technology and videos, when used in the classroom sparingly, form an effective way to get students interested in the lesson.
If you choose to use technology, try to really connect the technology to learning rather than allowing it to be a distraction from subject.
Including online communication is also a way to start teaching netiquette to older children. Generally, you need to use academic standard approved devices, software and other online resources that are optimized for the classroom environment.
5. Relate Material to Students’ Lives
Learning materials that relate to real life boost student engagement immediately and are often more memorable. If you realize that your students seem to be losing attention or do not understand what you’re teaching, try to inject real-life examples.
For instance, if a student asks you why you teach about money, do not use a “because” answer. Use a practical life example such as, ” We need money to buy things in life.” You can make it clear by demonstration or using examples.
6. Incorporate Mystery In Your Lessons
Find a way of creating suspense in your lessons. You can give students hints about your next lesson and tell them to find out more information. You can even set a reward for the students who discover things on their own.
Find something each time to turn the lesson into a bit of a problem solving quest. Using mysteries and investigation can really boost the mood of the class.