Undoubtedly, the most concerning challenge that teachers have faced throughout history is how to engage students in the classroom. Despite all your constant efforts, well-prepared lessons, and different ideas, if the student remains disengaged and unmotivated, it eventually affects your performance. Nonetheless, slacking down for a teacher is never an option, as you shoulder the responsibility of educating the young and bright minds. Therefore, you must utilize various teaching strategies and techniques to fulfill this responsibility and ensure that your class is motivated to engage in different learning activities.
For this purpose, the new education models focus on empowering the students and finding positive solutions to their predicaments. The aim is to increase student participation in the classroom and, in return, provide them with an opportunity to uncover their skills. Moreover, an engaging learning environment makes lessons more interesting and intriguing.
So, some valuable tips you can utilize to encourage your students to participate in a positive learning environment are:
1. Keep the learning bite-sized
A recurring issue with classroom engagement is that students no longer have a long attention span. The use of technology in current years has decreased the attention span of an average student drastically. Nowadays, an individual’s attention span averages 8-12 seconds before something else distracts them. Therefore, keeping this alarming factor in mind, you must deliver your lecture in bite-size information.
Try to break the information into small chunks, and then mix up your method of delivering these chunks. Utilizing various unconventional teaching strategies will also prove monumental in grasping attention. These learning techniques are especially crucial for teachers who attend to students with special needs. For this reason, many schools are encouraging teachers to pursue the MAT special education degree online and benefit from multiple teaching styles. This program allows teachers to understand the learning needs of special children and what steps the teacher can take to ensure an engaging learning experience.
However, one rule you must keep in mind, irrespective of every other factor, is matching the average age of students with their attention span. Let’s say if you teach a class of 15-year-old students, then deliver your lecture in chunks of 15-25 minutes.
2. Don’t do all the teaching yourself
The traditional teaching model places the teacher at the center of the classroom, where students are simply respondents. The teacher delivers the lecture, and the students listen with little participation or discussion. However, contemporary teaching models enable students to steer classroom discussions.
This method of teaching and learning follows the flipped learning technique. It’s a technique that encourages knowledge acquisition and learning outside the traditional classroom setting. Instead, it takes place somewhere that incites interest in the students and encourages discussion.
For this purpose, you can provide your students with worksheets or give them projects to participate in group discussions actively. In such scenarios, your role will be to engage your students, encourage them, evaluate their work, and give feedback if necessary.
3. Make groups to boost participation
Making groups for different activities and projects is a surefire way to get students to learn from each other. However, you must ensure that the groups you make are suitable for the project at hand. Typically, teachers tend to divide students based on academic capabilities only.
Academic capabilities are not the only criteria that ensure successful group work. You must understand the student dynamics and their ability to work together smoothly. For this reason, opt to make diverse groups with students from all gender and races and different sets of subskills who can learn from each other.
4. Give your students a voice
Unarguably, your students should have a say in the way things proceed in your class. Of course, the end decisions lie in your hand, but there are matters where involving the students can prove worthwhile. A classroom should feel like a democratic space where every student’s voice matters, and they feel like they have some level of power in the classroom. Of course, this aspect also lasts to an extent, but it still helps build confidence and empower the students. Therefore, you must show your students that their thoughts and opinions matter in the class and the outside world.
5. Involve digital learning
Amidst the age of digitization, learning methods have transformed in the leu of all the changes emerging around us. Technology is rapidly penetrating the education sector, from leveraging technology in the classrooms to providing students with learning gadgets at home. It encourages students to actively learn and participate in projects and assignments.
For example, you can encourage students to make online animations or use free applications to make a small video for a class project. Not only will it make learning more interesting, but it’ll also help them polish technological skills that will help them in the future.
6. Use the jigsaw strategy
When assigning a big project or covering extensive content in the classroom, teachers can divide the learning into the jigsaw strategy. In the jigsaw strategy, students learn about a specific subtopic of the subject and become experts in that specific thing. Then, they teach that topic to the rest of the class in a mock teaching method. Since the student is tasked with teaching the class, they put more effort into researching and learning about the topic.
This activity helps in improving students’ communication skills and helps students get out of their comfort zone. It also polishes their research skills and allows them to learn about new topics themselves without the guided assistance of a teacher or mentor.
Given today’s ever-transforming education field, you can adopt numerous methods to deliver engaging lessons in the class. Nonetheless, it’s indispensable to consider the student’s proficiency level before delivering these lessons. Moreover, you must also understand that not all students can actively keep up with one learning mode. So, ensure that you utilize different teaching techniques to grasp students’ attention and keep them engaged. But most of all, you must focus on empowering the students. Learn to take their stance and enable them to voice their opinions without any fear of criticism.