Caught your students drifting off in class? Or doodling on the last pages of their registers? Or watch their eyes glaze as they daydream during a lecture?
We all know that kids have wild imaginations, and if they don’t find something exciting, they’ll find something else to engage in. As much as teachers believe in using props like videos and puppets, etc., in engaging students in a classroom, it just isn’t practical. Because things don’t involve students, they’re employed by you, it is imperative to learn and implement teaching methods for an engaging classroom.
“Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I remember. Involve me, and I learn.”
This quote perfectly summarizes the need for effective teaching methods that help engage a class and encourage active learning. In this blog, we explore some strategies that may improve student motivation to learn.
Warm-up with an attention-grabbing joke or fact
The students are already expecting something related to the subject. A boring introduction or course structure, perhaps? Give a jump start to their brains by veering off-topic and pulling them out of slumber by telling a joke or an interesting fact. This usually gives students a common ground to relate to you by making fun of your boomer jokes or presenting their smarts by repeating points like, “You know ants can count their steps because they have pedometers in their brains .”This strategy is similar to how diplomats and comedians warm up their crowd to focus attention on themselves and keep their audience engaged. It also helps in getting a read of the room and understanding what captures your students’ interest.
Connect to the real world and personalize your teaching palette
When I was a student, I always thought, ‘How will this ever help me in real life? Answer these questions by assimilating real-life examples to keep the classroom engaged. Talk about the interplay between Law and Marvel/DC movies, how Mathematics might help make a better goal, etc. Classrooms are heterogeneous environments, and it is the responsibility of the teachers to foster empathy for the diversity of students. Cater to all groups; the audio-visual learners, the note-takers, the debaters, the kinesthetics learners, the logic-driven minds, etc. alike by mapping out goals and expectations so students can be better prepared. Also, keep in mind the attention span of your audience. For example, kindergarteners have shorter spans than high-schoolers.
Talk with them, not at them
Do you wonder why you often fall asleep in a dark lecture hall where only the professor speaks? All the one-sided talk gets pretty mundane, and the students lose interest. The most essential teaching method for engaging a classroom is to discuss, deliberate, and doubt. This promotes thinking, which improves students’ attention span and allows the teacher to answer Q&As. Additionally, it does good to become a student once every while by letting students present their understanding of the topic and offer opinions to boost inquiries.
Encourage collaboration while creating projects that preserve individuality
“I want pin-drop silence in this class.”
This old command has never worked because students are relentless in talking and friendships. Use these relationships to your advantage by allotting team projects so students can benefit from each other’s perspectives. While critics point out the difficulty in marking project-based assignments, you are the master of your classroom. See what works best for your students to bolster their ideas and learning curves.
What to do when you’ve finished the syllabi? How do you fill the gaps in between two lessons? Instead of letting your students loiter around, fill these ‘slow times’ with techniques like Quick writes, Pair-share thinking, or Three-line summaries.
Quick write: Give prompts like ‘What can be the top two quiz questions from our lesson today or ‘What was the most intriguing topic of today’s lesson for you.
- Ask students to pair in twos or threes.
- Reflect on their understanding of the lesson.
- Maybe share with the class.
Three-line summaries: Let students draw their conclusions based on their learning.
These teaching methods for engaging classrooms have proven extraordinarily fruitful and are employed widely by teachers worldwide.
Always ask for feedback (keep it anonymous)
Do you remember being a student? How have you always had a complaint or suggestion that your professor didn’t teach this or could have taken a different approach? Well, let your students guide you into engaging them better. The anonymous feedback system makes the teaching-learning process more accountable and gives students the confidence to voice their needs. It also lets teachers introspect and improvise their teaching methods.
Keep everyone on their toes with surprises
Who doesn’t like a break or a game once every blue moon? You, by default, become the favorite and ‘cool’ teacher, which develops a bias in students’ minds to pay more attention to you as they find you attractive. So always keep a bag of tricks hidden behind your desk. Gamifying lesson plans or turning them into stories is a fantastic way to hold the attention of your classroom.
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