10 Tips for Improving Student Engagement
Reviewed by Jon Konen, District Superintendent
A room full of rambunctious children can be quite intimidating to both new and seasoned teachers. Luckily, teachers learn effective methods of engaging children whether they are trained in a bachelor’s degree or alternative certificate program. Even if you’ve been in the classroom for years, it can help to get back to the basics every now and again.
Ways to Engage and Retain the Attention of Your Students
- Provide visual aids when possible: Children, and all people, process and retain information differently and therefore benefit from various information delivery methods. Visual aids and handouts can stimulate these visual learners.
- Emphasize important concepts: Most students benefit from repetition, reiterating key concepts in lessons and reviewing material. Doing so in various settings and via several different delivery methods allows students to receive and retain information better.
- Use logical thinking: Show students how to use logical thinking and explain answers using logical processes so they can not only retain the information, but also find answers themselves by creating links between ideas. Logical thinking helps transfer lessons to real life application and facilitate everyday use by students.
- Be respectful: Be compassionate, respectful and nonjudgmental in your lessons and instruction. No matter the age group of the students, people more easily accept information and openly communicate when they feel trusted and respected. A good teacher uses the classroom to model good communication, respect and open learning.
- Use hands-on learning: Create activities and teach with a hands-on approach as a means of stimulating interest and as a tactile method of promoting retention in students, ensuring hands-on learners are being reached.
- Ask questions: Students spend a lot of time listening and asking questions, but it’s a great idea to turn the tables and ask your students their opinions of lessons and other topics. Learning more about your students will allow you to find out what styles of teaching reach your classroom the best. It also makes students feel valued and heard, which is essential for development.
- Incorporate technology: Teaching lessons with alternative methods ensures you can reach larger audiences in your classroom. With the ever growing presence of technology in our everyday lives, using this as a means to engage students is an essential tool with which to deliver information. Many schools have transitioned from textbooks to electronic tablets and devices for students.
- Encourage failure: Advances in science would never happen if people gave up on goals after failing the first time. Failure is a highly relatable lesson in learning, as it occurs in life constantly. Be positive and encourage students to continue after failure, as it is the only way to success.
- Be enthusiastic: People do not learn when they are bored, listening to monotone lessons. Be happy, teach with a smile and make learning fun. Not only does it help students retain information in a different way, but it also creates positive interactions and learning environments.
- Open door policy: No matter how many delivery methods a teacher uses to teach lessons, some students just process and retain information best through one-on-one instruction. Open office hours where the teacher is available to students for questions and individualized instruction helps ensure that students have many opportunities to understand the material.