3 Strategies for How to Engage Students
No one likes a dull classroom. It’s harder to teach and even harder to learn. We want to help teachers crack the classic puzzle of how to engage students.
1. Sell the Lesson
One of the most common questions teachers will get at both K-8 and High School levels is: Why do I need to know this? When will I ever need to use this skill? And this makes sense. The students value their time just like all of us and if they don’t think your lesson will help them in life, why should they raise their hand and ask questions or engage instead of thinking about lunch?
So the first strategy is to sell your lesson to them in a similar fashion as to how businesses sell products. This sounds strange at first, why would I try to sell something to my students? But if you have an iPhone, you didn’t just buy it because Apple said, “Look, here’s an iPhone 5!”. Instead they said, “You can take amazing pictures and videos and always stay connected!” So give examples in how you’ve personally used this knowledge, and in math, make case problems instead of plain numbers and in history try showing how similar events are happening now.
2. Let Students Help Each other
If you’ve had a really engaged class throughout the semester or even for the day, let them start doing in-class assignments together. Sometimes students are afraid to ask too many questions during a lecture or while working individually, but when they have the chance to work with their peers they are much more comfortable asking for help. This can be even more helpful when a lot of your students don’t quite understand some part of your lesson, but a few do. The strategy here is to let the few that do understand help you teach!
As a student, it’s also much easier to say, “Mrs. Johnson, my group can’t figure this out!” Instead of, “Mrs. Johnson, I can’t figure this out.” No one likes feeling dumb, so help your students learn together so they’re more engaged when you teach.
Of course, we have to talk about gamifying your classroom, but that’s because we think it’s really good strategy to help you engage with your students and help your students engage with you. Students not only enjoy having fun but they enjoy competing. The good news for you is that there are dozens of ways to gamify your classroom. For making your own game, TeachThought has a great article here (How to make your own game). But there are also online platforms that incorporate badges, points and leaderboards (oh my!) like ClassDojo and OpenBadges to name a few.. And oh, yeah, Youtopia’s pretty good.
Now, go out and be the best teacher you can be!
Was this post useful? What other tips do you have for how to engage students? Let us know in the comments.