Schools nowadays are trying different strategies to give better learning experiences for students. Even when the quality of teaching is top class, keeping students engaged throughout the class is challenging. The attention span of students is very low, so it is essential to keep making serious efforts to grab their attention.
Teachers who put serious effort can maximise the learning potential of students. They understand the fact that it is through positive and respectful relationships with the students we can unlock their potential. Building a trusting relationship can be challenging, but great teachers become masters at it in time. They understand that building a solid relationship with your students is the best way to foster academic success.
Student engagement leads to higher achievement and it, in turn, helps create a positive learning environment. Following are some strategies to keep your students engaged and lead to effective classroom management and classroom interaction.
Begin the lesson with an interesting fact
The brain disengages when you hear something which the brain already knows. The way to jump-start a brain is to feed it some startling information that the brain does not know. This is like waking up your brain to get it ready for the lessons. These facts also give them fun ammunition to use to show off their smartness.
Exude enthusiasm and engagement
Enthusiasm is contagious. If you are not excited about teaching a lesson, your students will also be the least interested. But if you enjoy teaching a lesson, then your student will surely give it a chance.
Encourage connections that are meaningful and relevant
Asa teacher, even if your enthusiasm for a topic is a good start, it is not enough to keep students engaged in the long term. One way to keep the enthusiasm at its peak is by keeping it relevant and meaningful to them. Ask students open-ended questions so that they can get engaged in answering. Incorporate areas of interest into the lessons. With grammar, spelling, and readings, you can create sentences and create interesting content around things they like. For example, you can ask students to find nouns in a sentence like this: Cinderella had to come home by midnight as instructed by her fairy godmother.
Plan for short attention spans
Research says that younger students especially have a relatively short attention span. Students aged five to six can focus for 10 to 30 minutes, and first grade students aged six and seven can focus for 12 to 35 minutes. To keep students active, you can engage them in several short activities. This will aid you in teaching and reinforcing their attention.
Address different learning styles and multiple intelligences
Every student is different and unique, and they have their own way of learning and their own set of strengths and weaknesses. It is tough to give a hundred percent attention to all of the students at a time. You can give the students a variety of activities from below, which will ensure that you give them at least one thing that works for all of them.
Some students learn best when they are both listening and talking; they think in words and will learn as they speak. Good activities for these students are brief lectures, stories, discussions, word games, reading aloud, and group projects.
These are students with visual-spatial intelligence who learn best by seeing. The students with spatial intelligence may enjoy activities like reading a map or drawing. Good activities for them can include reading, taking notes, drawing their own charts and models, solving puzzles, and looking at pictures, models, and videos.
As a visual learner myself, I tend to use more visual aids, and I use different colour markers while teaching or explaining something on the board, providing more visual stimulus.
These are students who learn by touching, moving, and doing, and they just do not want to see a model but rather make the model. Good activities for these learners are solving picture cues, role playing, and hands-on activities.
It is challenging to address auditory, visual, and kinaesthetic learners at the same time.
You can try writing down the information, reading it out loud and showing pictures and models, and having the student perform an action related to the lesson.
These students learn through interaction with others. Good activities for them would include group projects, individual student-teacher interaction, and class discussions.
These students are not social learners. Instead, they are very private individuals. They are a good understanding of their feelings, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. They do best in independent work environments, and a good activity for them is any independent work.
Teachers addressing both intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence can be engaged in activities such as when they think about and write down their answers to a particular discussion point, pairing up with partners, and taking turns in sharing their answers.
Converse with students
Teaching is not just about what you teach and the activities you give your students to help the teaching-learning process. It is also about how you teach it; it is also about how you speak to your students and present the information. Think about your tone when you are giving a lecture or presenting crucial foundational information. Students learn well when they are passive recipients of the information. So instead of just giving out facts, think of the class presentation time as though you are having a conversation with the students. They will learn best this way.
Maintain close proximity and eye contact
I am sure you have noticed that you can feel when someone is looking at you. For whatever reason, we know when someone is paying attention to us. Students are more likely to listen when you are having eye contact with them and standing close to them.
If you are someone to learn and improve in your teaching and you want to up your game, enrol in a course for teachers and start your lessons whenever you have time.