|One of my biggest passions as a teacher is continually increasing student engagement in my classroom. If my kids are engaged and the content is meaningful, they’re going to learn. As a side bonus, engaged students are also less likely to act out or become behavioral problems because they want to be there (gasp!) and they want to participate (double gasp!).
I’ve discovered over the years that it really doesn’t take much to immediately increase student engagement. So today I’ve got 3 of my easiest and best tips for increasing student engagement in your classroom (without a lot of prep!). Let’s dive right in!
1. Add opportunities for students to have mini discussions. This can be done with literally anything you’re doing in your classroom, but I especially think it’s needed when lecturing or giving directions. Because here’s the thing: their minds wander when you talk too long. It’s not because you’re boring, trust me. Everyone’s mind wanders. I lose focus after like 10 minutes of information in PD and I’m an adult! So every couple of slides, ask students a question or to repeat a definition or quiz them on the spot. This allows students to have a quick break AND process what you’ve said. The best news? These quick discussions can be planned ahead of time or created in the moment. I also have my kids summarize directions to a neighbor before starting on the task. This saves me so much frustration, it’s not even funny.
2. Utilize call and response. I like to have students fill in the blanks in my sentences when I’m teaching. For example I’ll say something like “this is because all natural resources are called…?” And students will say “land.” They get really used to finishing my sentences- and it makes sure they’re tracking with me. It also tells me if I’ve lost them and need to re-explain a concept!
3. Make it relevant. Friends, this is so, so important! To have an engaging classroom, we must add examples that apply to students’ lives. Or even connect historical concepts to the present, especially with big events happening in the news. If we can make it relevant, we can capture their attention and answer that nagging, age-old question: “why do we need to learn this stuff?” Economics is such an incredible subject in that it’s instantly applicable to students’ lives. For example, in January I taught the concept of incentives. What better way to teach it than ask students what incentives they have used or have been used on them? It’s frequently a pretty funny question to ask because the responses are hilarious. The point is this: make it interesting by making it relevant.
So there you have it, friends! My top tips for quickly increasing student engagement. See you next week!