As an educator, a primary goal is to keep your students engaged. This, however, can be challenging due to the sheer amount of distractions students face combined with the swath of material that must be covered. It can be tough to hone in on what exactly you can do to keep students engaged, motivated, and on course to meet both their own and your objectives.
Simply put, an increased level of engagement will lead to great student learning, and improve the learning process. Those students who actively engage with their teachers, subject matter, and lessons, will improve their understanding and appreciation of the topics.
Educators are highly likely to see improved concentration levels and greater student interest after implementing engagement strategies.
To help you raise the level of engagement we have put together a series of best practices that aim to enthrall students and improve retention levels. This goes for kids in K-12 and young adults in higher education.
So let’s get started and see what you can do to promote student engagement.
So let’s get started!
No matter what time of the day it happens to be (though we all know mornings are the toughest), jumping right into a lesson or lecture is rarely easy. Students take time to settle in and focus on what is going on. Kicking off with a warm-up activity can help to get everyone engaged and focused from the very start.
Icebreakers of any kind can be the perfect way of doing this as they are time efficient while also offering you the opportunity to ask any type of question. For more ideas and inspiration on what icebreakers to ask, we have a wide array of some of our favorites.
Technology can be a nightmare for educators if it’s not leveraged in the right way. If you find that smartphones are distracting your students, maybe it’s time to incorporate them as part of your lesson plan.
Technology is a key component in education and it will only become more ingrained in the culture of education as advancements in EdTech and other related software continue. Making apps, software, and online tools a part of both your classes and lectures, as well as a resource for students to access will not only help to improve their in-class experience but also their ability to study after the fact.
No, don’t worry we are not saying you need to set a midterm-style paper every other week. What we are suggesting is more quick-hitter assessment quizzes.
Not just asking students more than if they understand what is going on, but actively quizzing them to see if they have been paying attention and they are retaining the information.
Knowledge tests don’t have to be boring or stressful for your students. Instead of a paper and pen and test, try using an interactive way of quizzing students that will be quick and easy to set up and run.
Engage your students through self-assessment activities such as formative assessments. Teachers and lecturers don’t need to be the only people to provide students with feedback, they can also assess their abilities.
Likewise, self-paced learning can be a way to help remove a common point of frustration for many students; time. Trying to understand complex topics or remembering a series of facts and figures can become incredibly irritating when asked to do so in a certain amount of time.
Fewer frustrated students mean a more engaged and enthusiastic audience.
Brainstorming will help students to think creatively and collaborate with their peers. Asking them to come up with their ideas and thoughts on a subject can be a good way to check their understanding of a subject.
Thinking in this more complex manner will help to engage students as it will require them to focus and take their time over their responses.
Brainstorming can also be an optimal way to promote a collaborative work and study environment. Offering feedback rather than criticism of others’ ideas will help to promote a sense of group effort and develop feedback and teamwork skills.
Making room for discussion in the classroom can be a great way to engage your students in the classroom. Enabling your students to discuss something they have an opinion about, or are even passionate about will encourage them to participate in the class.
Working in groups will also remove the fear level that comes with standing up in front of a larger group and expressing one’s thoughts. A willing group member can speak up on behalf of the group further eliminating the fear of public speaking for many.
Students who would not normally feel comfortable partaking in this type of activity can thus become more active participants resulting in a more engaged group as a whole.
Engage your students differently with a reflection session. Reflection is an important tool for learning and improving. Students can look back and see what they have learned, where they have excelled, what they still need to improve upon, and what their ultimate goal is.
Offering students the opportunity to do this can help them regain focus and a sense of perspective. In turn, this can lead to higher levels of engagement as they will understand better the context for each lesson as well as the work that is required of them.
The benefit of this is two-fold: students will be able to take a more active part in their education while you can better understand what triggers them, what they enjoy, and what they dislike about your classes.
If students enjoy a particular way of teaching and they find it easier to retain information because of it then it is best you find out what specifically it is. If there is something that causes them to switch off and daydream you had better gather feedback as to what is causing it and why!
We mentioned before about giving students the chance to take a moment to reset before diving right back into the action. Adding in some fun and quirky elements can be a welcome way of doing this.
Furthermore, it can be particularly difficult to engage students when tackling “boring” or difficult topics. However, you can help encourage engagement by creating fun activities that will make these activities more exciting.
Increasing student engagement and concentration levels is great in theory, but how do you measure it? Running formative assessments can be a good way to get a grasp on what your students do and don’t understand.
Likewise, it can be a great way to see if a particular lesson is tough or if the teaching strategies just aren't connecting with them. Combining this with self-assessment and feedback forms will likely give educators a way of documenting and measuring engagement levels.
So there we have it, 10 ways you can engage our students and make their experience more engaging and captivating. Thankfully there are plenty of tools, as well as these tips, that can help you increase engagement levels. Mentimeter has been proven to do just that so using our online presentation tool alongside the steps mentioned above will help to transform your classes.