Getting Students Engaged In Lessons From The Get Go

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Students at this day in age are growing up in a world filled with new technologies, a constantly connected environment and into the age of Social Networking. With this kept in mind, old school methods of teaching may not work as effectively as they could do when combined with new techniques to keep your learning environment fun fresh and relevant.

The problem many teachers face today, especially those who have been in the profession for a number of decades, is keeping your teaching output at the same standard with the way young people interact with the world around them having drastically changed.

The element of ‘waiting’ for something interesting to happen is now lost, with sites such as Twitter and Facebook constantly pumping new materials out onto their own personal News Feeds, students are constantly looking for new stimulus. Teaching in the classroom or lecture hall needs to be lively and faced past to mimic what they are used to – and ultimately stop them from getting bored. Unfortunately, boredom is the main culprit in pupils failing to retain information or become disruptive.

There are by no means specific ways any specific rules that you should follow as a teacher, by the most part it will all be instinct. But keeping some of these points in mind should help you when dealing with modern students.

Something you may overlook yourself, is how you actually move. Before the content you prepare, think about how you’re going to present it. Remember, you are presenting every time you’re teaching your students and as with any presentation you need to be animated. Constant movement is visually pleasing and can help students remember what you’re saying through movements.

When it comes to teaming up students, make sure that they are actually aware of the goals you intend to achieve. Teaming up students can be a great way of getting them engaged but it can also go wrong if they are unsure on how to approach teamwork. Do a mind map beforehand and discuss ‘What is a team’ ‘Where to start’ etc. This is subtly coaxed out group conversation and make the idea of splitting into groups seem less daunting to start off a lesson.

Asking open ended questions can be a great way to keep students engaged. If there are no right or wrong answers, students won’t feel as though they need to shy away from the idea of giving the wrong answer. Questions with many answers are also just as good, try and ask ones that can have an answer from every student and go round the classroom asking for one.

About the Author: Katie Belliveau is studying teaching, so she loves to learn about how to keep things interesting in the classroom. She recommends materials to let students express themselves such as cardboard boxes!

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