Teaching students can be tough, especially when it comes to keeping them engaged with the material. Particularly when it’s a dry subject like math or history. You may feel lost like you’re doing no good for your students. However, keep the following tips in mind to help keep student achievement and engagement at their highest levels.
1. Begin Lessons with Interesting Facts
Everyone loves trivia, and if your lesson starts with an interesting fact or question, then students will feel motivated to learn. For example, you can ask students to name their favorite fact about World War II or an interesting fact they’ve learned from their textbooks. This way, they are engaged and having fun while learning. Every teacher should know some fun facts, whether it is about math, physics, or history. It may spark the next great idea for a lesson in one of your classes.
2. Have Students Teach Each Other
One of the best ways to keep students interested and engaged is to have them teach each other. When they are younger, teachers will usually allow students to teach their classmates the answers to questions they’ve just been taught. This method works well with older students, as you can assign partners with compatible personalities and learning styles. If you’re looking for some creative ways to motivate your students, you can even ask your students to collaborate with partners from different classrooms and work with them on a project. This will allow you to give them something educational to work on together.
3. Make Lessons Interactive
This tip may seem obvious, but having your students engage in hands-on activities during their lessons is one of the simplest ways to keep them engaged and interested in math and science. If you are tasked with teaching math, use computer science projects to stretch your students’ minds and create lessons that will engage them. For example, ask students to use a website you or your favorite professor designed to solve a confusing math problem. You could also assign them to create their own video game, using math skills and strategies they have learned during the year.
4. Use Different Learning Styles
One way to keep students engaged is to use different learning styles. If you have students who are visual learners, then you can have them practice visualizing when they learn a math concept or grammar lesson. You can also ask them to draw a picture of a difficult word or diagram each time they see it in their textbooks. This way, they will be more inclined to understand the content and retain more information. For example, you can use graphical abstract to engage students in the material and then ask questions about the information to test how well they’ve retained it. If a student has difficulty understanding a concept, try different methods until there is one that clicks and works.
If you have an auditory learner, you should ask them to write down the pronunciation of every word they hear. You could also have them write short reviews of their textbook, which will help them memorize new vocabulary and grammar rules.
5. Converse with the Students
Another way to engage students is to talk with them in a “one-to-one” conversation. You could ask them questions about the subject matter or tell them jokes or funny stories. This simple technique will help students feel as though they are receiving individualized attention, which will help them remember the material and be more engaged in class. It may also endear you to your students and get their trust, which can help increase student engagement.
By asking students questions that stimulate critical thinking and encourage them to think abstractly, you can help them grasp a concept more easily. For example, you could have students consider how their house uses resources like water or how ideas influence beliefs.
6. Use Feedback and Accountability
Keep your students engaged by making them accountable for the assignments and tests. If a student misplaces a piece of paper or forgets to turn in an assignment, they’ll be more motivated if they know they will suffer the consequences if they don’t do their work. This way, students will be more motivated to do their homework and projects diligently without worrying about failing grades due to negligence or laziness.
7. Maintain Eye Contact and Close Proximity
One of the easiest ways to keep students engaged is by maintaining eye contact during lessons. When you start a conversation with a student, look into their eyes when you are speaking and maintain eye contact throughout. This will help them feel that you are truly interested in their progress and care about their learning. Some teachers believe maintaining this method of teaching can be hard, but it’s not as hard as it sounds when you practice it from time to time. Some professional teachers view this as a sign of trust and concern, while students will feel more of a connection with the teacher when they can maintain eye contact with that person at all times.
8. Offer Choices or Options
You can keep students engaged in their lessons by offering them a choice or option. You should ask students whether they would rather do a worksheet or an essay question and if they prefer to do an oral presentation or a math vocabulary question. This way, you can have them choose which type of assignment they would rather do and still hold them accountable for the result.
9. Plan Short Attention Spans
This tip is easy and simple, but it can significantly affect how well students retain the information they learn in their classes. When you have shorter attention spans, you have to keep your lessons concise because you won’t be able to bore your students with much time. It’s also important to keep your lessons on point without unnecessary information that may overwhelm or confuse students.
10. Turn Lessons into Games
Games are fun and engaging, so you can use them to engage your students more in your lessons. You can make word games, math word problems, and other games to help reinforce subjects as you teach them. For instance, you could assign students to make a word-picture-word definition for a difficult word and then compare their definitions. Or, you could assign them to create an equation for a problem that would test their understanding of the material. This can help keep students’ attention between lessons and reinforce the topics they learn in class.
11. Ask Students to Draw or Write About Their Opinions
Another way to engage students is by asking them to express their opinions on a subject matter during their lessons. This can help them feel more involved with the lesson and feel as though they have to think about the information to express their ideas. For instance, you could ask students to write a journal entry about a topic you are covering in class. You could also ask them to draw a diagram or create a collage of pictures explaining their perspective on the subject material.
12. Exude Enthusiasm
Your enthusiasm for the subject matter will show to the students. Students will begin to lose interest in a lesson if they see you are bored and not interested in teaching. You should look like you are having fun while you teach and keep your body language open and inviting. You can also ask questions that require deep thinking and open conversation to interest students in what they’re learning.
There are many ways you can keep students engaged in your lessons. A few of the best ways include teaching in short attention spans, asking questions requiring critical thinking, offering students options, maintaining close proximity, and maintaining eye contact during lessons. You can also turn lessons into games. The key is to find methods that work well with your personality and method of teaching.