As a teacher, you’ll have your work cut out for you. Although many disregard teaching as one of the easier professions, it is anywhere near easy. Teachers have a ton of responsibility and must ensure that they educate and nurture their students simultaneously. After parents, teachers become the most important mentors in a student’s life and can shape their lives for better or worse.
Competent teachers can help inculcate values of tolerance, lifelong learning, passion, and discipline in their students, but first, they need to ensure they keep their students engaged. If you’re a teacher, you’ll know that, at times, you can put your all into developing a teaching plan only to watch it fall flat when you implement it.
Keeping a class consistently engaged can be challenging, whether dealing with young or adult learners. However, certain tips and tricks can work for most classrooms. If you’re looking to learn more, keep reading below.
Create a positive learning environment
For the longest time, most academic professionals believed that encouraging competition was the key to ensuring students stayed engaged through every class. In recent years, however, more and more evidence points towards the benefits of creating a positive learning environment for students, which encourages cooperation. A cooperative, healthy environment can be one of the most critical aspects to focus on to ensure your students remain engaged. Instead of competition, support and trust is the main tool to encourage students to perform their best.
Creating a positive learning environment can be tougher than you imagine. Without the right degree, it can be challenging to foster a supportive, encouraging environment in the right way, especially working with younger kids. A masters degree in early childhood education can give you the right tools to understand children’s developmental stages and needs and help you create an environment accordingly. Then, you’ll be better poised to create developmentally relevant programs to keep young learners engrossed.
One of the biggest reasons teachers fail to keep their students engaged is that they stick to the same old methods. Normally, teachers feel like relying on verbal methods is sufficient. However, this can make even the most interesting classes incredibly monotonous. Instead, accommodating different types of learners can make every class interesting and can also help break the monotony. Moreover, doing so can make teaching a much more interesting experience for you as well.
When it comes to learning types, there can be several factors to accommodate. Some students naturally take the traditional route and retain information better when they read or write. Other students can engage better when they have visual material. It can include pictures, handouts, graphs, and images they can observe and interact with. Other students can be auditory learners and engage best when you allow them to read aloud in class and understand concepts in their own words. Lastly, you’ll encounter kinesthetic learners, who do best when you offer them a chance to feel and engage with the subject practically. Accommodating every learner can help students engage and make every class more interesting.
You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference a little personalization can make in making lessons more engaging. Most of the time, when teaching, you’ll find yourself giving examples from your own life to illustrate scenarios better for students. In some cases, these can be relevant. However, in many cases, your young learners will fail to connect with these examples and can instead find them isolating. Instead, it can do you good to research your student’s likes and dislikes and develop personalized lessons.
Even reliable research attests to the efficacy of this method, making it one of the easiest ways to make learning more immersive for your students. Something as simple as staying updated on the latest movies, shows, games, or characters your students are obsessed with and giving relevant examples can make a big difference. Moreover, you can also tailor examples to the student’s personal lives, such as their favorite food, vacation place, subject, or more. Doing so can allow younger students to see how theoretical principles can apply to their lives and can help them remember them better too.
Ask for feedback
Asking your students for feedback can be one of the best ways to enhance your teaching skills and also to make learning a more engaging experience for the students. Many students feel excluded from the teaching process and feel their suggestions aren’t important. However, listening to your students can give you some interesting insights about what works and help them see that learning is a collaborative process.
An effective way to do this is by setting a weekly schedule for feedback. This way, you can give your students ample time to review the new topics and teaching strategies and ask them for feedback. Feedback can be general, in the form of quantitative ratings about how interesting they found the topic, and can also be personalized. You can ask students how to make lessons more interesting and identify areas they find the most challenging.
Don’t eliminate competition entirely
Too much competition can create a toxic learning environment, but a little bit of competition is important to keep things fun. Students thrive when they’re competing with their peers, especially when there’s a reward on the line, both intrinsic and extrinsic. Creating healthy competition is an incredible way to get your students to engage better with the topics and let them have fun.
Group projects are an excellent way to create healthy competition with younger kids, as they teach students to work together and compete simultaneously. Additionally, having a weekly session where the best scorer gets a small reward can make each student want to perform their best. Games are also an excellent way to create competition, and hosting mini-quiz sessions can make learning super engaging for students.
When done right, teaching can be super fun for both the teacher and the students. It’s an incredibly personal, impactful career where you can positively influence your students in the long run. Incorporating these tips can help you make even the dullest subjects interesting for your students and help them learn better. So, start by fostering a collaborative and cooperative learning environment, accommodating each student, eliciting feedback, personalizing the learning experience, and making it a bit competitive.