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Top 8 Ways to Engage Students in the Classroom

Regaining the attention of students after they lose interest can be challenging. Integrating formative assessment tools into classroom teaching is a powerful way to assess engagement levels and foster progress in student learning.

Vocabulary splashes provide students with key vocabulary terms and concepts, and ask them to organize them in ways that make sense to them. This approach allows them to build upon prior knowledge while connecting it to their interests and personal experiences.

1. Personalize Learning

Effective educational strategies allow students to leverage their experiences and interests for information retention. This could involve anything from selecting their novel in English class, or having options when sharing science experiment results, all the way up to giving students choice regarding how they present them in class.

Engaging students physically is one of the best ways to engage them, such as games, scavenger hunts or group presentations. Ensuring two-way communication channels helps all students feel supported and their questions answered is also key for student success.

2. Design Thinking

Engaging students through the design thinking process can increase creative confidence and collaboration skills while at the same time decreasing frustration associated with long periods of studying or trying to remember a large amount of information.

Make use of the ripple method in your classroom, in which students respond individually before sharing with a willing group member their answers and thoughts. This approach can reduce students’ fear of public speaking while engaging those who wouldn’t usually take part.

3. Differentiate Tasks

Students’ engagement levels change throughout a day. It is vital to reengage learners who become disengaged as well as maintain engagement among other learners before their focus wanes completely.

Employing various tasks into your classroom is a surefire way to keep all students engaged with learning. Allowing them to respond using PowerPoint presentations, rap songs, songs or quick written responses will keep students interested and actively engaged in their studies.

Tiered lessons can also be an effective way to engage all learners. Determine which skills and standards are most vital for all your students to master; these tasks become your ‘on-level’ tasks.

4. Formative Assessment

Formative assessment is a feedback process that enables teachers and students to use evidence of learning to propel progress toward short- and long-term goals, whether shared or individual. This could range from using video questions available via EdTech tools such as Turnitin to having students discuss answers with classmates during think-pair-share activities.

Concept mapping, low-stakes quizzes that reveal gaps and misconceptions, and individual interviews are also effective formative assessment strategies.

5. Collaborative Learning

Discussion and debate can help students engage with course material more deeply than lecturing alone can. However, collaborative learning must be designed with care so that all participants contribute equitably.

Utilizing strategies like Think-Pair-Share can significantly boost student engagement. By inviting students to discuss answers for questions with one another before sharing with the class, this approach reduces fear of public speaking and allows everyone to voice their ideas freely.

Establishing group norms that set expectations for collaboration can also be effective. Such norms might include “one person speaks at a time”, respect all opinions, and no put downs.

6. Visual Aids

Humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text and are better at storing information in long-term memory. Leverage visual aids to engage students’ attention, clarify complex topics, and reinforce new content.

Provide clear visuals that illustrate the topic of your lesson. Avoid slides with too much text. If allowing students to create their own visuals, provide guidelines and models as this is especially helpful for less-verbal students who may struggle making connections between course material and their personal lives or cultural heritage.

7. Group Discussions

Discussing with other students can help students make sense of what they’re learning by building off each other’s ideas. Furthermore, engaging in group interactions helps overcome fears associated with speaking publicly and allows shy or less articulate students to participate more fully in class discussions.

To keep participants engaged, instructors must actively listen and respond substantively to discussions within groups; responding positively when appropriate while questioning any flawed arguments that arise. In addition, instructors may switch groups regularly so as to promote cross-pollination of ideas.

8. Videos and Podcasts

Students arrive to class with various interests, abilities and innate skills that need to be engaged with in order to spark curiosity and foster lifelong learning. By connecting with these, sparking their natural sense of curiosity will encourage lifelong discovery learning experiences.

Implement Project-Based Learning where students work on answering an emotionally relevant question over time, giving them the chance to demonstrate what they have learned to an audience outside the classroom – increasing engagement!

Recording podcasts to play in class can be an engaging way of engaging students and providing an alternative way of listening to lectures. They can then engage in discussion among themselves to reinforce the content.

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