In this blog post, Websitesetuper will give you Sixteen Ways to Increase Student Engagement. We’ll start with a few general ways and then get more specific down the list. Make sure to read all the way through for tips that will help your students be more engaged!
Create a safe environment for students where they can take risks, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, ask questions, and explore possibilities. A stressful classroom with threats of punishment or shame about not knowing things. As well as you “should” leads to disengaged learners who don’t want to participate beyond the minimum required effort. This doesn’t mean that we should never assign homework or have high expectations! But everyone needs an opportunity before reaching higher levels of rigor.
For English language learners, provide opportunities that allow them to practice vocabulary and comprehension. Provide visuals such as pictures and video clips in the lessons when possible. This allows students another way of understanding what they are learning (visuals can help with ELD). Use contextual clues within the lesson content. Instead of requiring students to memorize words without knowing their meaning or having a connection between word meanings and real-life examples. Allow time during class for collaborative work. So these students have an opportunity to learn from each other while building relationships.
For math, try using manipulatives like cubes, tens frames, base ten blocks, or rods to help students visualize numbers and operations. Provide opportunities for hands-on learning as well as think-pair-share activities where students can talk about their thinking out loud. Encourage groups of two to four students who are working on a problem together to share what they know. Then brainstorm ideas with other members in the group before reaching a solution that everyone agrees upon (this is called “dialogic questioning”).
For science, incorporate more inquiry-based learning and allow students the opportunity to explore topics on their own. Encourage experiments where students can make observations and gather data. As well as discuss what they have found with peers in their group or class before reaching a conclusion together. Provide space for multiple ways of showing understanding allowing room for different types of learners to show that they know something in a way that is best suited for them (this could be through drawing pictures rather than writing out an essay).
Introduce new lessons by reviewing previously learned material using a variety of methods such as video tutorials, examples from other content areas, peer instruction, interactive games, etc. This will help your student remember prior concepts while also providing opportunities for you to catch misconceptions early on.
Make the science you teach relevant to your students’ lives and current events in order to build excitement about learning (and perhaps even get them interested in pursuing a career in this field). For example, if there is an interesting story or news item that relates back to what you are teaching, use it as part of your lessons. You could also bring guest speakers into class who work with scientific research every day such as doctors, vets, zoologists etc. This will help make abstract concepts like photosynthesis more tangible for kids while still keeping things engaging!
Be mindful of the language and vocabulary you use in your lessons. Choose words that are familiar to students. Use analogies, diagrams, and real-life examples to explain abstract ideas like energy transfer or photosynthesis (and if those don’t work for some reason then go with algebraic equations since they can be used as a sort of code). If possible try not to speak too quickly either as this makes it hard for kids who might have learning differences such as ADHD. So instead break down each concept into small pieces before building them together again at the end!
Give students the opportunity to play with their food during cooking lessons in order to make science relevant and fun! This will also help them see that all of the work they do in class isn’t just theoretical but can be applied in real life settings. If you don’t have access to a kitchen due to space or safety concerns then try baking bread, making cheese (if your school is okay with it), growing yeast cultures, etc. There are plenty of great hands-on experiments for this content area when given some creativity!
Provide multiple ways into learning content so each student has an equal chance at success. Allow kids who learn best through listening, reading alternate opportunities for demonstrating understanding (for example, rather than writing an essay you could require them to write a poem or rap instead). For kids who need more visuals try incorporating graphic organizers into lessons. And for those that learn by doing, provide opportunities for acting out the concepts first before building on each idea through written work and discussion!
Encourage collaboration by putting students in groups of three or four. So they can bounce ideas off one another throughout their learning process. This not only helps build teamwork but also allows everyone to get involved with teaching content . It is critical since it will help maintain student interest while ensuring all kids are getting equal time at demonstrating knowledge. Having said this…
Avoid group assignments where some do most of the talking as this will end up disadvantageous to those who struggle to participate (for example, if one kid does all of the talking and other students just nod their heads or agree with everything then it isn’t a real learning experience for them). To avoid this, have everyone take turns sharing ideas within groups instead so no one is left out!
If students are having trouble understanding abstract concepts such as photosynthesis try using an analogy they can relate to. For example, you could say that food energy from plants moves around through ecosystems much like how electricity moves between outlets in a room. This might help kids visualize what’s going on! Or even use algebraic equations but give them another name. Since not all children do well knowing about x + y = z.
When it comes to teaching content sometimes less is more so try not to overload lessons with too much information as this can be overwhelming for students and make them tune out instead of being engaged in the process. Instead break down each major idea into smaller pieces which you build together at the end before moving onto a new topic!