Keeping students engaged is the first step to learning.
One thing we know for certain. A teacher standing at the head of the room, talking in front of a whiteboard to a class of students, is not going to keep students engaged in the classroom.
#1: Always use a multisensory teaching approach.
Children respond differently to the three different teaching styles which are visual, auditory or hands on through touch and feel. Keeping this in mind, a teacher needs to design a multisensory lesson plan for keeping students engaged in the classroom, with all learners benefiting from the three learning styles regardless of individual preference. An ideal lesson will encompass all three ways of presenting information with a short exposition as introduction, a little question and answer time, the use of diagrams, photos and colors and finally a hands on experience to reinforce the learning with practical exercises.
#2: Consider educational resources designed for and by teachers.
All teachers know that they will be less likely to have classroom management problems they achieve total student engagement and their students are focused on the task. While it is not always necessary that a student enjoys an assignment, there are many techniques and strategies a teacher may use to keep a student enthusiastic and interested. An eGuide by Dr Patricia Fioriello, Keeping Students Engaged in the Classroom is one of many useful resources providing helpful ideas and suggestions for teachers. You can get it free here.
#3: Create technology classroom lesson plans.
And of course one of the most exciting resources a teacher can access is computer technology. Children today are used to getting their information instantly, with a click of the mouse. Teachers must adapt to the world their students are living in and plan lessons accordingly, with shorter sections and frequent topic changes, keeping children connected and thus less likely to get bored and start misbehaving. More and more schools are able to afford technology and teachers with access to it must use it to full advantage. Student engagement improves markedly when it is time for computer class.
The Internet provides a vast virtual community to interact, collaborate and work with. Taking advantage of this in schools, elementary school children start out by emailing classmates, forming pen pals with schools across the globe, or participating in safe classroom chat rooms. It is important at the outset that teachers instruct children about online etiquette, as well as safe Internet practices.
Kids benefit from learning computer skills at many different levels. They can use word processing techniques for projects such as typing stories, writing poetry, project reports and book overviews. Since kids can easily make changes to word processing documents, more time can be spent verifying correct information and using creative techniques in their writing.
Software programs which drill the student on math facts and language skills reinforce classroom curriculum and improve student engagement as programs can be individualized for the student’s pace of learning. Kids as young as first grade are learning a foreign language such as Spanish, utilizing podcasts developed by foreign language teachers.
Using the internet allows students to learn the basics of finding information for classroom use and research for reports. A student with a laptop is more likely to be totally engaged with his or her immediate learning experience and the teacher’s challenge then becomes to ensure that the assignments are difficult enough to engage the high performers while providing help and support to students struggling to keep up. It may be helpful to use group instruction to determine which students need a concept repeated or reinforced, allowing other students to take the concept a step further.
#4: Focus on cooperative learning classroom activities.
The most obvious way of keeping students engaged in the classroom is to provide a stimulating environment that considers the needs of all the students. Lack of engagement or “dead time” can be replaced by active learning and active listening by creating an arsenal of routines and activities.
#5: Understand the role of classroom management.
Keeping kids engaged is not easy; consistency is key and classroom discipline must be established on day one so that students are quiet and attentive when the teacher has something to explain. Children quickly disengage if the teacher over explains or talks too long, leaving less time for the project in hand. The more the students work on their own, the more they learn and the more student engagement there will be in the learning process in the classroom.