One of the best ways in which you can get students engaged in your class is by starting off with a mental warm-up exercise. The best way to go about this would be to write something on the board – ideally, this should be connected to the subject – and then find mistakes with the same. However, rather than asking them to do it on their own and then dealing it with on a one student at a time basis form groups. Ask these groups to identify these mistakes. You can be sure that this would promote a sense of healthy competition and collaboration among them.
Here are the top 9 tips to engage students in the classroom:
1. Using movement in order to get the students to focus
You can ask the students to stand next to the desks and take part in a simple set of physical movement that is choreographed in nature. Normally, kids like such stuff and you can also monitor if all the students are taking part in it or not. It could very well be a great way to reduce dead time and get the kids to focus on the class. However, please do keep in mind that the movement should be designed on the basis of the grade of students you are dealing with.
2. Teaching students the ways to collaborate before thinking of success
When you are doing class work like project learning and any other work that may be based on team effort there is always a tendency for dead time to be created. The main reason for that is the lack of prior training in such an activity. You can make sure that this does not happen by teaching students how to collaborate before you get started with the projects. Here, there is no necessity to use a work that is connected to the area on which you are doing the project work.
3. Using quick writing assignments when you want students to reflect and be quiet
Quite often it might so happen that students may lose interest in your presentations or they may have just submitted a project and are in the mood for some noise. At that time you would always want them to settle down. In that case, you can assign them to write something in a short span of time. Once again in this case too you need to keep the grade of the students in mind before providing the assignment.
4. Running a tight ship while providing instructions
When you are handing out instructions in class you need to make sure that you stop dead time from happening. There are plenty of commendable ways in which you can ask for the attention of your students. However, your failure or success depends on how demanding you are with respect to the final outcome. Before you start to speak there are a few things that you need to ensure. They should be completely silent and their total attention should be on you. You can be sure that this would make some major difference in the end.
5. Using fairness cup so that the students keep thinking
If you can create a supportive environment in your classroom it would be great for one and all. The atmosphere should be one where students do not fear taking risks. It should be one where they are not made fun of or insulted by others, including you, just because they failed. In such a situation you would be able to use your fairness cup on a regular basis and you will also not have to worry if you are setting them up to fail in the future.
6. Use signalling in order to make sure everyone can answer your questions
If you wish to make sure that all your students are thinking in an active manner you have to ask questions on a regular basis. Your questions should definitely be ones where there can be more than one explanation or answer as such. This would make your students know that you are expecting answers from them. After this, you would have to wait even as all your students signal that they are ready to answer your question. When you ask such questions you are basically differentiating instructions.
7. Using minimal supervision tasks in order to eliminate dead time from your regular routine
There are plenty of works where you need very little supervision but they happen to be highly purposeful as well. These come in extremely handy whenever there is a chance that there could be dead time in your class. You can use them when you are performing activities such as passing out papers, working with certain students in a class, handling an interruption that you had not seen coming, talking to students who failed to do their homework or even assigning work to students who have completed their work earlier than others.
8. Mixing up the styles of teaching
If you wish to keep your students on their toes and thus involved in the class you need to move away from your normal style of teaching. If you are someone who follows the time-honored teacher-centric style of teaching then you need to move to one where students are at the center of attention. The vice versa is true as well and it can be quite effective too. If you want students to listen with interest provide them a list of questions, which are important, in advance.
9. Creating teamwork based strategies where the focus is on accountability
If you insist that students clear things within their team before asking for answers from you, you are creating a teamwork based atmosphere where accountability is highly important. You can also tell them to approach you only when they are sure that their team has finished the assigned work. This way, you are making sure that the team stays accountable for finishing the work that it has been assigned. For example, if a student in a team asks you a question you can always ask that person if she or he has checked with the team first or not. If not then you can just walk away and thus convey your expectations to the students.