Classroom engagement is a hot topic in education and always will be. How can we get our students to be active learners and soak in all the information they can? At the core, it is a simple issue with many complex solutions. Student’s want a safe, fun environment to learn in and are easier to instruct if they feel respected and appreciated.
Know Your Students
This may go without saying, but is worth mentioning. You want to really know your students. Take in interest in their interests. A classroom revolves around personal interactions and relationships, so be sure to build those strong teacher-student bonds. Knowing what makes each student tick will only help you cultivate engagement in the long run.
Care for Each and Every Student
Make it known that you care about all your students and you are not just there to collect a paycheck. Showing you care can be as simple as spending extra time making sure a struggling student understands the material before moving forward, staying after class to talk with a student who needs an ear, and always being that reliable person they can come to. These little things will go a long way with how they react to your lessons in class. If you have proved yourself to them, they will prove themselves to you.
Build Positive Classroom Morale
A classroom should be fun environment. Much like anything else, there is a time and a place for everything. Include your students in the classroom rules, give them the tools to be a part of building that morale, and constantly work on keeping morale high. Your students will thank you and be more engaged when they have the opportunity to help develop the environment they want to learn in.
Preparedness is a two-way street. If you want your students prepared and engaged, you must also be prepared and engaged. Strong, concise lesson plans will give the class the structure it needs and can keep you and the students on track. Having clear direction that is outlined for students at the beginning of class will show them what to expect. Knowing the game plan can only add to how engaged they are.
Finally, remember to stop and really listen. Your students may not always be the best at articulating when they need help, but they will give you clues. Acting out or becoming less engaged does not necessarily mean they have given up, they may not understand the material and need a little help. Listening can also refer to the concerns of your students. When they know their concerns were heard and dealt with, they will respect you even more. Respect and engagement go hand in hand, so be sure your students know you respect and appreciate their efforts.