If you want your students to learn, keeping them engaged in the material you teach is one of the first hurdles you will have to overcome. Many students are quite able to absorb new information if you can get them to pay attention in the first place. It often takes some creativity to engage them and keep them interested. Let’s look at a few simple methods that can help you accomplish this:
Divide Students Into Teams
Creating partnerships or teams in the classroom is a good way to get students interested in the subject at hand. Depending on the size of the class and what type of project it is, you can divide students into pairs or larger groups. It’s best if you choose the groups, as you want to encourage partnerships with diverse dynamics and not simply have friends working together.
Assign Quick and Creative Tasks
A good way to spark creativity in the classroom is to devise a quick but creative exercise. This can be a poem, an essay or even a visual art project. Give the students a limited amount of time to complete the project, such as five minutes. The focus should not be on creating something perfect, just getting the creative juices flowing. Provide a few minutes after the activity for students to share and discuss what they’ve produced. These activities serve to stimulate student’s minds, prepping them for complex thought and discussion when you begin your instruction.
Use Software to Assess Students’ Learning Styles
Educational assessment software can be a valuable tool to determine how best to teach individual students. There are many types of learners and various manifestations of intelligence, so it can be very helpful to know how different students best absorb new information. Use software and educational assessment tools that help promote learning, especially on an individual basis. Look for software that allows you to see comparisons of a student’s progress and abilities between subjects and during specific time periods. This can help you assess which method of teaching is best suited to specific students.
Energize Students With Movement
Students of all ages often find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time. This, as many of us know, can even be challenging for adults. Short sessions of simple movements, including stretches, marching in place or doing basic calisthenic exercises can breathe new life into the class. For younger students, this can be combined with songs and chants that convey information on topics such as the alphabet, vocabulary words, geography, mathematics, etc.
Very often all it takes is a change of pace to recover the fading attention of students. It’s important to be aware of how the class is responding to you. If you find that concentration is starting to wane, mix up your teaching style a little. Keep the material fresh, stay enthusiastic, and be creative in your lessons and interactions with your students.