Smart schools are trying out different teaching strategies to give a better learning experience for students. Despite the quality of the teaching you give, keeping them engaged throughout a classroom session is always challenging. The attention span of kids is very low than you can expect and so it is important to put in some serious effort to grab their attention. The classroom sessions can be made interactive and interesting with a mix of learning and some gamification.
Here are a few tips that might help you to keep the students engaged in your classroom that helps you have a quality teaching time:
- Warm up sessions: A good start can impact the way students grasp the lessons. It would be good to start it off with a warm up session. One of the commonly followed activities is writing some points related to what was taught in the previous class on the board. Students can actively find out the mistakes in it in a collaborative way.
- Light movements: In order to improve their focus and attention, make them involve in light movements either in the beginning or in the middle of the lesson if you find them sleepy. The activities can be varied according to the class you are handling. It can be hand-clapping, rhythmic finger snapping, cross crawls or light march.
- Quick writes: When you finish a particular topic, you can ask them to give a quick write of what you taught them. It can include important points covered in the topic and their judgement or conclusion regarding some tricky areas. This is a good way to keep students engaged with the lessons. This makes them focus more during the next classes.
- Encourage to and fro questions: Teachers should develop a habit of asking questions in between their lessons. And also give students an open platform to raise some questions or doubts regarding what was taught. This makes the classroom sessions more interactive. This also helps them to understand the lessons better. By framing questions and receiving answers, students can get a deeper view of the subject.
- Mix teaching styles: Following the same teaching style in every class creates boredom among students and they slowly start losing the interest. So it is better to mix the teaching styles often and students would have a better learning experience. Approach different subjects in a different way and consider the interests of the students too.
- Gamification: This is one of the best ways to teach kids as they would always love to have ‘learn with fun’ experience. Games such as education bingo and bleep can be included to enhance their memory. Their vocabulary can be improved with vocabulary games such as ‘sentence race’. Teachers can also bring in creativity games, team work activities and competition games to raise their spirit for learning.
- Group works: Group learning is equally important as self learning as students can be trained to think in groups and improve their group decision making. Group assignments can be given once in a while when they can share their ideas and work out a project. They can bring out their exclusive ideas while accepting or considering others’ ideas too. This is another way to keep students engaged in the classroom.
- Video sessions: Video sessions are a good option to grab student’s attention and focus. The visual elements are processed faster by brain and this can make remarkable impact on their understanding of the topic. Variety can be made in this strategy too by including video presentations with beautiful slides or giving them video tutorials. Considering its importance, smart board options are gaining more importance in today’s classrooms.
- Connect with real life: Students would find it interesting if teachers can connect the subject that is being taught to incidents in real life. This also helps them to relate the subject better and gain a better understanding.
- Activity learning: Making the students to sit stagnantly throughout the classroom sessions can be really boring for them. Teachers can utilize the classroom space and engage them in some activity learning to regain their interest. Jumping the line, mime or sports gallery can be tried once in a while to make students active and engaging. This is the best way to make the afternoon learning sessions more productive.
- Quizzes and polls: Once a topic is covered, quizzes can be conducted by dividing class into groups. This activity is not only engaging but also one of the spontaneous ways to assess their understanding. Polls can also be conducted to get their feedback on the lessons, which is another option to pass the dead time.
- Education apps: Bringing in some technology to the classroom can take away the boredom and make the students engaging. With the wide use of mobiles, education apps are now becoming an inevitable tool in today’s classroom. With EDpuzzle, you can engage them with video sessions and Motion Math app lets you teach difficult mathematical problems through games.
- Story telling: An interesting way to introduce a new subject is to start it with a story. Some teachers also bring stories in middle of lessons helping students to relate some facts in a better way. Kids would always love to hear stories and they crave for more. This is another way to engage them when handling tough subjects.
- Autonomy Support: Including students in the learning process is really important to gain their interest for the subject. Students should be given a platform to express their ideas or opinions during the activity. They should be given ample time to understand a particular subject and don’t rush to the next lesson.
- Flipped classroom: This is a credible learning technique which is being adopted in many smart classrooms. Students are asked to prepare the lessons in advance by referring some video tutorials. So when teacher discusses the lesson in the class, students would find the subject more engaging and interesting.
- Teacher-student relations: Maintaining good relation with students is important for a teacher to make the classes more positive. Students will have that freedom to express themselves whenever needed which gives them a sense of peace and happiness. Keeping up a pleasant classroom environment can impact the way they grasp the lessons.
- Take small breaks: Instead of having an hour long teaching sessions, take some small breaks in between to refresh the minds of students. You can talk or share something out of the syllabus and have a chit chat time with the students.
- Response cards: Students can be given response cards with options such as agree and disagree, multiple choices, yes/no or even emoticons. During the class period, teacher can ask questions and students have to give response with these cards. This activity can make the classes interactive and engaging which kills the boredom of one way lectures.
- Dictation: For elementary classes, simple activities such as dictation can do the trick to pass the dead time. Once you cover a class, just give a simple dictation test to stimulate their memory and to make them comfortable with words and spelling. It can be a mix of listen, repeat, read and write experience for kids.
- A to Z class summary: You may conclude a learning session with this activity to help them memorize or revise what they have learnt in the class. Students can write a summary of the class in sentences starting with all alphabets from A to Z. This activity can be done in groups or as singles. Teacher can evaluate to give a feedback and correct them if their understanding went wrong somewhere.
These are some of the commonly used ideas in smart classrooms to have a quality learning session. Teachers can wisely apply the teaching tips according to the age or the level of classroom that is being handled. Know their boundaries when deciding on a new teaching strategy. It is important to maintain eye contact with the students and always give a space for them to come up with suggestions. Similarly praising and rewarding their works can really motivate them. Using contemporary materials whenever possible and differentiation can actually work wonders in enhancing the student’s liking and interest for learning.