In order for students to learn most effectively, they must be engaged. When students are engaged in their own learning, they want to be in class and participate. Recently, a teacher of junior high-aged students posed the following question to her students, “What engages students in learning?” She received more than 200 enlightening responses. They included:
- Working with Others - Students love to interact with their peers as they take part in a variety of rich, structured conversations—built around important content.
- Using Technology – One student summarized it this way, “Anytime we use technology, I’m more engaged and I understand difficult concepts more clearly.”
- Connecting the Real World to the Classroom – When teachers relate the topic to students’ lives, it is easier to grasp otherwise abstract ideas.
- Loving What You Do! – It isn’t necessarily the subject that engages students, but the teacher. Enthusiasm in the classroom definitely motivates students.
- Bringing in Visuals – Visual aids can increase interest among students, enhance retention of information and help to organize a lesson.
- Offering Students Choice – Giving students some choice in their schoolwork enables them to capitalize on their strengths--empowering them with a sense of autonomy.
- Mixing it Up – Variety in teaching strategies keeps students involved (e.g., fun experiments in science, little skits and re-enactments in history, role-playing in literature, etc.).
To achieve at their best, students must be engaged and inspired to learn. One teacher put it this way, “I think engaging students is the challenge of every teacher. We have to find more effective ways to make our students active learners.” Each of us has a role to play in engaging students through authentic and purposeful learning activities. I would love to hear your personal success stories with student engagement. Please e-mail me at . Thanks for all you do!