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.).