A lack of participation, loss of interest, and students staring into space—these are some of the most common sights of the typical school or college classroom. You may think you’ve got the perfect lesson plan or engaging activity, but you fail to get attention from students and have an interactive session.
Within the first few minutes of a class, students generally form opinions about their coursework, instructors, and, sometimes, the entire program. When teachers fail to capture students’ attention early on, they struggle with student engagement for the rest of the year or semester. Recent statistics show that the college dropout rate has increased to an alarming 32.9% for undergraduates during the past few years, mainly due to decreased engagement. Faculty and policy-makers in an institution must find ways to increase student engagement in class and keep the lessons interesting. Read on to discover 8 ways to make learning more interesting and stimulating for school and college students.
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To provide a comprehensive student experience and increase engagement across the board, you must consider students from all ethnic backgrounds, cultures, and social classes. An education system that focuses on underserved communities successfully closes achievement gaps, eliminates biases and promotes educational equity. Instructors from a variety of backgrounds work in institutions that promote cultural diversity. When students from ethnic minorities and low-income families have a teacher with a similar background, their attendance, engagement, and enrollment rates improve significantly. Such educational systems emphasize the importance of a dedicated professional, like a director of diversity and inclusion, in developing and implementing policies to employ and retain diverse educators while ensuring their inclusion in leadership roles, policy-making, and decisions related to curriculum.
Universities and colleges should use various tools and resources to encourage diversity among the workforce and students. They must provide additional assistance to ethnic minorities and their specific needs and establish offices and departments to help marginalized students.
Engage with Students’ Interests
To make your lessons more engaging for students, you must bring yourself down to their level and adopt methods that pique their interest. Discover what already engages your students and incorporate it into your lessons. Allow them to use various smartphone apps and social media platforms to solve problems and explore answers.
Preparing lessons that resonate with students’ interests has more perks than just increasing engagement. When you incorporate excitement and enthusiasm into learning, you also open doors for students to develop strong affiliation, cooperation, and mutual respect.
Encourage Group Work and Collaboration
Group work offers a plethora of advantages. It helps students share intricate and multifaceted knowledge and fosters teamwork, communication, and coordination. Students can take a break from monotonous individual study and benefit from the diverse perspective of their fellows. They can express their ideas better and learn how to collaborate with others to accomplish collective goals. However, instructors must create groups with a similar mindset to increase cohesion and avoid troublesome grouping. Make your students realize they are not competing with their peers and encourage them to work together rather than against each other.
Promote Active Learning
Active learning is one of the most popular methods of teaching in which instructors create activities that students actively participate in instead of sitting quietly and listening. Teachers create an atmosphere for students that encourages participation through various activities, including QA sessions with open-ended, equitable, and legitimate questions, open discussions, interactive lectures, individual reflection, group discussions, problem-solving, hands-on activities, experiential learning, and others.
Active learning strategies not only increase student engagement but also help students develop decision-making and problem-solving skills. They learn to work under time-compressed environments and polish their communication skills while explaining ideas. Providing positive feedback and encouraging students during activities can help increase confidence and motivation among students.
Use a Variety of Media to Enhance Engagement
Using media directly impacts the amount of student engagement during education. Instructors use hi-tech resources for a variety of reasons. An average human can process visuals 60,000 times faster than bland text. Data visualizations, videos, graphics, and presentations help students learn more and maintain their focus. Instructors can pause and explain images and graphics in real-time, allowing students to grasp the concept more comprehensively. Using visual and audio resources is a refreshing change from the stacks of paper that our students are usually burdened with, and it connects them directly to the digital world in which they live.
Provide Online Forums
Many introvert students avoid speaking in classrooms or during workshops and training courses. They are more comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas online on multiple platforms because they are not required to speak directly. Instructors can create online platforms to foster communication and create an engaging atmosphere using popular apps and websites. These platforms allow students to work closely with like-minded students and share ideas on a variety of stuff related to coursework or everyday life. Students can use the online platform to communicate with peers in group assignments, propose solutions to problems, and share knowledge and ideas. It can also help foster a sense of community.
Invest Time in Discovery and Inquiry
Sometimes letting your student discover answers, opportunities, and solutions is the best thing you can do to increase engagement. Allow them to discover learning without overindulging. This way, students can use critical and creative thinking to investigate topics that interest them. Observe your students closely as they explore answers. Listen to what they have to say and discuss their ideas, thoughts, and solutions with them to encourage the critical-thinking process.
If you want to learn to be more engaging, try adding an element of mystery and surprise. Students often enjoy learning when they don’t know what to expect. When you’re about to reveal a new lesson, give students a new clue each day to develop their interest.
Flip Your Lessons
The concept of flipped lessons has revolutionized learning techniques ever since it was introduced in the education sector. In such a technique, students learn new information at home and use class time for critical thinking and problem-solving activities to reinforce the conceptual framework. The idea of flipping lessons has greatly increased engagement among students of all ages, particularly school and college scholars. Students in a flipped classroom can work at their own pace and interact with their peers in a more interactive, meaningful way.
Lack of student engagement has been one of the major reasons for thousands of students dropping out of schools and colleges each year. To address this issue, educational institutions need to develop a comprehensive policy to connect to students on an individual level, encourage communication, foster activity-based learning, promote diversity in the workforce, and provide counseling to students from all backgrounds. Apart from the above-mentioned list, institutions can also start mentorship programs aiming to cultivate a strong community online or on campus.