One of the most arduous tasks for any teacher is to improve students motivation towards our subjects. Sometimes lessons can be a bit dense and heavy, so it’s normal for students’ minds to wander. For this reason, we offer some keys to increase student participation in 2017 in the classroom and to develop their enthusiasm for learning.
How can we encourage students in class?
There is no secret formula that makes any lesson attractive, so no matter how hard teachers try, there will be certain subjects that will not be liked by all students. However, implementing the following techniques will help increase student participation in 2017 and positive classroom interaction.
1. Use digital tools in class
Introducing interactive resources in the classroom, such as GoConqr Mind Maps or Slides, will help us increase student participation in 2017. They can become more involved in lessons either by creating original content. These online tools are an effective way for students to feel more involved and to take a more active role in the classroom.
2. Inspire (friendly!) group competition
Many students are only able to get the best of themselves when they are pressured or motivated to overcome a challenge. Organising a competition between groups about the knowledge imparted in class and giving a prize or small reward to the winning team can push each student to reach their potential. By encouraging this competitiveness, student participation in 2017will increase and they will work to improve themselves to benefit their team.
3. Encourage debate
For many subjects, current affairs can provide a useful grounding for understanding curricular issues. History, economics and even geography can benefit from a discussion in relation to current news events. Asking for their point of view on issues that they care about, and even generating controversy can provoke student participation from sometimes reticent students. Of course it’s important to validate each student’s opinion, while insisting that they make connections with the subject matter at hand.
4. Leaning on audiovisual elements
For certain concepts and topics, it is much more enlightening to show a documentary or a film than to try to explain in the abstract. Audiovisual narratives have the capacity to engage through their story. In order to transform this into active learning, students should not just passively consume the film. Providing a worksheet with some factual questions ensures that they pay attention, while including some more reflective questions can provide a great basis for discussion or more in depth essay work.
5. Organize excursions
Field trips provide a welcome break from routine, but they should be viewed as more than simply a distraction. A cultural event or activity that is subject-relevant not only provides new content, but being in a new place and out of the normal schedule provides an opportunity to make learning stick. For example, a class taught in the lobby of a museum will likely make more of an impression than teaching the same material in the lab. And as students tend to like field trips, an upcoming trip can increase student participation in 2017.
Of course the teacher is the subject expert and not all topics are suitable for significant student imput, but an actively engaged classroom can be a satisfying validation that teaching strategies are working and that students are confident in their knowledge, as well as their doubts.