By Teachers, For Teachers
Every now and then, you may get a class that you just can’t seem to keep interested. No matter what you do, it seems like all of the students are bored out of their minds.
If students aren’t paying attention, and their minds are wandering, then they are not absorbing any of the information that you are giving them to pass your class. Here are five teaching strategies that you can do to keep your class interested and engaged.
When you create a real-world connection to what students are learning, it will give them a greater understanding of why they need to learn it. If your students are constantly asking you why they need to learn something, and you always are answering with “Because you have to,” you will lose credibility with your students, and they will continue to not be interested in what you are teaching them. Instead, give them a real answer. If they are learning math and want to know when they will need to use it, tell them they will need math to write out checks, pay bills, buy groceries, figure out how much things that they want will cost. This will help them connect why they must learn with what they are learning for their future.
Technology is what students live and breathe every day. If you want to make your class the most interesting class that everyone loves to go to, then you must incorporate some kind of technology. Instead of lecturing and having students take notes, use a smart board and have students come up to the board and interact. Instead of giving students a quiz on paper, use a computer or a tablet. Instead of having students work on a project together, have them video conference with another class from another country and work with them on the project. Utilize technology in the classroom and your students will be interested and engaged in what they are learning.
It doesn’t matter if you are 8 years old or 18 years old, everybody loves to play games. Games are a great way to keep people engaged, and it doesn’t hurt that they are fun. A lot of the time students don’t even feel like they are learning anything because they are so into the game. If students need to learn important vocabulary words for science, play Jeopardy! If they need to remember specific dates in social studies, play memory. Any kind of game will help to make your class more interesting as well as keep them engaged.
A traditional classroom setting, where the teacher is standing in the front of the classroom lecturing to students as they take notes, is boring. If you want your students to be interested in what you are teaching them, you must make it interactive. Get them involved in everything that you are teaching. Try the jigsaw cooperative learning method, where students work together as a team to learn and complete a task. Each student is responsible for her own part, but must work as a group in order to complete the task. By involving students and making it hands-on, you are engaging them and making them interested in the content that they need to learn.
Choice menus aren’t just for elementary and middle school students. High school students will be just as happy when they get the opportunity to choose what, and how, they will learn content. Choice board menu options are endless. You can create a menu for any subject, topic, or concept that you want. You can create different choice boards based on the student. Struggling students can work on one board while more advanced students can work on another. It’s not only a great way to differentiate learning, but it keeps students interested and engaged as well.
Overall, talk less and involve students more. The more you make your class interactive and the more that you utilize technology, the more your students will enjoy what they are learning.
How do you keep your class interesting? Do you do any of the things listed above?
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master’s of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, Graduateprogram.org, and Hey Teach. She was also the elementary education expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.