6 key ingredients of student engagement
Learning is active.
Students who actively participate in classroom lessons are more likely to internalize content. Their focus motivates them to keep learning. Student engagement promotes learning for everyone in the classroom.
You can increase student engagement in your classroom. These techniques will help you engage students in the learning process.
Build relationships and rapport
Students don’t care how much you know until you show them how much you care.
To foster an environment of trust in your classroom, listen to your students and be responsive to their needs. Students want to know that you will:
- Follow through with promises.
- Show concern about their needs.
- Apply fairness in the classroom.
Allow for choice
Students perceive autonomy and choice s indicators of important content. Intrinsic motivation skyrockets. To foster a highly engaged classroom, the choices you permit must be authentic and robust. According to Robert Marzano, teachers can allow for student choice in these ways:
- Selecting tasks
- How to demonstrate learning
- Setting learning goals
- Demonstrating behaviors
Students in middle and high school often don’t see the connection between what they are learning and how they could use it in the real world. There’s no relevance.
To engage your students and make instruction meaningful and relevant, tell them explicitly how what they are learning will be relevant in the future. If nothing else, everything we learn helps us expand our neural pathways and create a foundation for continued learning.
Set a brisk pace
As counterintuitive as it may seem, it’s better to increase the pace rather than slow down. Slowly paced lessons invite off-task behavior. Faster lessons keep students on the edge of their seats and engaged as they anticipate what’s next.
Shorten the time provided for individual and collaborative work. Reduce the amount of time you spend lecturing. Shorten transition time between activities. By keeping the pace moving, students will stay focused and engaged.
Our brains love to explore. We’re programmed to solve problems, and our survival depends on it. We search for missing pieces and puzzle over information that seems lacking or out of place. We look for ways to make connections and make sense.
To arouse curiosity in your students, offer two defining characteristics. First, provide them with fragmented information or contradictory beliefs. Give your students the clues they need to solve or a piece of treasure to find. Secondly, make sure the problem is relevant to your students’ lives.
Finally, hope is motivational. Your students have to believe they can succeed. The more eager they are to learn, the more engaged they will be in the process.
Students want to know that you believe they will be successful in the task before them. The degree of difficulty should be just beyond the grasp of your students but not so difficult that they give up.
Increasing student engagement has some surprising benefits in classrooms. Attendance improves. You and your students look forward to the next class. You don’t want to miss it. When lessons engage students, behavior problems decrease.
Student engagement is one of the most critical factors in student learning.