Academic Content and Teachers’ Connect
Although learning holds many advantages, the potential drawbacks revolve around the lack of personal interaction between the instructor and student, as well as the student-to-student contact. Keeping students involved in continuous learning is a vital function of an effective instructor.
I believe the key to learning is instilling in the students a sense of urgency, motivation, and desire to excel through creative use of our time, technology, and resources. Students typically lead busy lives. We must strive to capture their attention and make them focused for the duration of learning period.This stays forever with the students.
Select- Get to know your students
Make posting detailed student introduction mandatory, and then personally respond to each student. Learn to recognize key words or phrases that indicate a disability, hardship, or potential problem. Start out by creating a comfortable and safe learning environment. Avoid intimidating the students from the outset of the class. In other words, lose the harshness and negative instructions. Lay out the ground rules, but do so in a manner that does not cause students to cringe at the thought of needing to contact you.
We need to be accessible and respond to student inquiries in a timely manner and must have an established and well-publicized timeframe for responding to student inquiries.
Teachers need to find ways to make learning ‘relevant, authentic, and valuable’ in students’ lives.
Here are the steps we can follow to actively engage our students and help them feel personally connected to their learning:
1. Connect what you are teaching to real life
2. Use students’ interests
3. Give students choices
4. Present information in multiple formats
5. Teach students self-monitoring skills
Connecting to Real Life
One key way to involve students in their learning is to ensure the material speaks to them.
Choosing Culturally Relevant Materials
According to the National Council of Teachers of English, students who do not find representation of their own culture in texts are likely to lose interest in school-based literacies. Ask the students to complete a short survey on their outside interests and use that information to assist in building your lesson plans. This will help the students see the connections between what they are learning inside and outside the classroom.
Using Specific Everyday Examples
An easy way to help students feel personally connected to what they are being taught is to talk about how they can apply the material in real life. Teachers demonstrate how students can apply the math concepts they are learning to help them manage personal finances, ensure nutritional sustenance, and schedule daily activities.
Linking Routines to Learning
Conversely, teachers can promote learning through classroom routines. For instance, a child learning to wash hands during bathroom breaks can also be taught science concepts (body parts, hygiene and disease prevention, water conservation), reading (bathroom signage), antonyms (hot/cold, left/right), and math (counting).
Using Students’ Interests and Fascinations
When we are successful in finding out what our students are passionate about,we should then use those interests as natural motivators to increase engagement. Whether a child is fixated on one thing or has a few areas of intense interest, there are many simple strategies we can use to work those fascinations into our instruction. The result? Happier, more motivated students.
Giving Our Students Choices
Engagement in the class increases when our students are empowered to make their own choices about how they learn material. Here are a few suggestions:
- Grouping Students
Breaking the class up in groups increases the likelihood that everyone will contribute to class discussion and problem solving; polling our students about their working preference or experiment with breaking them up in different ways; dividing the students in half, placing them in small teams of three or four, or dividing them up in pairs.
- Allow Students to Set the Pace
Let our students choose their own starting point on an assignment, and they will stay comfortable and challenged. For example, try giving the students tiered math problems, with increasing levels of difficulty. From least to most sophisticated, the tiers could be: determine the surface area of a cube; determine the surface area of a rectangular prism; determine the amount of wrapping paper needed to cover a rectangular box; determine how many cans of paint you will need to buy to paint a house with given dimensions. Once students choose a starting point, we can guide them through increasing levels of mastery.
- Try Homework Menus
Instead of having all your students complete the same homework assignment, why not offer a menu of options that tie in with your lesson plan? A little variety and choice go a long way towards relieving the sense of drudgery some students experience when completing their homework.
Presenting Information in Multiple Formats
Every student in your classroom learns differently. So it is important to recognize that differentiated instruction is not just for helping students with special needs – it is the best way to engage all learners. An advanced way of involving children so that they stay engaged in their learning is to help them develop greater self-regulation skills. Children sometimes struggle with self-awareness, so they may not even realize when they are straying off task or acting in disruptive ways. When children are taught to regulate their behaviour and work independently, they develop habits to help them succeed and we are freed to operate more flexibly in the classroom.
When we make a concerted effort to engage students in their learning, the result we will discover is students are better able to maintain focus, are better able to sustain behaviour, and are better able to grasp and retain the material we are working so hard to deliver – a positive outcome for everybody!
Shimmi Sharma has Master’s degrees in English, Psychology and Education, plus a Bachelor’s degree in Education, Post Graduate Diploma In Higher Education, a
Certificate in English Teaching as a Second Language, a Certificate in Functional English and a Certificate In Guidance. She has been teaching English at Sunbeam School,Lahartara, Varanasi for the last seven years.