How to keep students engaged in a classroom?
With the advancement in technology and subsequent distractions, the attention span of learners seems to be depleting faster than the Ozone layer. It is very demotivating and demoralising to observe students slipping into their own zones oblivious of what is transpiring within the parameters of a classroom or a workshop.
The challenge therefore is serious and needs to be addressed with ideas and methods adequate and appropriate enough to captivate the minds of the learners.
I. So first things first, there should be no defined pattern for conducting a class. Every day should be a new day for the students with no preconceived notion or expectation at their end. There are different ways of beginning a class-
a) A good energiser.
b) A reflection exercise.
c) An anecdote which can be shared with relevance to the topic to be taught.
d) A piece of music with some interaction thereafter.
e) A teaching aid which is unconventional and yet can trigger discussions relevant to the lesson in class.
II. Many a time its good to take the class either to the library or the playground for a lesson. This should be done impromptu in order to maintain the surprise element for children with a tinge of excitement.
III. Activities need to be planned by the teacher in a manner where each and every child is involved and engaged. So paired activities and group activities should be an integral part of a planned lesson to be taught in class.
IV. Integration of technology in the classroom has borne excellent results. Hence, the IWB (Interactive White Board) should be put to good use. Relevant videos and content should be projected for better comprehension and effective learning.
V. The other very important thing is the body language of the teacher herself/ himself. The teacher needs to be highly enthusiastic and involved in the lesson. Primarily it is the nature of presence of the teacher which ascertains the tone and tenor of the class. If the teacher is very typically programmed and is all set to finish the topic somehow, irrespective of the passivity of the class he or she should not expect miracles. The objective is to teach children with a sense of involvement at both ends which is to say that the teacher and the taught need to be equally involved and enthusiastic about teaching and learning respectively. The one thing that needs serious attention is that – A TEACHER SHOULD NOT SIT AND TEACH. Each and every student should be within the view of the teacher.
VI. Slow and distracted students should be specially acknowledged and involved in interactive question and answer sessions so that they do not slip into passivity or distraction.
VII. Quizzing and gamification are good ways of engaging students and serve as a good break loose exercise from mundane question and answer sessions.
VIII. Encouraging shy students to be more participative in class should be a conscious endeavour on part of the teacher. Motivating and kind words of appreciation go a long way in curbing inhibitions among students.
IX. Empowering the students of the class to teach a particular topic or make a presentation really works wonders. Children often surprise their teachers with extraordinary contributions and participation in such cases. The research work carried out by them helps them in learning better and the entire class feels included and participative in the bargain.
X. The most important prerequisite in this context is the positive atmosphere of the class. The classroom dynamics should be progressive, happy and effective. The teacher is meant to be a catalyst, an effective facilitator in the learning process. Transaction should be learner centred and each and every learner should be given cognisance in the class. Learners should be made confident and forthright without being rude and aggressive.
There is no fixed formula for churning out good scholars but there are always ways and means to make learning effective, students attentive and schooling a happy experience for both students and teachers alike.
Vera Hajela was born in UK (Stoke on Trent). She did her schooling from Mount Carmel School, Dhanbad, her graduation from IT College, Lucknow and her Post Graduation from Lucknow University. She was awarded the Woman of the year Award in IT College, she stood second in her PG in MIH (Modern and Medival Indian History) from Lucknow University. She has awarded a Gold Medal from topping in the DPA course from Lucknow University. She has 24 years of teaching experience and has taught English in the ISC Section in CMS before she was promoted to the post of Principal in the year 2011. She was awarded the Ideal Teachers Award and Mother Teresa Sadbhavana Award for the contribution in the field of education. She has a special interest in Public speaking and writing. She has been a debator throughout her student life. She has been comparing for several events all along. Her passion lies in her mission of shaping the lives of children.