How engaged are your students in your lessons? This is one measure of how you connect with your students to determine how you perform best as a teacher I.e. altering your lesson plans to make them more interesting and engaging, behavioural management techniques, collaboration in the classroom and the ability to still create a learning environment through all of this.
First is to evaluate how effectively you may use real-life connections or scenarios in the classroom to increase engagement and cooperation from your students.
Is the golden measure of teaching engagement?
Having a strong and positive link between student engagement and academic achievement is vital in your ability to connect with your students. This link is not only used in teacher evaluations but also in delivering lessons I.e. lesson plans, implementing classroom management strategies I.e. behavioural strategies or allocating technology and other resources.
Admirable teachers utilise real-life connections in their classroom environment to make the learning experience for their students fun, engaging and meaningful to enhance engagement and academic learning simultaneously.
Make Learning Fun
In order to make lessons highly productive yet engaging for students, it is important for you to make lesson plans creative, imaginable and motivational to pursue self-initiated learning for all students. This may require a little bit of imagination and creativity from yourself to create fun and meaningful learning activities to suit different grade level students I.e. a high school teacher may require different strategies from a primary school teacher, in the way that teenagers can be restless and uninterested or harder to please/engage with as opposed to a younger student who is satisfied and engaged with the simplest of activities.
Make learning meaningful
Lesson plans should be of more relevance to the student’s life. Engagement will increase if the student themselves sees a point or relevance in learning about a specific topic. It is important to give your students as many reasons as possible for listening to what you’re telling them and giving them reasons as to why they need to pay attention to the topic and how it will benefit them long-term. If they fail to see the point, this will cause the students to become uninterested, restless and often they will start acting up.
Explaining why a lesson is meaningful and relevant to your students, especially when teacher a complex topic such as science or mathematics, that students may beg to differ is entirely relevant to their real-life or future. Now with the immersion of advanced technology, teachers are finding it significantly easier to incorporate real-life examples into their learning due to easy access to a large range of resources. The best way to avoid having bored and uninterested students in your classroom is to ask yourself this question – “Why do students need to learn this?”.
Involve students in lesson development
Avoid telling students why the information is relevant to them, rather get them to answer that question themselves. This will encourage students to think more about the topic, therefore, increasing engagement as learning the material will all make more sense to them. Empowering the students is the main pathway to engagement. Majority of teachers believe in and follow a structured lesson plan and are convinced this will prevent their students becoming bored, however, this in fact ill make students even more uninterested whereas a more flexible lesson plan where students are involved is highly attractive and engaging.
Unfortunately, a large amount of the information provided in schools is of little practical use in real-life scenarios to a broad sector of the student population, particularly those students who may be less academic and are less likely to progress into further education. Due to this, it is important to develop lesson plans that meet the interests of the students with their input.
Bring the real world into the classroom
Teachers will most definitely find that if classroom learning relates to the student’s everyday life/world, students will be more engaged. Always strive for practical relevance when structing lessons plans. Students need to be advised and shown examples to be convinced as to how certain topics are of any significant relevance to them and their everyday life/future, making the concepts less daunting to learn.
This may mean talking about experiences, bringing up current events or even asking students for their input such as their family values or beliefs encouraging input from different students. Events such as field day trips with the class are one amongst the many creative ways to energise and engage students in learning a topic that may be a bit on the sour side in theory.
Use media to your advantage! With the help of YouTube, live stream videos and podcasts, it is easy for teachers to bring the material to life and gain the interest of students. Even use social media to assist the student’s learning by getting them to interact with real-life articles by commenting, tweeting and blogging their opinions on global or local issues. This generates empowerment for the student/s who is given the freedom to explore the relevance of the topic and see for themselves how it will assist them in their everyday life or in their future.
Employ gamification in the classroom
Gamification refers to incorporating games into classroom learning, encouraging students to be active mentally whilst learning the content relevant to their grade level. Games can be incorporated into lesson plans or used at the end as a luring mechanism for students so that they engage in the topic being taught, still being shown the relevance of course, but look forward to the excitement of a game at the end, kind of like a reward. Again, depending on the grade level you teach, mechanisms will have to be altered suitable for the age of students as high school students may not be as excited as primary school students for games.
There are various ways to relate your lessons and activities to the real world to increase engagement, motivation, success and learning. Using real-life connections in your lesson plans will dramatically reduce classroom management challenges because students will be more engaged and will not act up as a result of boredom.