In order for students to understand what teachers are trying to say, they have to hear what the teachers are saying! Engaging students is a daunting task, but there are ways to get your information through to them.
Here are some Classroom Management techniques to help engage your students.
- Lead-In Activity- this will get your students' brains warmed up before you begin the day's lesson. Consider these activities "Jumping Jacks for the Mind!"
- "When will I use this?"- Students always want to know how class topics will relate to them in the "real world." Make the subject matter practical (CVS teachers are the best at this!) Present the information as the students might see it on tests or assignments, and then relate it to their lives. Make it seem real to them instead of spouting off some abstract concept.
- "There was this one time…"- Students love to hear stories. Use your personal experiences in your lessons, as they relate to the topics being discussed. Allow the students to visualize concepts through your stories.
- Activities, Activities, Activities!- Activities are the one way to trick students into learning important concepts without them realizing they are (oh no!) learning!
- Don't be a Dictator!- Students always unfairly compare being in schools to being in prison. Avoid this in your classroom by offering choice of assignments. (I.e. Present an assignment and allow students to choose how they answer the same problem from three different methods.)
- " I didn't get it because I'm a visual person."- All students learn in differently. Try to present your ideas or concepts in multiple ways, exploring multiple modalities of learning. Expose all the senses by giving the information to students so that they hear it, see it, feel it, and hopefully understand it. Use different colors, sounds or music , and/or hands-on examples to reinforce lessons.
- If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!- How do a majority of students spend their free time???…playing video games! Students can easily wire and install elaborate entertainment systems in their cars, most have hi-tech communication devices, and some understand computers better than district technology personal (sorry!) Take advantage of this by incorporating technology into your classroom. Use multi-media systems to show informative web pages, videos, and power points that enhance lessons. Have students do assignments on the internet instead of in their textbooks. *Your school media specialists can help you implement these technologies into your classes.
- If they want to talk, let them talk!!!- Encourage student responses in class. They may help you relate information in a way this is more easily retained by other students. Group assignments are great because students are able to communicate and talk, yet in a more constructive way.
- Mix it up!- You can't expect to keep your kids' attention for ninety minutes by making them sit and listen to you lecture. You can provide variety without sacrificing structure. Break the class period down into sections, were information is explored in different ways (I.e. lead-in activity, notes, lecture, group work, assignment, hands-on activity, review.)
- Don't be afraid to have fun!- It's ok to make your class fun. If your kids enjoy their time with you, they are more likely to be successful. Your class might be the only time of the day that they feel important, or the only time they smile. Remember all the teachers that you hated in school and make sure you aren't repeating their boring ways.