Handling a class full of young minds is far from the easiest task. The subjects you’re teaching are valuable and important, but even high school students may struggle to sit up and pay attention if they don’t find a topic interesting.
Creating engaging lessons means students are far more likely to come away having learned something new. Engagement improves their moods and supplies students with feel-good brain chemicals like dopamine. Those brain reactions expand their capacity for paying attention and absorbing information, teach them to associate learning with being happy and drastically improve the rate of skill-building.
New Year New Class! Get to Know Your Students
Down here on Earth there’s no problem powering a car or the jet engines on a plane. They both work on the same principle as rocket ships – fuel is burned and the force that creates is used to move them along. In fact, if you only wanted to make a rocket that could fly in Earth’s atmosphere it wouldn’t be much of a challenge.
Keeping your kids focused on learning has always been a challenge for teachers. The first port of call has always been to get to know your students. Not just names and faces, but details like learning styles and behavioural patterns can make a huge learning difference. Knowing your students’ strengths and interests can help you to relate lessons to topics they already understand. Do your best to learn what excites your students and use that information to engage them and improve their learning experience.
Establish a Relationship With Your Students
As malleable as they are, young minds aren’t going to be interested in every topic. All the tricks in the book can’t make math appealing to a student who has no interest in the lesson. Rather than expecting students to be engaged by the content specifically, teachers should think of themselves as the common element of all lessons. Teachers that are interested in their own material are more likely to make an impact on students.
The relationships you hold with individual students can also be used to increase their engagement. Students are generally more interested in lessons that come from teachers they like, and you can build that kind of rapport by:
- Taking an interest in your students’ social needs
- Maintaining a positive and friendly attitude
- Spending one-on-one time with them
- Spreading praise evenly
Promote a sense of independence, responsibility and competence using class roles. Implementing roles can be as simple as nominating class leaders, handing out daily awards for behaviour or performance, and assigning rotating jobs like classroom cleaning. These small things give your kids a sense of accomplishment and purpose that helps develop their confidence in the classroom environment. As you get to know your students better, take note of their strengths and use classroom roles to encourage their interests and push them out of their comfort zone.
Tie it Into the Real World
Nothing gets a lesson to stick like making the content more tangible. Connecting your lessons to real-world events and phenomena helps students understand the relevance of the lesson. Using real-world examples gives information personal meaning and helps students relate it to other ideas they already understand.
Science classes are an obvious choice for real-world lessons. There are hundreds of classroom experiments that are simple and effective for communicating the topic of the week. But plenty of other classes can be tied into the real world. A biology class could be encouraged to track the growth of baby animals at a local zoo, English students can research and write about their own interests for assignments, and physics classes can explore the real world maths behind local engineering projects.
Shake things up and get your students’ attention by injecting a little fun into their day! Turn your lessons into games, encourage friendly competition or head out of the classroom for a change of scenery.
Having fun with your students is also a great way to engage more of their senses. When combined with reading or lectures, encouraging your students to use other senses and relating material to a context they understand actually improves learning. The neural pathways in our brains become much better at absorbing and retaining information when it comes from multiple sources at once. Offering extra information and using hands-on learning increases comprehension and recall to create a richer learning experience.
Want to Have a Hands-On Lesson? Bring in Street Science!
Hands-on learning is not only one of the most common learning styles among children, it makes it much easier to engage them and provides some real-world sense of what they’re learning. Street Science offers hands-on lessons for kindergarten, primary school and high school students. Our experienced teachers tailor their lessons for your students and pack them full of fun topics your class will love to sink its teeth into. To explore our classes and make a booking simply get in touch with our friendly team today!