All of us, at some point in our lives, no matter how much we loved school, have sat through a boring class and stared out the window or at the wall, counting the minutes until class was released. Being a teacher is one of the worst things to notice from your class. It can be hard to engage students depending on what you are teaching, but there are still steps you can take to optimize the level of participation of your students. Below, we will talk about some tips that you can utilize to motivate your students and get them excited about what you are teaching. These steps may not apply to all grade levels, but take what does apply and implement it in your next lesson plan.
For free online lesson plans, teacher resources, and more, visit YMI Classroom. We have a wide variety of resources for educators to utilize to make their teaching environment fun, engaging, and inspiring. Join the YMI Educator Network, or simply reach out to a team member for more information.
Give students an active role
A lot of the time, teachers take an active role in teaching and students take the passive role in sitting back, listening, and taking notes. When it comes to student success, however, empowering your students to think critically and creatively can go a long way in getting them to participate in the lesson plan. Let students have a say in how they approach learning, or when they feel most like they are participating, and do what you can to optimize those experiences.
This can be replicated in online learning by assigning students a role in the online classroom, like asking them to help with certain transitions. If you are teaching a younger class, ask the parents to help as well. Giving students a responsibility, especially when it comes to helping the function of the class, will make the student believe that the success of their learning depends on their participation.
Utilize interactive tools
Interactive tools or platforms used during class may not necessarily make students excited — unless, that is, the tool is some kind of game or fun activity — but it will inspire them to pay attention and participate. These can include short quizzes that are used a few times throughout your lecture or lesson plan.
For online learning, on Zoom perhaps, you can check out the various Zoom strategies to create an interactive classroom environment online. These can also be breakout rooms for students to have small group discussions as well as polls that gauge student understanding.
Setting expectations and making reasonable demands can encourage students to participate, especially when they need a little extra push in the right direction. Offer your class a small incentive to motivate them to push themselves. These incentives can range from awarding students small prizes to offering a class pizza party if the average test score rises. This not only gives students a sense of accomplishment but encourages them to work with a goal in mind.
Offer varied experiences
Not all students respond to lessons in the same way, largely due to the fact that many students learn differently. For some, hands-on experiences are the best, while others are completely fine listening to a lecture. Some may learn best in groups while others prefer to sit quietly by themselves. To keep all students motivated, switch up your lessons so that you engage students with different preferences.
Communication will always be the key to success. Encourage students and their parents to reach out, creating an open line of communication that allows you to talk to students directly about what to expect and how they are adjusting. In online learning, this couldn’t be more important, especially since a lot of changes were brought on when e-learning was implemented. Communicate directly with students to make sure they are understanding the material and work with them to figure out if there are any gaps that need to be filled. This will create a relationship between you and the students which will be carried into the classroom environment and likely bolster their participation.
Try the lesson plans offered by YMI Classroom
One of the best and easiest ways to engage students and encourage them to participate is through lesson plans inspired by well-known movies and books! YMI Classroom offers free online lesson plans for every grade, including home-based learning, and covers concepts like language arts, social studies, health and safety, and more. Educators can even decide to join the YMI Educator Network to gain access to free DVDs, teaching kits, posters, and so much more. Sign up now or simply call our team to learn more.