Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Actively Engaging Students In The Classroom


Actively Engaging Students in the Classroom

One of the key components to successful teaching is actively engaging the learner in the learning process. No matter what the subject of the class may be or who the student body is, Effective learning happens through engagement. Effective teachers understand how to keep students engaged in a variety of ways throughout their lessons.

Actively Engaging students is not to say that teachers take on the responsibility of learning for the students; both teacher and learner have their distinctive roles.

John Kongsvik is the director of TESOL Trainers, Inc.
Teachers experiencing real lessons
Caleb Gattegno, an expert on the teaching/learning paradigm, captured these roles perfectly, "it's the students' job to learn the language; it's the teacher's job to learn the students."
Thus, while the learners must do their own learning, the facilitator of that process is the teacher. Effective teachers understand how to facilitate learning through engaging the whole of the learner.
There are many benefits to engaging our students and a limitless number of strategies to employ in order to open the door to learning.  Here are a few effective ways...

Actively Engaging Students in the classroom

Apart from the fact that paying attention is a prerequisite to learning, there are many other benefits to engaging our students:

  • Engaging students promotes a positive environment.
  • Engaging students lowers the affective filter.
  • Engaging students fosters interaction and community.
  • Engaging students supports learning (and student) retention.
  • Engaging students empowers learners to learn.
  • Engaging students produces effective, efficient teaching.

John Kongsvik and TESOL Trainers empower teachers to empower themselves
Unscrambling a Dialogue

Designing
and delivering an engaging lesson doesn't need to be an exhaustive, challenging process, that brings to mind the show-and-tell days of kindergarten (fun as they were). 

While there are grandiose manners to insure engagement such as creating a game or writing a skit, there are also smaller, easier measures a teacher can take.


    How do we actively engage our students in my lessons?

    Here are 6 easy tips to keep in mind when considering how to engage your students:
    Energize everyone: If we are physically present, our minds are more apt to be awake as well. There are many ways to energize the class through the use of using manipulatives, music, and movement. When we involve the whole of the learner we energize the body, mind, and spirit.
    Necessitate participation: As teachers, we should never do for the students what they can do for themselves. This includes everything from students passing out materials to students asking and answering the questions. The more we allow students to do their own work, the more they stay engaged.
    John Kongsvik and TESOL Trainers empower teachers to empower themselves
    Group work creates an enjoyable learning environment

    Get them in groups: Cooperative learning is a communal act that fits nicely into any classroom context. When we inject pair work and small group activities, students connect with the content and with one another in a deeper manner.  They also develop comfort in sharing their academic knowledge.  Having students work cooperatively supports their learning and creates community.

    Assess at every step: The more we get from them, the more attention they pay. Random, verbal and non-verbal assessments recycle key points and encourage participation. Trying to find out what students know helps them build confidence and helps us keep them in the center of the class.
    Generate connections: Students need to sense a connection between the content of their world and the world of academia. 

    Personalizing content, building background, and explaining the task's purpose are all ways we generate those connections. 

    Connecting students to what they are doing and why encourages engagement.


    Expect more: When we believe students do know more than they're letting on, we encourage students to reach beyond their comfort zone. That belief however it is expressed is palpable, and students respond to it. When we expect they can, students tend to surprise us, themselves, and their peers.
    Student engagement is paramount to learning the content, learning one another, and learning oneself. For students to develop unconscious competence, they must first act consciously. The more conscious we teachers are in who our students are and how to engage them in their own learning, the more we set our students up for success©.
    One of the true jewels of engaging our students is how it enables us as teachers to check for comprehension and to practice reflective teaching practices.

    John Kongsvik - director of TESOL Trainers, an experiential provider of K-12 professional development
    Workshop on Checking for Comprehension
    So, if you are looking for ways to make your teaching more efficient and more effective, remember ENGAGE. 

    There's no magic to engaging students, but the effects of engaged students can be magical.



    There are countless ways to keep our students engaged. Find out more about how TESOL Trainers can set you and your teachers up for success;  contact us now.

    From The SIOP Trainer:  "Don't just get SIOP Certified, get SIOP Inspired"



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