For any age group or subject, it is important to get students motivated in creative ways. If you don’t want your class to start daydreaming or thinking about Facebook, you have to find out what works and what doesn’t. Grab their attention!
So how can you ensure students enjoy a class rather than endure it? Here are some of the best ways to get students focused on learning.
Every student is unique. With this in mind, it is important to make each lesson as varied as possible, plan ahead to make them stimulating for different learning styles so every student is included. Visually stimulating lessons could include creating mind maps together or acting out some Shakespeare as a group (funny accents are a must!). Encourage active participation.
Mix it up. You can switch from group activities one day, to paired work, as children are very sociable. And sometimes individual work, such as quiet reading, is a good way to allow students to calmly process information. Try to use as many learning techniques as possible, from participative to competitive collaborative projects, to individual work.
Encouraging your students to visualise their success will aid them in accomplishing goals. If you communicate that a child can succeed, very often they will. This reminder is essential for that dreaded time of the year – examinations. Always be encouraging and set high but attainable goals for each student. Success is the best kind of positive reinforcement.
Change of Scenery
Slight bribery, take your class beyond the classroom walls. Try letting your students research at the library or listen to native speakers in a public area. Get them thinking about the world around them.
It’s not bribery, but it is tried and tested! For young learners: stickers, stamps and certificates are great rewards for hard work. Even displaying the best work on walls can encourage students to make more of an effort.
For older pupils, rewards need to be slightly different. You could watch the film version of a book, when the class has completed it.
Lastly, be excited!
When you’re truly passionate about a subject, your enthusiasm will be infectious. Try to make each subject enjoyable for yourself and the class. Teaching from a textbook every day will only encourage students to switch off.
Get creative. You could bring in guest speakers who are passionate about their field. From that teacher who likes to dress as a different historical figure each week, to the maths teacher who created their own version of Countdown (all memorable and real examples!) There’s no better way to get students participating than to make something fun.
Not all of these ideas will apply to you. But it is important to, above all, encourage your students, give them a sense of control, and put some fun and laughter into the curriculum. Let us know any other suggestions in the comments below.
Laura Stone is a blogger with a keen interest in education and creativity in the classroom. She writes for Carrot Rewards.