By Earlene Coleman B.A.,M.Ed
It can be a little unsettling when you think you’re teaching the perfect lesson and actually very few students are paying attention.
Teaching has often been called a “noble profession,” one requiring diligence, patience, and a great sense of humor. At times it has been called “art.” However, for those in the trenches, we realize that more is needed and that nothing requires such focus, attention, dedication, and refinement of one’s teaching abilities as keeping all students engaged in classroom learning. After all, Learning is more than merely taking in facts or being able to recall information.
When students walk through the door, you feel the hope and eagerness of teaching them something new. You select from a bag of tricks to enhance the clarity of the lesson being taught, and as teachers; we need to be creative in order to reach the hearts of your students.
I’ve observed many teachers in the classroom develop their own creative lessons to keep students engaged, and here are the tips that consistently get repeated.
1. It’s important that we help students clear their minds of preoccupation with other thoughts and to enable them to concentrate on the matter at hand. When we begin a lesson, we may find that their minds might be racing from various activities of the day. Students might be angry, upset, worrying, or even excited about some incident that happened during the day. It’s important to get those other matters off their mind so that they can focus on the lesson.
2. Design your lesson plans with the real-world in mind, apply core principles and ideas using real-life contexts that make the subject matter meaningful. We must assist all students to become self-directed learners who are able to show, articulate and evaluate what they learn, with different formats.
3. Lessons should build on the students’ prior knowledge, life experiences, and interests. As teachers, we need help children achieve their learning goals and engage them in critical thinking – this will build up their problem solving abilities and promote creative thinking ability.
With these goals in mind, you too can learn the “art” of engagement in the classroom.