Innovative Teaching Strategies that Improve Student Engagement
“In education, student engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education”. When students are engaged with the lesson being taught, they learn more and retain more. Students who are engaged in the work tend to persist more and find joy in completing the work.
You may ask the question, “What types of work are engaging?” We know from speaking to students that they prefer work where they can have hands-on activities and get to collaborate with their peers. They tend to be less engaged when listening to teacher lectures or doing repetitive tasks and “busy work.”
Many of these strategies take students to levels of learning they never thought possible. The students actively seek knowledge and don’t just sit and receive the knowledge from a lecture or worksheet.
1. Creative Teaching
Take the help of tools to stimulate creativity. Include playful games or forms of visual exercises that will excite young minds and capture their interest.
This is a time-tested method to identify every young student’s creative abilities and encourage creative contributions.
Bring aspects of creativity into all your subjects, be it mathematics, science, or history. Think of ways to develop their creative ideas. Encourage different ideas, give them the freedom to explore.
2. Cross over Teaching
While this form of teaching does not include technology, it is an enriching experience for the student as well as the faculty. Here, the learning happens in an informal setting such as after-school learning clubs, or trips to museums and exhibition. The teacher can link the educational content with the experiences that the students are having. This teaching is further enhanced and deepened by adding questions related to the subject. The students can then add to the classroom discussions through field trip notes, photographic projects and other group assignments related to the trip.
3. Teaching through Flipping Classrooms
Flipping the classroom is becoming an increasingly popular effective teaching method. In this technique, the students are made active participants of the learning process by passing the onus of learning on them, it requires the teachers to relegate to the role of resource providers and the students take the responsibility of gathering concepts information. Using various tools of technology the students are encouraged to constructing knowledge, fill in the information gaps and make inferences on their own as and when needed.
While many may question if giving students the responsibility of learning may world, it has been seen by teachers across the world that when put in charge of their own learning they immersive themselves more in the subject, taking more interest and learning better. This method of teaching is one of the best ways to lay the foundation in independent learning.
4. Audio & Video Tools
Incorporate audio-visual materials to supplement textbooks during your sessions. These can be models, filmstrips, movies, pictures, infographics or other mind mapping and brain mapping tools.
Such tools will help their imagination thrive and grow.
These methods will not only develop their ability to listen but will also help them understand the concepts better.
For example, you can get some oral history materials, conduct live online discussions or playback recordings of public lectures.
If you are tech-savvy, there are also a number of smart apps for preschoolers that you can utilize to create awesome slideshows or presentations.
5. Inquiry-Based Learning
Inquiry-based learning is one of the most powerful teaching strategies in the classroom because research tells us that students learn best when they construct their own meaning. Inquiry-based learning triggers student curiosity. Teachers act as facilitators during the inquiry-based learning process.
According to Heather Wolpert-Gawron in the Edutopia article, “What the Heck is Inquiry-Based Learning?”, there are four steps in the process:
- Students develop questions that they are hungry to answer
- Students research the topic using time in class
- Students present what they’ve learned
- Students reflect on what worked about the process and what didn’t
In a classroom where students research a topic then present their findings, inquiry-based learning allows students to “learn deeper and wider than ever before” (Wolpert-Gawron, 2016). In traditional teaching, students are less likely to ask questions and are expected to listen and answer questions posed by the teacher. Inquiry-based learning allows students to pose the questions and research and convert the information into useful knowledge, thus ramping up the level of student engagement.
6. Project-Based Learning
Research confirms that project-based learning (PBL) is an effective and enjoyable way to learn. PBL also develops deeper learning competencies required for success in college, career, and civic life.
Project-based learning uses real-world scenarios, challenges, and problems to engage students in critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and self-management. Once students solve the problem or challenge, they present their solutions. The problems students solve can be presented to community leaders to solve problems in their own community.
PBL uses collaboration, digital tools, and problem solving skills to come up with a solution to the problem presented. Why are so many educators interested in this teaching method?
- PBL makes school more engaging for students
- PBL improves learning
- PBL provides opportunities for students to use technology
- PBL makes teaching more enjoyable and rewarding
- PBL connects students and schools with communities and the real world.