On my twitter feed recently I saw a similar diagram circulating around. Due to some poor spelling the teacher inside me forced me to correct it and post it back out for everyone to see. The message however, remains the same. What do we need to do to get meaningful engagement from our students? Getting meaningful engagement out of students really is the holy grail of teaching which is why I thought it necessary to share my ideas with you.
Too often as teachers we get caught up in one of these circles. At times we focus too hard on our subject knowledge and lesson plans which means we lose sight of the bigger picture. To truly engage our students we must take a more holistic approach to our teaching. Understanding the importance of the student and your role in the classroom will ensure meaningful engagement from your students.
5 ways to ensure meaningful engagement
Ensure the lesson content is relevant to the student: If the students understand why they are learning the subject, engagement levels will be a lot higher. Students want to see how what they are learning will be useful in later life
Ensure the content is accessible to the students: If the students are unable to access the work they will not be able to fully engage in it. This can lead to boredom which will likely lead to disruption.
Form positive working relationships with your students: Having students trust is a vital part of learning. It has been shown that we learn best from people we trust and respect. If you take the time to get to know your students, this will happen naturally.
Make sure the lesson is well planned with a variety of tasks: Students need to experience the content from a variety of perspectives. Give them the opportunity to explore it through individual, pair and group based tasks.
Have a deep understanding of the content being taught: Teachers need to know their subject. If not, students may lose their trust in you and the meaningful engagement breaks down. Having a deep understanding of the topic also helps to differentiate work better.