Student Engagement Strategies:
How To Have Smooth Lessons While
Keeping Kids Interested
One of the many challenges that come with teaching kids is being able to keep them interested and focused long enough until you have finished the lesson. The attention span of children is only said to be “two to three minutes per year of their age.” For instance, 8-year-olds can only focus on a given task for 16 to 24 minutes. 6-years-olds for 12 to 18 minutes, 8 to 12 minutes for 4-year-olds, and 20 to 30 minutes for 10-year-olds As a result keeping kids interested during your lesson can be seen as a difficult task. With such attention spans, it can be difficult to keep the lesson running smoothly.
When you can’t grasp the interest of the children you are teaching, all the lessons you have planned may not be beneficial. This is because students won’t be able to absorb and retain the information you are teaching them if they aren’t focused. So what should you do?
Here are six student engagement strategies to make sure you will have a smooth lesson while keeping kids engaged and interested.
1. Avoid Repeating Material
Reviewing material is an important part of teaching a lesson. However, if you repeat the material exactly how you delivered it the first time, you can lose the interest of your students. So, instead of saying it verbatim, consider reviewing material through a game. This way, you can present the last lesson in a way that’s new to your students.
2. Maximise Technology
Kids love gadgets and technology. It’s no wonder why since most have been exposed to these gadgets from an early age. From their newborn photography sessions to watching televisions at home and playing games with iPads and tablets. Technology is all around us, therefore it is a good idea to incorporate it into your teaching style if you want to keep your lessons interesting. With the many ways to use technology today, simply standing in front of the room and talking is no longer advised. You can use digital field trips, videos, multimedia presentations, and even videoconferences.
3. Interactive Lessons
The most effective way to encourage kids to listen and participate is by including them in your lessons. Try to create hands-on lessons where your students can participate and join learning activities. When a lesson is interactive, it’s highly likely that you can hold kids’ interest and focus much longer.
4. Visual Instructions
To make sure you’ll have a smooth lesson with no interruptions, prepare your instructions ahead of time so you can present them visually. You can use PowerPoint or Prezi, which is a more animated application. The movements, pictures, and visually appealing designs will make it more interesting and exciting for your kids. But more than that, it can help those with poor listening skills understand you better. This way, you don’t have to rely on giving directions orally and you can save your energy answering questions like “What are we going to do again?” and “What comes after this?”
A visual timetable also helps students, especially those with anxiety and processing disorders, know what is happening when. They are also a great way to build routine and inform kids about the expectations for the day.
5. Give Kids a Choice
One way to keep kids interested is to give them the ability to choose. Not only does this motivate them to focus, but it also gives them a sense of independence. So when you are trying to plan your lesson, consider adding a “choice board.” This is a graphic organizer that consists of several squares with each having different activities. Your goal is to let every kid choose activities that can help them understand the lesson while giving them a choice. You can instruct your kids to choose one or more activities which they would like to complete.
6. Relate the Lesson with Real Life
When planning your lessons, make sure to connect it with real-life situations. This will make your material more interesting for the kids and it will also make them understand the importance of what you are teaching. Additionally, it will be easier for them to see how they can use the information you are teaching them.
While it can be difficult, having a smooth lesson while keeping kids interested is possible. You just have to find the right strategy that works best with the kids you are handling. Just remember, lessons shouldn’t be just about lectures and worksheets. Kids should also do more than simply sit, listen, and take down notes.
Kids learn best when a lesson is interestingly presented to them. So if you want to keep your lessons flowy smoothly, try to be creative and think outside the box. Chances are, the kids will respond positively when you do something new and different.
Written by Lauren Potter.
Lauren is the owner of Lollie Claire Photography in Wollongong. Her studio photographs and creates beautiful bespoke memories for mums to be, babies of all ages, and of course families!