Getting children to the school gates is one thing, but making sure they’re engaged in lessons is quite another. Parents, teachers and TAs are all responsible for making sure kids of all ages are focused, motivated, and inspired by their learning, but keeping engagement levels high is no mean feat.
While a child’s innate curiosity and inquisitiveness are things to be cherished, they can mean they struggle to concentrate for long periods of time. That means the right tactics need to be used to draw a child’s attention and keep it, ensuring they’re actively engaged in their learning.
Depending on a child’s age, a teacher needs to adapt to the child’s brain capacity and concentration span. It is possible, however, to spark a sense of interest in a child for a specific topic or subject area. If the child is interested and entertained by what is being taught, they will be more likely to remember, and be more open to the learning process.
When trying to keep children’s attention in a classroom environment, a wide variety of tactics need to be used to manage each individual. With the following unique ways of keeping children engaged in lessons, you are sure to get the message across in a clearer and more memorable way.
First, Find Out What They Know
Children pick up knowledge and facts from all kinds of channels and sources, and will be thrilled for the chance to share it with their peers. Asking children questions as opposed to giving a lecture is, therefore, a much better way to boost engagement and keep them on their toes.
By writing the topic at hand on the board and asking the children what they know about the subject, you will discover the knowledge they already have. This way, the mistake of repeating knowledge they already know will be avoided – one sure way of boring a class and leading their attention to wander.
Build a Question Box
Since many children do not like to ask questions about a subject openly, for fear of getting unwanted attention, it’s a great idea to make a question box where children can anonymously submit the questions they want to know about a specific subject. These questions can then be answered in class.
A question box is not only a great way to help less-outgoing children get their voices heard, but is also a means of promoting curiosity. Asking questions means a child cares for and is willing to think about a specific topic – clear evidence of their engagement.
Take a Pause and Go Approach
Do not rush into the lesson and pack the children’s brains with too much information at one time. Furthermore, when explaining something, give them enough time to process and evaluate what they have heard.
When asking a question, pause for a moment or two to give the children enough time to think about a possible answer before launching into an explanation. Maybe break up chunks of new information with lighter, more fun tasks.
Give Them Choice Over Lesson Structure
In a general classroom environment, give the children a choice of how the day’s events will take place. For example, simple choices like what colour chalk will be used for the day, or how long they will be doing a specific activity, can help to keep them motivated and engaged.
Offering choices will spark a new sense of excitement and anticipation that will keep them more alert and engaged with what’s going on around them. It will also give them a sense of responsibility and involvement, which should encourage them to be more interactive.
Let Them Learn from Each Other
While working in groups can cause some conflict – with some students taking leadership more seriously than others – with the right type of encouragement, children can learn a lot about a specific subject from each other. For example, some children may have exciting and unique information about the subject that they can share with fellow students. This helps create a friendly and fun learning environment that the children want to be a part of.
How Can Parents Help Boost Engagement in the Classroom?
Here are a few quick things that you can do, as a parent, to encourage learning and engagement:
- Meet your child’s teacher
- Attend parent-teacher conferences
- Make sure that your child gets homework done
- Find homework help for your child if needed
- Help your child prepare for tests
- Volunteer at your child’s school and/or join your school’s parent-teacher group
- Let the school know your concerns
- Demonstrate a positive attitude about education to your children
- Encourage your child to use the library
- Encourage your child to be responsible and work independently
- Make sure your child is getting plenty of sleep
- Think about your child’s diet – what changes could help them to stay focused and motivated at school?
- Talk to your child about their thoughts and feelings on school. Is there anything they’re concerned about which could be affecting their performance?
- Be sure your child has all the right books, stationery and equipment needed in the classroom
Has this guide proved useful in helping you understand how to improve a child’s engagement in the classroom? Perhaps you’re interested in a career as a teacher, teaching assistant, or other profession working with children? At Oxbridge, we offer a range of certified distance learning courses, developed to give you the skills and experience required to work with children effectively. For more information or to browse our course selection, visit the homepage or call our experienced advisers on 0121 630 3000.