Your school has boosted student enrolments through marketing, but how can you ensure you’re delivering on the school’s promises? That means offering a high standard of education. Teaching is hard, from planning and marking to standing in front of a class and explaining your subject to them. Whether you teach Maths, English or Chemistry, teachers across all schools and subjects struggle to make their lessons interesting to all their students.
When one group of students find your lesson boring, they can suddenly throw a spanner into the works of the whole lesson, derailing it and distracting others. A key way to avoid this is by ensuring that students are as interested in and engaged with your lessons as possible at all times. Here are our six ways to keep class interesting for your students.
1. Relate your subject to real life
When students are struggling to engage with their lessons, it is often because they find it difficult to understand how that subject can be applied outside the classroom. If you bring real-life scenarios into the classroom, your students will be able to see the application of your subject. This will then help them understand the material better, giving them more ways to apply their learning in the future.
Finding ways to relate your lessons to things the students experience is one of the best ways to keep class interesting. Picking the right examples is key because they might not understand some of the more adult experiences. Find something they do understand and that they’re interested in and they will give you more of their attention. This means they’ll stay on task and retain more of the lesson’s contents than if you were teaching them the same material in a more abstract way.
2. Play games
Gamification is a great way to keep students engaged and reinforce learning, and can be done with students at all levels. Games add a level of competition and fun to learning. They also provide lots of different, new opportunities to try out what was just taught, and students love the idea of being able to win.
Games are also useful because they can help you establish how much your students have learned. You can also see who needs a bit more help, and what misconceptions you haven’t yet corrected. All of this can be done while they have fun. Additionally, having games as a reward for if they behave well can help reinforce what they know and keep them engaged throughout the rest of the lesson as well.
3. Vary activities
Doing the same thing every lesson, or even throughout a single lesson, can be really dull for many students, especially if they’re in primary or secondary school. Instead, what you should do is have a variety of activities throughout the whole lesson. This means that your pupils don’t have to focus for too long on the same thing. This means they get a chance to do lots of different things when learning the material you’re teaching them.
A 16-year-old can concentrate for around 32-48 minutes. However, this is affected by things like their surroundings, distractions and how interested they are in the activity. By breaking up your activities. your students are engaged and interested in the lesson you’re teaching for longer.
4. Innovate with technology
Technology has been used in the classroom for a few decades now, but teachers need to keep innovating how they use technology to keep pupils interested.
In the past, kids might have been thrilled when teachers wheeled out the television to show a video. Now, they’re more likely to remain interested in your lesson when they’re doing an activity they can participate in. This might be through quizzing apps like Kahoot!, or filming videos of activities they do, or even letting them use their phones to research something in the classroom.
Turning technology into an asset rather than a distraction is difficult, but knowing how to do this will make your classes among the most interesting that your students attend. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to technology. Reinvent tried and tested activities with new, technological aspects that will keep your students interested until the very last minute of your lessons.
5. Give pupils choice
Many pupils feel forced to go to school and don’t get a say in which lessons they attend. This means they can feel trapped and that can lead to them being distracted easily.
If you give them choices in your lessons, through ways to pick what exercises they do or questions they answer, they’ll be more interested in your lessons. This can also help them to begin developing independent learning skills. They’ll need to think about what they need to learn as well as what they want to learn, and how to challenge themselves.
One way you can give students choice is to create a series of shorter activities and place them in a three by three grid. Students have to do three of the activities, and you can customise the rules – maybe they have to be in a straight line or go through the central square. This allows pupils to have a choice in what they do while also reinforcing different aspects of the learning they have done.
6. Don’t repeat yourself
Repetition is one of the few things that practically all students hate. They find it boring so they don’t learn from it. Instead, rather than repeating yourself, reinforce student learning in other ways. Use quizzes, get them to teach each other or create a resource they will be able to use when they need to revise.
If you do need to explain something again, find an alternative way. Consider using a real-life example or an activity that pupils can relate to better will help their understanding. Repeating yourself verbatim will never help and will bore your students more, so keep them interested by trying alternative explanations and activities.
Keeping your classes interesting is as simple as selecting the right learning activities to increase student engagement. This can be from gamification, technological innovation or even through establishing a real-world connection to the subject matter.
Keeping your students interested and engaged is the key to ensuring their learning is effective and thorough, and to keep students interested, they have to be involved. Give them ways to invest in your lessons, and their learning will come far more easily. When students are more interested, they’re also more likely to remember what they learn as a result.