How to engage students

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There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a perhaps previously disengaged pupil, or a new class, get truly engaged with learning…

How can you maximise pupil engagement?

Make it meaningful

Connect what you’re teaching to real life by asking pupils about their personal interests and ambitions. As a teacher, you should know the real-world application of your specialism subject – come up with fun ways to communicate this to your pupils.

Start class with a fun warm-up

Starting with a fun and easy warm-up activity sets the scene for the rest of your lesson. For example, you can put an exercise with a “mistake” (or 5) on the board, and tell the pupils to spend 5 minutes looking for the errors. This could be a simple maths problem, a sentence, etc.

Be only slightly beyond students’ current levels of proficiency

Studies have shown that, perhaps unsurprisingly, success is the most motivating and engaging aspect of learning. Creating lessons with work that is definitely attainable for your pupils with a reasonable amount of effort, creates a reward cycle for pupils when they succeed that will keep them engaged with your lessons for a long time to come.

Ask pupils demonstrate understanding throughout the activity

To make sure that your pupils are finding the work attainable and engaging, check in with pupils throughout the activity. If pupils are feeling lost, it is much better to find out in the middle of the lesson than at the end (or when the homework comes back!), so that you can help, or recalibrate the activity if necessary.

Embrace collaborative learning

When pupils work together to succeed, engagement is the result. Working together teaches pupils to collaborate and explain their interpretation of the task at hand to each other, creating a better learning environment and helping success belong to everyone.

Establish positive teacher-student relationships

A pupil with whom you have a positive relationship will feel that they are on “your side”, and will work hard to impress you with their hard work. If a pupil seems disengaged, take some time to have a friendly chat with them and see how quickly things turn around.

Teaching with Engage

All teachers are welcome to join our free CPD sessions, including those on engaging pupils, which are run by our expert Partnership & Development team of former senior leaders.

If you’re ready to try your hand with some of these behaviour management strategies, but need a school to do them in, get in touch with us and let one of our friendly consultants find the perfect teaching role for you!

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