Keeping children engaged in their studies is not the easiest task in the world. It requires a lot of commitment, it requires a lot of adapting and a number of other things. The thing that you need to remember is that it is possible, and if you are willing to put the effort in then we bet that you can achieve this. Some people may say it’s impossible, but they are giving up too early, not giving the kids enough of a chance. In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the things that you need to do if you want to keep kids engaged, while also ensuring that they enjoy your classes. Keep reading if you would like to find out more about this.
Set Expectations From The Beginning
First, before you even begin teaching them, you need to set the rules and expectations that you have. Kids hate to hear this, but it’s important that boundaries are discussed and understood right from the beginning. For example, you should be setting the classroom rules out, whether this is an online classroom or an actual classroom, as soon as everyone is settled. It’s important for everyone to know where they stand within the classroom, and it’s your job to ensure that this happens.
You need to be careful that you do not come across as patronizing or condescending while you are doing this. The rules need to be stated as fact, nothing else. If you start talking down to the students, they are never going to want to listen to a single thing that you have to say. It’s for this reason that you need to mention the rules once, and only refer to them when needed. Of course, you will get some students that want to push the boundaries, but this is easily sorted.
Understanding Different Learners
So, if you want to keep the students engaged then you can’t take a one shoe fits all approach to teaching. This is where a lot of teachers lose their students as they are not paying attention to them. Not everyone learns in the same way. But, we’re not suggesting that you have three different learning styles prepared for each class. Instead, what you should be focusing on is teaching what you need to get across, and then looking for those who have struggled to understand. You can then re-explain it in a different way, perhaps in one that they will find easier to get their heads around. Or, you can use visual aids to explain it better.
There are loads of things that you can do to cater to the different ways in which people learn. You don’t even need to look at single people out either, you can simply explain everything in two different ways to ensure that the majority of people know what’s going on. If anyone still doesn’t understand, then perhaps a 1-1 is going to be more effective.
Remain Patient Where You Can
If you get frustrated because a student, or a group of students don’t understand something, you’re going to lose them forever. It’s your job to teach, not to make them feel stupid for not getting something the first time. You don’t understand everything the first time either, so it’s unfair to place unrealistic expectations on the students that you are teaching. As such, you need to remain patient as much as you can. Patience is all part of the job, and when students are getting frustrated, you are the one who needs to keep calm, explain it again and see if you can find a way for them to understand.
It’s extremely difficult to engage people in things that they do not understand, or things that they have no interest in. However, if you remain patient, tell them that they can get it and that you will work with them until they do, they are far more likely to remain engaged in this. Try to pick out the point that they are finding most difficult to understand and work from there.
Try Using Different Methods Of Teaching
There is not only one way to teach. If there was only one way to teach then it would be extremely boring and nobody would get anywhere. Instead of sitting behind a screen and using powerpoint presentations to teach everything, or getting students to read their textbooks and answer questions for 45 minutes, try something that is more exciting. If you can get your students excited and enjoying what they are doing, the knowledge is more likely to sink in. It’s true though that it depends on what you are teaching to what you can actually do to teach the subject.
An example of an idea is for if you are teaching ratio in math. You can do this in a more interactive way rather than just trying to explain on the board. For example, you can use milkshake to explain ratio and this is really going to help it sink in. To make the perfect milkshake, you need 2 parts milk for every one part of milkshake powder for example. It’s a simple example, but seeing it and experiencing it makes it easier to take in than if you are just staring at a drawing on the board.
Use Plenty Of Teaching Materials
There are teaching resources online that you can use, and you can make your own if you want to. Materials are going to be extremely helpful when it comes to explaining things and showing them on paper. Sometimes there are things that get a little bit tricky to explain, but if you have a resource where it is shown on the page, it might be easier for the students to grasp what is going on. A visual representation is not going to help every single time, but it’s always worth giving it a try. A lot of teachers upload their resources online to help other teachers out, so it’s always a good idea to take a look at what you can use. When they have something to actually do rather than just listen, they are more likely to remain engaged in what’s going on in the classroom.
Don’t Give Up On Them
The final thing that we are going to mention is that you should not be giving up on the student’s that you teach. Nobody is a hopeless case, and there is always something that can be done to help. If you come across as though you have given up on someone, all that’s going to achieve is that they are also going to give up on themselves. Try new things, ask them what would help them, spend more time with them 1-1 if this is what they need, but do whatever you can to keep them engaged in their studies. No student deserves to be given up on, especially if they are trying their best.
We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see some of the things that you need to be doing if you’re hoping to keep kids engaged in their studies. It’s tough, but it’s possible and as a teacher you need to be trying to achieve this at all times. We wish you the very best of luck, and hope that you manage to make positive changes and influences to the children that you teach. Remember, there are no bad kids, just ones that need a little more guidance.
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