Competing with cell phones and video games for students' attention can be daunting for teachers today. But there are ways to tap into your student's creativity and stir their excitement to get them more fully engaged in learning activities. Here are a few suggestions for unlocking your students' enthusiasm for education.
Instead of fighting technology like for your students' attention, optimize its use. Consider the use of classroom clickers that allow students to click anonymously when they have a question about material being presented. Encourage the use of presentations design programs like Prezi, and show students how to create blogs using a program like Medium to publish their ideas for the public to read. Technology can be fun and an invaluable learning tool.
Getting students engaged in assignments outside the classroom is a great way to connect them with the outside world and empower them to make decisions about their own learning. For example, choosing a local community issue for research and interviewing someone closely involved with it offers meaningful real-world experience and insight that will excite them about the topic and the class.
Arts and music
Everyone loves the arts and music, especially students. Fortunately, there are many ways to use both in class activities. Some instructors play popular music before or during class periods. Others encourage students to include music as a backdrop to classroom presentations or to enhance a written project. Art pieces can be studied, projected, and observed first-hand by taking field trips to museums or local landmarks. Professionals in the field, like those with an online music education degree, may be willing to give a talk or demonstration at your school, which can stimulate student interest.
Some instructors organize a service learning opportunity for individual students in their courses or an entire classroom. For example, a biology teacher may offer extra credit as part of a service learning opportunity for students who volunteer to pick up dead branches at a metropolitan park. A park ranger may lead the project and offer interesting information about the park foliage to enhance the learning experience.
Letting students share assignments with classmates fosters a sense of pride and confidence in their ability to accomplish something meaningful that others will enjoy. Supported by PowerPoint, video clips, audio recordings, and other AV options, these presentations bring peer learning to the students' level as they prepare reports for those with similar interests.
Add an extra dimension for learning with assignments like these. Because each student learns in a different way, it’s important to incorporate new ideas in teaching lessons to get everyone engaged.