Finding ways to motivate and engage student participation in class does not have to be like going to the dentist. As we saw in part 1 of the series, How to Increase Student Participation in Your Classroom, it can be as easy as changing up your routine, using visual aids to keep students focused and implementing the multiple intelligence theory into activities.
In the second part of this series you will learn five more tips to get your students actively participating in classroom activities and discussions.
1. Use a Teaching Strategy
There are a wide variety of teaching strategies out there that will help you capture your students attention and get them to participate in class more often. Research has shown that students have to be engaged in order for learning to take place. Using cooperative learning strategies such as the jigsaw, think-share-pair or round robin can have students actively participating in class discussions. Finding interactive activities will promote participation and give students the opportunity to have a voice in what they are learning.
2. Teach with Technology
With all the new technology that is out there today, it would be a shame not to incorporate it into your everyday lessons. Kids are the ones that are the most up to date with the recent gadgets that are on the market today. Use there expertise to your advantage and incorporate lessons and activities that use the iPad, iPhone or whatever new devise that is out there. If you aren't that lucky to have any of these new gadgets, then simply use a computer, Smart-board or a gaming system to practice lessons. This will capture any child's attention and motivate them to participate in class.
3. Limit Your Words
Have you ever noticed that when people tend to ramble on when they are talking your mind tends to drift off? This can happen a lot at school. Look around your classroom when you are teaching a lesson that lasts more than ten minutes long. You will notice a sea of faces gazing out the window or staring into never never land. Try to limit the amount of words you use in a lesson or activity. Short and to the point is the best way to go if you want to keep your students attention. Once you have them engaged, this is when you can get them to participate.
4. Keep it Fair
In all classrooms you will find a few students that just do not feel comfortable talking in class. Instead of always calling on the same students, keep it fair and promote equal participation. For the shy students, try partner activities so they can have a chance to get their voice heard without feeling intimidated and uncomfortable. Once they are used to participating in partner activities, then try small groups, followed by whole class lessons. This will ease the shy students into feeling comfortable sharing their views, and allow all students to cooperate.
5. Be Polite
Be kind and show your students appreciation for their hard work. When you ask for an answer, say please and when they answer a question, say thank you. Students that feel appreciated tend to participate in class discussions more. At least, that is what I have found.
Read Part 1 of the series How to Increase Student Participation in Your Classroom to learn five more tips.