Building a strong student connection means, among other things, establishing trust and always ensuring that you get the most out of your learners. We’ve written extensively about student engagement with their learning programs, but it can begin with the relationships and rapport established between the teachers and students. Using meaningful student engagement strategies in the classroom is a proven way to help students succeed. Although there are many strategies, what are some of the best methods to use?
The Top 7 Strategies to Promote Student Engagement
When student engagement decreases, it reflects directly on the students’ results. In classrooms made up of learners from different backgrounds, it is up to educators to find a balance to make each one comfortable. Let’s look at some of the most influential student engagement strategies to get your students performing.
Familiarize Yourself with Student Culture
These are different times—times dominated by a new wave of technology and digitization. Students are drawn from varying backgrounds, but they all have certain things in common. Social connection and the need to be continuously entertained is the new normal. They naturally gravitate toward particular digital stimuli, and as a result, a new crop of a student is born.
There is an acute need for teachers to familiarize themselves with those student habits that define the new digital generation. Spending the time to learn a thing or two about trending teen interests, including video games, movies, music, and fashion, is one way to go. In doing so, you’ll not only create some connection with the students, but you’ll also understand relevant trends and cultural shifts.
Open Up About Your Life
If done right, sharing with your students about your life can be a magical student engagement strategy. Teaching while remaining aloof is a little outdated, and it only creates severe barriers to teacher-student relationships. It’s best to relax and open up once in a while. Of course, it’s important to know which personal details to reveal and which to keep private.
Young people enjoy funny, true stories, so you can tell them about something that happened to you recently or a fantastic discovery you made that might be relevant to them. It’s also good for them to hear about your own struggles and times you’ve learned from your mistakes. This helps students realize that besides being their teacher, you are also a human being with the same feelings and struggles as everyone else.
When students feel that they know their teachers or understand them better, a connection occurs naturally. Delivering content becomes easy, and studies sink in better.
Show You Care
Students are attuned when they realize their teachers care about them. It is quite unfortunate that the idea of caring can be misunderstood in some scenarios. Many educators are limited by fear of overstepping boundaries, which can be tricky. Avoid things like constant availability, trying to be students’ best friend, prying into their personal business, or choosing favorites. Even assimilating some of their cultures does not amount to caring for them.
Students like an active listener who values their opinions. Greet and engage them in natural conversations, and exercise patience at all times. That amount of attention goes a long way in showing them that they matter.
It is the special moments you create with or for the students that helps them absorb the pressure that comes naturally with academics and social anxieties.
Solve Problems Together
The significance of students knowing they are not alone cannot be overemphasized. Often, there will be problems faced in and out of the classroom, and they will need to be approached collaboratively. In modern teaching, a teacher is no longer viewed as the rock of all knowledge and solutions.
Teachers are mentors, guides, and supporters of the discovery quest in learning. It is a vital role, as students do better in a collaborative setup where they have a platform to express themselves and contribute to problem-solving. Show that they are partners and an integral part of an invincible problem-solving team.
First Impressions Matter
First impressions are considered vital in the corporate world and social engagements because they allow people to instantly connect. The first impression you give to your students sets the tone for the lesson. For this reason, it’s important to focus on the first few minutes of each day, or each class, and be sure you’re setting an engaging and effective tone. Most student engagement strategies draw their relevance from the mode of introduction in the classroom.
You don’t need to go straight to the day’s subject without jogging the students’ minds. Instead, get them into the right mood to learn with a quick hello. Initiate a brief but friendly chat about the happenings of the previous day, sports, an event, or anything you feel they might like. Then, relate this topic to the material you’re about to cover. In short, there are so many possibilities of creating a connection and intriguing them to the lesson of the day.
Smiling is a simple gesture, yet one of the most effective strategies to promote student engagement. Students connect quickly with a happy teacher, and nothing holds them back more than a moody teacher. One of the social benefits of smiling is that it generates positive feelings between two parties.
However, students are bright enough to differentiate between a forced and genuine smile. A genuine smile is reassuring and contagious at the same time. Smiling even when things do not look rosy is also a show of confidence, and young learners can learn something about the power of positivity.
Give Brain Breaks
Allow students some short breathers in the middle of difficult or draining sessions. Activities that let them stretch their muscles and allow them to pull themselves together before getting back to work are encouraged.
The best time for brain breaks is when you read a different mood inside the classroom. It could be out of boredom, depth in content being delivered, or even fatigue. Such moments call for an effective student engagement strategy that momentarily distracts students from the day’s main lesson, without losing focus.
Bring in Technology
As mentioned earlier, the modern student thrives where there is an application of technology. It is a break from traditional teaching methods that may not appeal to most of the students. Although incorporating digital technology into teaching and learning may not be applicable across all scenarios, it works perfectly to intrigue students. It is up to educators to find the most appropriate tech devices for use in the classroom and ensure they are in control.
New, innovative tech devices have a way of appealing even to the most introverted students. By virtue of being customizable, students are made to feel in control when using them, and it makes learning more fun.
The top agenda behind finding the best student engagement strategies is to make it easy for teachers to deliver content and for students to reciprocate by paying attention and grasping all that is being taught.
Supportive tools such as GoGuardian can be handy in helping manage what learners are up to and what each one of them should be doing rather than simply providing tech devices for improved student engagement when the students cannot put them to proper use. With GoGuardian Teacher™, you not only have a real-time view of student activities, but you are also in the position to identify and correct irrelevant behaviors. And if your students are remote, you have the added benefit of virtual connection through GoGuardian Teacher’s video conferencing tool.