3.3 Maintaining Students’ Attention and Participation
Sustaining students’ attention requires active not passive learning. It also requires that teachers incorporate a variety of formats and activities that are woven throughout the lesson.
General Tips for Keeping Students Engaged
- Move around in the classroom, maintaining your visibility, as well as providing individual assistance (clarification, cueing and prompting, redirection) and feedback as needed.
- Use high-interest materials and teach to students’ varied learning styles (List 3.7).
- Write key words or pictures on the board or projector while presenting.
- Use technology to enhance instruction—document cameras, interactive white-boards, video-streaming, PowerPoint, interactive software, the Internet, and tools for students such as tablets and netbooks.
- Illustrate throughout your presentation, even if you lack the skill or talent to draw well. Drawings do not have to be sophisticated or accurate. In fact, generally the sillier they are, the better, and stick figures are fine. Your efforts to illustrate vocabulary, concepts, and so forth not only focus students’ attention, but help in the retention of information.
- Incorporate demonstrations, role-playing, hands-on activities, anecdotes and storytelling, and multimedia presentations into your teaching whenever possible.
- Build in several movement opportunities during the lesson.
- Reduce lag time by being prepared.
- Monitor and vary your rate, volume, and tone of voice.
- Have students ...