7 Techniques Educators can Use to Increase Student Engagement

  Thursday, May 19, 2022

Education leaders and observers are often concerned about American students' performance on assessments. How do American kids compare to students throughout the world? Data from recent international math and science examinations show that American kids remain in the middle of the pack, trailing many other advanced industrial nations.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is one of the most extensive cross-national assessments, measuring reading ability, math and scientific literacy, and other essential skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of rich and developing countries every three years. In PISA rankings, the United States ranked 38th out of 71 nations in math and 24th in science.

According to Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, the latest assessment of US student achievement should serve as a "Sputnik moment" for US politicians and educators. Tucker also mentioned the scores of Chinese students, saying that the US should look into how a country that is still relatively poor can beat children in the world's wealthiest country. "We live in a highly integrated world," Tucker explained. "And, as the OECD figures reveal, the United States cannot manage a world-class economy for long if our workers are among the world's least educated."

Students of America suffer because of a light hand and empty pocket of people who make policies. So, naturally, one can become very frustrated with strict systems in place if one is an educator and might seek to fill in the gaps themselves. Many metropolitan cities in the US are suffering for several reasons regarding student education. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also understandably known as the Nation's Report Card, has existing numbers and data for the results of statewide students. It shouldn't take long to discern that this is something that requires immediate attention and solution.

Engaging Your Students 

Engaging students in the learning process has been shown to improve their attention and focus, motivate them to exercise higher-level critical thinking abilities, and promote meaningful learning experiences. Instructors that use a student-centered approach to instruction boost student engagement, which helps everyone achieve the course's learning objectives more successfully. Student engagement is critical since it is connected to improved academic performance. Hundreds of studies dating back to the 1980s have revealed that student achievement leaps when teachers adopt tactics to attract students' attention and actively engage them in the learning process.

Engaging students in the learning process has been shown to improve their attention and focus, motivate them to exercise higher-level critical thinking abilities, and promote meaningful learning experiences. Instructors that use a student-centered approach to instruction boost student engagement, which helps everyone achieve the course's learning objectives more successfully. Students who aren't engaged are more likely to drop out, have worse test scores, and have more behavioral problems. Regardless of financial position, student engagement can predict student achievement and conduct.

PISA, which assesses academic attainment and engagement among students around the world, states:

"Students who are highly engaged and are effective learners are most likely to be proficient in mathematics, as are students who hold positive dispositions towards schools and learning, who attend school regularly, and who have positive beliefs about mathematics."

7 Techniques Which Will Help

At JournalOwl, we take education seriously, and as a part of our services, we offer guides for educators and teachers to help them with their students. Here are seven techniques that will explain why engagement and student attention are subpar and how you can overcome them.

1. Manage Classroom Expectations

Distractions divert your pupils' attention from your instruction in a crowded classroom, affecting their learning. Classroom management tactics can assist you in creating a regulated environment in which students are encouraged to bring their best selves to class. Although it may seem paradoxical, rules and routines can reduce distractions and improve learning. While each teacher's set of tactics is different, here are a few to get you started:

 Classroom management tactics can assist you in creating a regulated environment in which students are encouraged to bring their best selves to class.
  • Create expectations-setting classroom rules. Allow kids to help you develop the rules and increase student buy-in! Establish shared classroom principles and procedures that reflect them.
  • Establish routines that engage students. Give pupils cues to face the front, pay attention to instructions, and begin learning. Students are engaged and ready to go deep into the subject when focused on you.
  • Set expectations for your classroom community. When students know how their classmates will react, they are more inclined to stay interested and voice their ideas. Shut down dismissive or degrading words, reply neutrally to responses, and establish a safe space for questioning.

2. Pace Your Lessons 

Students, especially those that live in metropolitan areas, tend to be more distracted. Their surroundings specifically target them to become a nervous mess. Going around here and there, trying to keep up with a busy city and its people. It can manage to provide many distractions. There aren't enough hours in a day. According to NEAP, math scores for major metropolitan cities in Massachusetts have decreased. The same can be said about other metropolitan cities in the US. 

To combat this rise in distractions and fast-track living, teachers must pace their lessons accordingly. According to studies, kids' attention should be maintained by changing class activities every 7 to 10 minutes. 

Long lectures, which are a reasonably passive classroom activity, should be avoided in favor of activities that involve pupils. Although verbal dialogues and Q&As provide some interaction and a break from lectures, they do not equate to involvement. Shifting the topic or manner of instruction is one approach to breaking up lectures:

  • Short video clips. Incorporate a relevant video clip and ask students to reply. You can record your lectures and put them up online. Preferably if you use the right kind of platform, for example, YouTube "Shorts" (concise videos) are a distraction from proper education and should be avoided if at all possible. 
  • Collaboration and sharing in groups. Have students work in groups to finish an assignment, then present their findings to the rest of the class. When done online, this can be done in breakout groups, but if done in person, bringing teams together and getting students up to write on the board allows them to roam around during the lecture.

3. Teaching With Technology 

Online diversions abound for today's students. But what if technology might aid learning rather than impede it? Educational technology aids in the development of critical 21st-century skills while also keeping students motivated and learning. By supporting educational objectives, technology can help students learn more deeply. 

However, choosing the "greatest" tech tools without losing sight of your student's learning objectives can be difficult. Once those tools have been found, incorporating them can be a challenging yet eye-opening experience. Advancements in the types and tools we employ to solve problems or achieve a goal are called "technology." Technology in the class might include everything from a low-tech pencil, paper, and chalkboard to presentation software, high-tech tablets, internet collaboration, conferencing tools, etc.

Referring to the previous point, where we discussed using methods to pace your lessons, we mentioned short video clips. Youtube may not be the best platform, so we have you covered with our new service JournalClips™. With this service, you can record your lectures online and upload them for your students to view whenever. It also allows you to ask your students questions regarding the lecture and gauge how much they might have learned. If you want to learn how to make online video comprehension better for your students, you can view our article!

4. Grabbing Their Attention

While many teachers have the opinion that new technologies have resulted in a generation of easily distracted kids with short attention spans, technology is still widely seen as a good element in education. 

According to a Pew Research poll, approximately 75% of teachers say the internet and search engines have a "mainly good" impact on students' research abilities.™

However, as much as technology may be used as an efficient learning tool both inside and outside the classroom, there's no doubting that social media is one of the most significant issues educators face today. Students are distracted by their phones throughout the class, and even when they are not distracted, the amount of time they spend on social media outside of class affects their attention spans.

Because students are more actively engaged at the start of class, aside from the first five minutes when they are settling in, it may be more efficient to start with lectures and transition to activity around 20-25 minutes into the class hour. Teachers can then return to summarize the activity, which will increase student interest and engagement because it reflects what they just did. Regardless of the format, research suggests that incorporating activities and varying content delivery modes helps to keep students engaged.

  • Complete any reference questions or exercises in the first five minutes of class. Invite students to talk about what they wrote or consider how their understanding has evolved.
  • Before students leave class, have them apply what they've learned to an activity—this aids in retaining information before they return home.
  • Discuss how the class's activities today link to their assignment or how they connect to the following class.

You can prep your lectures online with these discussions by using the JournalClips™ platform. 

5. Personalized Learning 

Some pupils work quickly on arithmetic worksheets, while others require more time. Some or even most students will require additional training and possibly remediation while excelling kids may have already grasped the latest idea. How can you keep all levels of learners engaged in your classroom in the face of all of this? Supplementing math education with individualized learning strategies significantly increased students' test performance, according to a Gates Foundation study:

"Students attending [school using personalized learning] made gains in math and reading over the last two years that are significantly greater than a virtual control group made up of similar students selected from comparable schools."

Students who use personalized learning strategies are more motivated and interested in their studies, and they are more likely to conduct self-advocacy. The following are some examples of frequent individualized learning tactics for student engagement:

  • Getting pupils to develop academic goals for themselves
  • From examinations to diary entries, provide students with many opportunities to demonstrate their understanding.
  • Students learn at their speed using flipped instruction methodologies.

Through JournalOwl services, you can communicate with your students to discuss their short-term or long-term goals. It will help them become more responsible for the grades they achieve. 

6. Establish A Good Relationship

Everyone can recall a teacher who had a positive effect on their life and one who made life difficult for a short period. Why? Because teaching is centered on the teacher-student interaction. "Kids aren't going to learn from someone they don't like," Rita Pierson said in her famous TED talk.

Another essential aspect in determining student involvement is the quality of teacher-student connections, especially for challenging students and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Students fulfill their developmental need for a connection with others and a sense of belonging in society when they create close and caring connections with their teachers. 

Students told researchers that good teachers listen to and take a personal interest in students' lives. They show respect, value each student's individuality, and are kind and polite. A caring teacher gives honest but kind feedback and offers second chances. They help students with schoolwork, manage the classroom well, and, perhaps most importantly, plan fun activities.

Relationships between teachers and students can be improved by:

  • Concern for the social and emotional needs of students
  • Having a positive outlook and enthusiasm
  • Increasing students' one-on-one time
  • Treating students with respect
  • Avoiding dishonesty or breaching promises

Students must also see activities as means to achieve maximum involvement. According to research, if students do not believe a learning activity is worthwhile of their time and effort, they may not engage acceptably or perhaps disengage totally. We can, for example, relate activities to students' prior knowledge and experiences to ensure that they are personally meaningful, showcasing the importance of an assigned assignment in personally relevant ways. Adult or expert modeling can also show why a particular activity is worthwhile to pursue and when and how it is employed in real life.

7. Provide Feedback

Students must identify their weak areas and make efforts to improve them. Students who can not detect regions of low performance will not be able to improve their learning. Such circumstances discourage people and often cause them to abandon their goals.

Any response to a student's performance or behavior is considered feedback. It can be expressed verbally, in writing, or through gestures. The goal of feedback in the evaluation and learning process is to help students improve their performance, not to hinder it. The feedback process must be good, or at the very least neutral, learning experience for the learner. Negative feedback can demotivate students' efforts and results. Instructors have a special responsibility to support a student's learning and provide feedback so that the student does not feel defeated when they leave the classroom.

As a result, providing feedback is critical in informing students about where they are performing well, where they need to improve their efforts, and where they understand the content correctly and wrong. When students receive regular feedback on their performance, they are more likely to respond positively and remember what they have learned.

However, if you wait too long to give feedback, the moment will pass you by, and the student will be unable to connect the feedback to the desired action. However, the focus of feedback should always be primarily on the students' vital learning areas - those they excel. When students are given proper explanations or examples, knowing the accuracy and inaccuracy of their work is hugely beneficial to their learning. Use the feedback sandwich strategy to keep your feedback practical and action-oriented. You can use JournalClips™ to provide feedback to your students. According to successful teaching and learning studies, learners desire to know where they stand with their work. Regularly providing answers to the following four questions will aid in providing meaningful student feedback.

  • What options does the student have?
  • What is the pupil unable to do?
  • How does the student's work stack up against that of other students?
  • What can the student do to improve?

Do you use any of these engagement facilitators when executing or planning various learning activities now that you know how to engage students in learning? These excellent strategies for increasing student involvement in learning are simple, but they may necessitate some planning effort. They do, however, have a lot of potentials to help teachers deepen their students' knowledge, form strong relationships with students, and produce more meaningful instructional and curriculum practices. After all, a good learning pattern benefits both professors and students. While it may be challenging to implement at first, it will eventually yield excellent results for everyone involved with the course.

Health Disclaimer

JournalOwl is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, medication, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptoms or conditions. JournalOwl is not authorized to make recommendations about medication or serve as a substitute for professional advice. You should never disregard professional psychological or medical advice, or delay in seeking treatment, based on anything you read on JournalOwl’s website or platform.

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