In education, we always talk about students’ engagement, we always evaluate a class based on how much students are engaged and involved in learning. Student engagement refers to the degree of attention, involvement, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are being taught. The more students are engaged the more they will be motivated to learn and to grow up in their education.
It is proved that learning improves when students are inquisitive, interested, or inspired, and declines when students are bored, dispassionate, disaffected, or uninspired. “Engaged Students” affects the quality of teaching and learning. Students will have the ability to better understand, analyze, interpret situations and think critically.
Especially nowadays with the remote learning, “Students Engagement” is considered to be one of the hardest challenges faced by almost all teachers.
In light of this, the following elements may help increase students engagement behaviorally, emotionally, and cognitively, therefore positively affecting students learning and achievement.
- Psychology and teacher’s enthusiasm:
Enthusiasm is great eagerness to be involved in a particular activity which you like and enjoy or which you think is important. An enthusiastic teacher spread the excitement, enjoyment, and engages students to participate; and stimulates them to create and innovate. Thus, Teacher enthusiasm motivates students to engage behaviorally and academically.
But sometimes, with an extremely boring teacher, students are behaving well and getting high grades. The difference here is that these students have to follow rules, submit homework and study to avoid being in trouble. However, with the enthusiastic teacher, which is a psychological technique where emotions, energy, knowledge and skills are shared between teachers and student. This enhances students’ abilities and willingness to perform and master more challenging tasks, and higher order thinking.
- Teacher’s way of communication:
“No matter what your topic, your delivery and manner of speaking immeasurably influence your students’ attentiveness and learning.” The above quote is from “Delivering a Lecture,” a chapter in Barbara Gross Davis’ classic text Tools for Teaching.
The teacher communication includes the visual messages (PPT slides, worksheet), verbal message (the words said by the teachers- prepared or improvised) and physical presence.
Regarding the physical presence, some teachers are skilled and are naturally public speakers but also these skills can be learned with the time and with more practices.
(“The Act of Teaching: Theater Techniques for Classrooms and Presentations” from Harvard University’s Nancy Houfek on improving your physical presence in the classroom.)
- Interactive learning:
Interactive learning is a more hands-on, real-world process of relaying information in classrooms. Passive learning relies on listening to teachers’ lecture and memorization of information. But with interactive learning, students are invited to participate in conversations, debates, collaborative work, role-playing group…
Online Sessions can be enjoyable and easier if teachers follow the following tips:
- Present clear, simple and organize materials. (Simple, effective and realizable objectives to be taught every session).
- Interactive concepts explanation using real life situations. (target what the students love)
- Call students by their names to answer questions, give chances and help them to get the answer. (by their nicknames is preferable).
- Get students to take action on what they have learned:
Students have to immediately apply what they have learned. Every lesson should consist of a piece of information and a student action.
These application tasks can be done using one of the following educational tools:
Nearpod / Socrative / Padlet / Quizzes/ Quizlet/ Classkick
Students have to solve the problems/questions assigned in one of the programs during the session. Teacher will give feedback on the students work.
- Regular feedback:
Regular feedback makes students feel more secure, engaged and motivated to progress. Teachers can ask the students to go further, elaborate, or think of the topic from another angle—anything that helps them revisit what they’ve learned and make it stick.
- Make time for fun: It’s often held that it’s harder to maintain your student’s attention through online interactions than it is through the classroom. Fun will make teachers have a rock-solid engagement plan and win the students’ hearts and minds. Indeed, some interactive fun games / Story telling will change the routine and make students feel better.
About Ahlem Baya Chatti
Ahlem Baya Chatti is a passionate and ambitious Tunisian Humanities Head of Department, Business Studies Educator & Career counselor at Al Ittihad National Private School-Al Ain, UAE with more than 8 years of experience. Started her education field since 2013 at Al Adhwa Private School- Al Ain as a Business Studies/Economics teacher where she discovered her love and adoration to this field.
She holds a bachelors’ degree in Finance from the ISG Tunisia. Her leadership skills, holistic commitment and strategic vision helped her to strive and grow up into her career to occupy a position as a school board of directors’ member in 2014 with Al Aldhwa School.
She believes that being an educator is much more than a teacher. Educators inspire young people, motivate them, guide them to explore and discover, and show them the path of innovation, creativity and success. She strongly believes on the new teaching methodologies like the Project Based Learning (PBL), Thinking Based Learning (TBL), Design Thinking, and Gamification…
She had the opportunity to participate and win awards in many entrepreneurship competitions organized by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, Rochester University of Technology Dubai (RIT), Abu Dhabi Port and much more. Also she has taken many initiatives to organize and launch Entrepreneurship competitions inside the school as well as the initiative of implementing the peer tutoring –Volunteering program in the whole school.