The world as we know it has fundamentally changed. Children as young as two know how to navigate a tablet and having a phone in primary school is now the social norm. Distraction and disengagement in the classroom is at an all time high and it has become even more difficult to motivate students, who like many of us, struggle to resist the temptation of browsing through their phones.
However, where there’s a will, there’s a way! If you’ve noticed some students aren’t paying attention, here’s 10 easy tips you can implement to put life back into your lessons and motivate pupils to keep pushing…
Give assignments that are fun – Set projects that are fun but relevant. Perhaps they could write their own raps to reflect what they’ve learnt when studying Shakespeare. Pupils can even produce their own short story during creative writing or create their own website and post important information regarding the lesson, that they can later refer to for revision and homework.
Use a variety of learning styles in class – Adapt different learning styles in your classroom in order to cater to the needs of every student. Notice the methods you use when students begin to disengage and make note of them to see if you can recognise a pattern.
Competition, games and challenges – Test your students in fun ways. Use games and competitions to see what the students have understood and what they haven’t. It could be as simple as throwing a ball to students at the end of the lesson and asking quick fire questions. Prompt them to repeat the process and ask there own questions to other classmates. This is an easy way to observe how well pupils are doing and determine what to focus on.
Rewards – Reward students whenever they do well even if it is a sticker, a badge or even being allowed to listen to their own music. If the whole class performs well in a test or grades are up, treat them to a film or have a small class party with lots of food to show that you appreciate the effort. It shows students that good behaviour and hard work doesn’t go unnoticed which in itself will continue to motivate them even more!
Encourage students – It’s integral to focus on what they are doing well but remember that bad behaviour must always have negative consequences also. However, once you have ensured that your pupil understands what they did wrong, use scenarios to persuade them not to do it again.
Draw connections to real life – A common thing a teacher may hear is “how is this going to help me in real life?”. This is your opportunity to draw inspiration from the every day and insert it into your teaching methods. For example, when doing maths you could ask those who love sports to calculate the diameter of a pitch etc. This can help students find the topic more relatable.
Fun Fridays – If the class has been good all week give them a choice of what activities they would like to do on Friday that are related to the topic and let them run the lesson (within reason!).
Be energetic – It is important to show your passion and let your students see why you love the subject you teach in the first place. Remember why you fell in love with it and this will transpire in your teaching and hopefully, create some concentrating converts!
Recognise strengths and weaknesses – Pay close attention to what your students are good at and what they are not so good at. Reward their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses.