Six Ways to Supercharge Student Engagement
Creating a high level of student engagement takes a lot of work. At the beginning of the school year it’s important to evaluate the methods we use to engage students. Here are six ways to develop high levels of student engagement that have worked really well for me.
1) Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is key to strong student engagement. The type of climate you have within your class directly relates to the amount that students are engaged. From the time students enter the door until they exit at the end of class there is not a more powerful tool than positively reinforcing students. Read my blog, Analyzing Teacher Feedback to help evaluate how much positive reinforcement students are receiving within your classroom.
2) Engaging Instant Activities
Begin each class with a very engaging developmentally appropriate instant activity. It’s amazing how the first activity done in class sets the tone for the duration of the class. Here are a few of my favorite instant activities and fitness activities I have shared on Twitter. It’s important to note that these activities are only meant to last for a small portion of class time. Click on the tweet and save the picture if you would like a copy of the activity instructions.
Enthusiasm is an exceptional tool for engagement. Students feed off of enthusiasm. The more excited you are to be teaching them the more excited students will be to perform the tasks at hand. Students have a sense of how much you enjoy your job. I highly recommend being enthusiastic when it comes to reinforcing positive behavior and a skill. The tone of your voice can even be the difference between students walking to an activity or moving quickly to an activity.
4) Minimizing Your Speech and Instruction
One way to greatly increase student engagement is to minimize the amount of time you spend giving students instruction. Instruction is something that should be well thought out ahead of time and practiced for its fluidity. Instruction is an essential part of teaching; however, when we are a little long-winded we may lose some students as well as decrease the amount of time for them to perform learning outcomes. Read my Blog on Time Analysis to learn how to evaluate your instruction time.
5) Have High Expectations for Students
I have really high expectations for my students. When something does not go quite like it should that’s okay, but we will practice again until it’s done the correct way. It’s a team effort from both of us. I believe that by having these high expectations of my students they in turn have a high level of engagement in my physical education class.
6) Have a Caring Environment
Students need to feel safe before they can fully engage in a class. A great way for them to know you care is simply to tell them. If we tell students that we care about them every day I believe that they are more likely to be engaged and a develop a high level of trust during class.
Strong student engagement is a byproduct of a constant effort to continually tweak the way we teach. I hope at least one of the six ways listed above will help you as you strive to engage students this year.