Top tips for keeping primary school children engaged

This is my competition entry for a competition in association with Bloggers’ Lounge and World Class Teachers.

There are many reasons why children can become disengaged within the classroom.  I have had all of these in mind when writing my five top tips for keeping children engaged in the classroom.

Tip 1: Use visual, auditory and kinaesthetic styles of teaching and learning for each session

All children learn in different ways and I believe that all these ways need to be catered for in each lesson.  If they are looking, listening and doing, lessons are much more fun as the children are able to get more involved with the learning due to the higher level of interactivity with it.  In my experience, children learn better this way, rather than sitting and passively taking the information in.

Tip 2: Use fun, outside learning and exploring opportunities regularly

From my own experience of being a pupil at Primary School, my memories mainly include the outdoor fun that we took part in: Old Railway walks where we explored nature; Rounders at the playing field; drawing a plan of the school to scale using trundle wheels and other measuring apparatus.  All these activities are firmly stuck in my mind as positive learning experiences.  All of the outside learning, exploring and discovering that I have done with my classes over the years have all been received with enthusiasm and the children continue to talk about them for a long time after the event.

Tip 3: Make children responsible for their own learning

I find that asking children to discover their own ways of answering questions is a very effective way to engage them in their learning.  Although children need to be taught different ways to approach problems, I find that asking them for their own methods that they then use is an excellent intrinsic motivator.

Tip 4: Set clear expectations for talking and listening times

It is very important that children know when they should talk and when they should listen.  I find that using a mixture of giving adequate thinking time, talk partners, group work and quiet time with clear rules on what is expected when these times occur, works well as a way of keeping them engaged.

Tip 5: Treat every child as an individual

To keep children engaged in the classroom, each child need to be viewed as an individual with their own strengths and things they can improve on.  Planning for different individual needs in each session will enable the differing abilities to stay on task, meet targets and feel like they matter.

  • Great tips that I’ll try out when at home with my two – both of them are pre-school age, but I think these tips would still apply.

    • dillydrops

      Thank you. I hope they work well with your little ones.

  • Some really interesting ideas. So important to use a variety of methods as children learn in different ways, and what suits one, doesn’t always work so well for another.

  • Great tips! I don’t have my own kids yet, but will past it to my friend with a little boy ;)

  • Some great tips! I find E varies in which way suits him best to learn depending on what he is doing and his concentration levels that day!

  • I have two boys and they really needed to move about a lot when they were younger. Sitting sit was not their bag at all. Thankfully their teachers realised this!

  • A great set ot tips. I love the one about children learning in different ways – it’s so true, what works for one doesn’t always work for another.

  • thanks for the fantastic tips , i have 7 lil ones and although mine are always happy being outside or playing with arts and crafts its usually the last resort to bring out the board games when i get sick of telling them to get away fromt he tv or computer screens x

  • Some great ideas covered in your post. My children have been lucky in their teachers since they moved school, their teachers are always finding new and innovative ways to engage them. It has especially reaped rewards with Will who previously had the attention span of a gnat!

  • Some great tips. Engaging a child in their learning and adapting to what suits the child is a great way to teach.

    • dillydrops

      Thank you. They are more receptive to the learning by using different styles as it works better for each individual child.

  • Great tips, I think making the responsible for their own learning and making it fun are the most important factors x

    • dillydrops

      Thank you. These are two very important factors.

  • Brilliant tips, thanks for sharing

    • dillydrops

      Thank you!

  • I love your tips and it’s important to make learning fun with this age group too

    • dillydrops

      Thank you. I believe learning should be as fun as possible!

  • I’ll use these tips at home with my little boy. We are going down the home ed route but it absolutely still applies.

    • dillydrops

      I’m glad that they are of use to you. I hope that Home Education works well for you all.

  • Valuable advice. Since we moved to Canada I’ve been impressed by initiatives like Scientists In The School who come in for a day to teach hands-on science to kindergarteners and the primary grades. This kind of variety and engagement is essential to keeping that thirst for learning going.

    • dillydrops

      I certainly is. Scientists In The School sound like a fantastic idea. I think you remember things better if you are involved in them by using all the senses.

  • great tips! Thanks so much for sharing :) x

  • Great tips, i’ll have to pass these on to my sister as my niece started school in September and is a bit of a live wire when it comes to sitting still and focussing in class! Thanks for sharing! xxx

    • dillydrops

      Thank you 🙂 I hope they are of some help. Sitting still and focussing is tricky, no matter what age you are (I still have trouble! lol!)

  • Great tips! I’ll have to remember these when my little one is in school. Thanks x

    • dillydrops

      Thank you! Starting school is such an exciting time. 🙂

  • Some great tips – my 5 year old really struggles with school, they don’t seem to be able to keep him engaged

    • dillydrops

      Thank you. I’m sorry to hear about your little one. Boys (as well as girls) often like more practical or ‘doing’ activities, especially at that age. Are you are able to talk to his teacher about it? I hope things improve for him.x

  • Agree with all of these, especially about catering for all learning styles in a session. I think this is sadly often forgotten in practice, despite being so fundamentally important.

    • dillydrops

      It is very important but unfortunately, there are so many things need to be covered that time restraints, etc. get in the way.

  • Great tips… I think a bit of fun of very important in order to keep them interested

    • dillydrops

      Thank you. Fun lessons always go much more smoothly!

  • Great tips , I shall be sure to use these with my class .

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