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.