It’s normal for kids to get distracted during their lessons. Many times over the years, you might have students whose attention is elsewhere. That’s normal. The behavior is also often rectified with ease. However, given the move to online classrooms, more and more students are drifting off during their lessons, with many teachers finding the trend to be alarming.
There are many factors. Students who grew up with the face-to-face teaching setup aren’t used to the e-learning environment. Their gadgets or tools might lag, too, and that could contribute to low to little no attention paid in class. Some of the students might also be suffering from low-level anxiety or stress brought on by current events. These factors cannot be discounted. If you are looking for ways to improve and keep engagement levels in class, here are some of the suggestions from pros at the best international schools in Singapore. Test them out to see which ones will help with your students.
Start with a Warm-Up
Don’t dive straight into the lesson as soon as the class opens. Spend a few minutes on warming up the class. You can do this by asking them about their weekend. Or, you could provide them with a learning material right at the start with instructions to spot and correct the mistakes. You could also ask them to work together in small groups. This might take around ten to fifteen minutes. By the time the exercise is done, your students should be wide awake enough, involved, and engaged.
Sitting down in class for hours on end isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. If your class is sometime in the late morning or afternoon, it would be a good idea to ask your students to get up and do a few jumping jacks to get their blood moving. That will help improve their blood circulation, all while helping them stay engaged and awake throughout your class. You can also ask them to clap or do a few exercises or stretches.
Open Up Discussions
Classroom discussions are the heart of online classes. They allow your students to express their thoughts, to take part in the exercises, to be heard. With student-centered activities like these, you can build engagement. Ask your class to form groups, assign a topic, allow them to work out how they’ll do a presentation, and watch how they learn to collaborate and improve their communication skills. Allow those discussions to provide them with an avenue where they can say what they feel about the lessons, and in some cases, how those lessons apply to their lives right now.
Ask your students to settle down after a noisy presentation by doing a short journal-writing assignment. Teach them the value of reflection. It could be as simple as a reflection on the activity they just did or a reflection on a particular topic. This can be a more in-depth exploration of the activity. For instance, what about the activity that confused you? Was it boring for you? Was it fun? What did it make you think of in your life? What is your takeaway from all these?
Talk to Your Students
Find out what your students feel. Where are they emotionally? What’s going through their minds and hearts? What’s going through their minds and hearts? Some teachers might find it tempting to limit interactions with students to those that happen inside the classroom. But online classes have blurred the lines. These days, students can text or email their teachers at any time if they have questions or concerns. Teachers need to find a way to provide the help their students need. If that means listening to them, talk about their anxiety, or allowing them to have a safe space where they could talk about what they feel—their fears and ambitions, their hopes, what they dream about, what they want to achieve in the future—then that’s what the best teachers should do.
Give Clear Instructions
When you give out instructions in class, though, make sure you and your students are all on the same page. Do they fully understand what you want them to do? Ask them. Get them to state the activity in their own words and terms, so you’ll know if they truly understood the goals of the exercise and what they need to achieve. Vague instructions could be why your class isn’t as responsive as you wish.
Take Down Notes
Keep track of your interactions with every student. How many positive encounters have you had? Note them all down. Try to increase the number of positive interactions with each of the kids in your class. They’ll remember that, and that could be key in motivating them. That could help build interest and engagement.