Effective ways to engage students in learning

  • Teachers around the world face the major problem of motivating their students every day to learn new things. Students are easily motivated to learn when they engage actively in the class. Research has shown that when students are actively involved in the learning process, they perform better in their academics, their classroom behaviour improves significantly, and a high sense of self-confidence and self-esteem engulfs them at all times. Lack of motivation is a dangerous enemy that could easily truncate the dreams of any student who is not encouraged to see the reason why he or she needs to attend classes. This lack of motivation or engagement becomes noticeable through rising absenteeism, which gradually leads to dropping out of school.

    Studies have revealed that when students are engaged in the learning process, their focus and attention soars. They are also innately motivated to practice critical thinking skills at a higher level, thus promoting significant learning experiences. Instructors who implement student-centred approaches to teaching enhance the opportunities for students to engage effectively in the classroom and this helps every learner to achieve their course’s learning objectives quickly.

    Getting involved in classroom activities help to promote creative thinking and discovery. Most students in this category are self-disciplined, busy, and willing to accept responsibility for their learning since they fully understand the reasons why they are in school and how important education is.

    So what are the ways or methods to implement the strategy so that students can become motivated and more engaged in the classroom? Here are useful techniques that have been proven to work and will continue to be useful if put into practice for years to come:

    Active learning

    Active learning calls for the participation of students in the classroom as against just sitting quietly and listening to the instructor. Instructors can foster engagement by incorporating spontaneous writing assignments, short question-and-answer spells, hands-on activities, pragmatic learning events, and discussions incorporated into lectures. Teachers should also consider ways or methods that will help students to establish clear expectations, create efficient evaluation strategies, and provide useful feedback.

    Offer rewards to students that succeed

    Every human likes to be rewarded. Students are no different. Therefore, instructors should reward students’ successes by praising them. When you appreciate a student that performs exceptionally, it helps to build self-confidence and self-esteem which motivate such students to become more engaged in the learning process. Let other students see the work of their classmates who did something exceptional so that they can be motivated to do better next time. Teachers shouldn’t hold back positive criticism, but it should not be demeaning as it could have profound adverse effects on them.

    Use everyday examples during lectures

    According to the author of Teaching Everyone and Systematic Instruction for Students with Moderate and Severe Disabilities, Belva Collins, it is essential for teachers to demonstrate how the application of mathematics can be of help to the lives of students. When students know the rationale behind supposedly complex topics or concepts, and the instructor willingly helps them to connect the ideas to their everyday activities, they will be more interested and more engaged in the learning process.

    Find out what fascinates and interests students, then use them accordingly

    When an instructor can find out what the students are passionate about, he can utilise those interests to increase engagement. It is all about discovering what makes each student tick and working that area of intense interest into the day-to-day activities in the classroom.

    Create challenging and enriching but attainable educational experiences for students

    Students need assignments or projects that cause them to tax their minds, questioning, evaluating, reflecting and linking ideas. These mental and physical activities foster engagement as they will rub minds with other students. Educational experiences such as these increase engagement in the classroom and a befitting reward at the end of the project can be thrown in to boost their academic morale.

    To sum it up, making concerted efforts to ensure your students engage during classes will help them to maintain focus, sustain their behaviours while enabling them to comprehend better and retain the academic information you are working hard to deliver. It is a win-win outcome for both teachers and students.


    Weimer M. (2012, July 26). 10 Ways to Promote Student Engagement. Retrieved December 13, 2017

    Pin-James N. (2014, December 8). Golden Rules for Engaging Students in Learning Activities. Retrieved December 13, 2017

    Young S. (2015, February 24). 14 Classroom Activities that Increase Student Engagement. Retrieved December 13, 2017

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