29 Strategies to Increase Student Engagement
Classroom Layout Tips to Improve Engagement and Participation
Are you looking for trusted strategies to engage students in the classroom? Various proven methods from child development, psychology and educational professionals can keep students engaged throughout their school day. By using student engagement strategies, teachers find that students gain a deeper understanding and enjoy their lessons in the process.
So, how do you effectively engage your students in learning? A great start would be to read our 29 tried and true strategies for student engagement below! Feel free to choose the strategies you like, implement them into your classroom routine and watch the difference it makes.
Why Is It Important to Engage Students in Learning?
Research shows that engaging students in learning is particularly important because it increases their focus and encourages them to pursue critical thinking at a higher level.
According to a Gallup study, student engagement significantly positively affects student growth. Another study states that engaged students are 2.5 times more inclined to succeed academically and get excellent grades. They're also 4.5 times more inclined to be hopeful about their futures than their disengaged counterparts.
With the right student engagement strategies and student-centered approach, educators can help their students achieve the course's learning objectives.
What Are Engagement Strategies in Education?
Engagement strategies in education teach students to be accountable and allow them to feel involved in the learning process. When students share their thoughts and demonstrate learning regularly with classmates, they inspire their peers to do the same. These learning techniques can even encourage students to create academic goals for themselves.
So long as you regularly incorporate these learning strategies, you can create an engaging and equitable space that makes everyone feel involved.
How to Encourage Active Engagement in the Classroom
To encourage student engagement in the classroom, teachers should try learning strategies and activities like:
- Asking open-ended questions.
- Incorporating group activities.
- Understanding your students' interests.
- Including games and activities in the learning process.
- Encouraging students to share their work.
- Giving and asking for feedback.
Through these learning activities, students can gain confidence in their learning communities and improve their comprehension of the coursework. Ensure your students play a more active role in teaching and collaborative learning, and students will feel more involved and be able to increase the competency of their skills.
29 Student Engagement Strategies
Now that we've established why engaging students in learning is important, let's look at these 29 engagement strategies for teachers to use in the classroom.
1. Create a Personalized Environment
A personalized environment can help engage students by making them feel involved in the learning process. This environment should be a positive learning space that provides an enriching educational experience and fosters engagement. Here's how to increase student engagement through a personalized environment:
- Be approachable.
- Let your students know you're there for them.
- Ask your students about their backgrounds and interests.
2. Define Course Objectives and Expectations
Give learners an outline of what you expect them to learn from a course or lesson and why. Defining your expectations and continually reinforcing course objectives gives students a reason to stay engaged. Teachers can do this by applying expectations to assignments in a way that has students restate the activity's goal and how they can apply the information gained to their lives.
3. Show Your Enthusiasm
Share your excitement about the topics you teach. Happiness is contagious, and a great way to encourage engagement is by showing students your passion and enthusiasm. Doing so helps convey why the topic is interesting and encourages students to care more about the lesson. You can best communicate this enthusiasm through positive body language, an excited tone, explaining why the topic will interest them and using fun, relatable examples.
4. Ask Students What They Understand About a Topic First
It's important to ask students what they know about a topic beforehand because it gives you a better idea of what to cover during class. It also ensures your lessons constantly provide new information to keep students engaged throughout the following classes on that topic. This can even create an engaging recap discussion about how well they remember what they learned before.
5. Encourage Participation
Encourage participation by allowing students to be actively involved in the learning process. You can easily do this through building rapport with your students and creating collaborative learning opportunities to improve their academic experience. Additionally, you can promote classroom participation by:
- Doing discussion-based activities.
- Asking students to respond to another student's opinion on a lesson.
- Teaching students effective participation skills.
6. Implement Student Discussion Time Into Activities
Rather than allowing students to solve example activities on their own, ask them to work through and complete activities in small groups. These group discussions boost engagement and provide students with an opportunity to share their reasoning and problem-solving processes with other students. Working in small groups can especially be useful for activities with explicit solutions and discussing open-ended questions.
7. Create Experiential Learning Opportunities
Experiential learning involves allowing your students to participate in interactive tasks promoting engagement. Through these tasks, students can understand the course goals and topics more deeply. Here's how to improve student engagement with the four key elements of experiential learning:
- Doing: Learn by doing certain activities.
- Context: Make decisions based on an authentic context.
- Feedback: Receive feedback and adjust actions accordingly.
- Reflection: Reflect on success and how to improve.
8. Allow Students to Explain the Concept to Other Students
When your students begin to understand a topic, ask them to explain the concept to the rest of the class and answer their questions. This is an excellent opportunity for engagement because the students get to hear different perspectives, allowing them to understand the topic on a deeper level. Moreover, students may clarify and correct any information from each other to ensure everyone is on the same page.
9. Offer Numerous Versions of Activities
Information only gets through to students when it engages their cognition. That's why offering students diverse learning methods and choices about which learning material they engage with is essential.
Some examples to help students engage in learning activities involve allowing students to choose the type of project they do for assessments or using various modalities to cater to your students' diverse learning styles.
10. Encourage Students to Reflect on Their Learning Processes
Provide your students with regular feedback on critical assignments and create activities that allow your students to carry out self-assessments. If you want to build an engaging learning environment, metacognition is essential to help students discover specific strategies for evaluating and planning their learning. Metacognition is a valuable skill for mastering student learning and sustaining the motivation to learn.
11. Implement Mind Warmups
Get your students warmed up for a subject with a brief work exercise. You can do this by starting the class off with written material on the board and asking students to find mistakes planted within it. Allow your students to work in teams and compete with other groups. This exercise gradually prepares them for the lesson you planned, while collaboration and competition motivate them to stay engaged.
12. Use Credit-Upon-Completion Assignments
Turn your ungraded class materials for classroom discussions into credit-upon-completion assignments. Informal assignments like this teach students to be accountable for completing their work and more serious about handing in their important graded assessments. This encourages students to stay engaged in the classroom throughout their course, allowing them to progress academically and making the grading process easier for educators.
13. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Open-ended questions can have various correct answers and valid perspectives. Most of all, they create interesting discussions.
These questions promote engagement because anyone can answer open-ended questions, whether it's to interpret information or justify an opinion. It also encourages students to be more meticulous in their studies — these questions require a deep understanding of the topic rather than a correct answer.
14. Keep the Classroom Organized
Keep your classroom organized and well-managed to save time looking for misplaced books and lesson materials. A well-organized classroom lets you and your students feel at peace and stay focused. This allows for a more productive day and higher student engagement.
To implement this strategy, remind students to keep the classroom organized and spend time each morning tidying up or decluttering the classroom.
15. Use Various Types of Media
Using technology is an excellent strategy for keeping your students engaged, as it gives them a break from using paper most days. Some mediums you can use include audio, video and digital resources. You can have them take interactive quizzes or watch educational videos. Doing so will capture their attention and keep them engaged with the lesson because it matches the digital world they're familiar with.
16. Fill Intervals Between Lessons
Handing out worksheets or leaving the classroom may cause students to tune out. Try filling these brief windows between lessons with short activities that hold their attention. Here's how to keep students engaged in these situations:
- Quickwrite: Write three key points about the lesson so far.
- Think-Pair-Share: Students reflect on the topic with a partner and then share their discussion with the class.
- What I know already: Ask students to write three things they know about a subject before the lesson begins.
17. Gamify Learning
Adding games to your learning process is a powerful way to drive engagement in the classroom. Turn a few of your course activities and quizzes into games by adding competitive elements, challenges and rewards. Doing so naturally makes students want to participate in the lesson with more interest. It also helps to improve students' thinking, problem-solving and collaborative skills.
18. Do Friendly Competitions
Similar to gamified learning, you can turn your in-class games, quizzes and activities into friendly competitions. When creating these competitions, make sure the activities are low stakes and emphasize the learning aspect rather than winning to make things friendly. By competing with other learners, students can test their skills, stay engaged with the lesson, feel empowered to learn more and improve together.
19. Connect Lessons to the Real World
Student learning is most successful when learners can transfer and apply their knowledge to real-life situations. When you show students how closely your lessons connect to the real world, they become more engaged in the lesson, motivating them to use their critical thinking skills. You can do this by using real-life examples or explaining how a lesson relates to their everyday lives.
20. Encourage Students to Set Goals and Self-Reflect
According to the achievement goal theory, students are more likely to stay engaged when setting academic goals for themselves. With this in mind, encourage your students to create clear goals and spend time guiding them to reflect on their progress.
By self-reflecting, learners can honestly look at their student achievements and find ways to improve. It also gives them a reason to stay attentive in class.
21. Create a Learning Zone That Inspires Students to Learn
Another way to encourage active engagement in the classroom involves changing the classroom design. To form a self-directed learning zone, give students easy access to essential classroom resources and print materials like flashcards and study notes by placing them in storage bins and shelves. It may also help to decorate your walls with posters and objects that promote student engagement.
22. Promote Active Learning
Active learning teaches students to participate in the learning process actively. Participating actively can excite students to tackle new topics and enhance intellectual curiosity. Popular active learning strategies to promote student engagement include:
- Devil's advocate: Challenge learners to debate and think critically about a topic.
- Three-step interview: Group members interview each other and take notes about what they learned.
- The pause procedure: Pause every 12-15 minutes for students to discuss their notes with a partner.
23. Use Assumption Busting
One of the more creative ways to engage students involves listing previously unquestioned assumptions about a topic and asking students to challenge these statements. Deliberately addressing these assumptions stimulates creative thinking and helps students overcome thinking barriers.
Encourage them to explain why an assumption may be false and create new assumptions to talk about. These may spark engaging discussions and new ways to solve problems.
24. Ask for Feedback
Show your students you care about their input. Check in with your students about whether your teaching methods are working for them and if there are any areas you could improve. This strategy helps teachers grow their skills and encourages students to actively engage in their learning processes because they know their teacher regularly seeks it. It's also a great way to let students know their opinions matter.
25. Create a Reward System
Giving students rewards can effectively motivate students to improve their studies. Make tasks and quizzes fun by rewarding students with a predetermined prize. Rewards encourage students to stay focused and meet classroom expectations. Rather than issuing rewards to a single student, giving group rewards is beneficial because it gets students to remind each other to stay focused, and working with friends can engage learners.
26. Give Brain Breaks
Give your students regular breathers with brain breaks. These brief activities allow their brains to cool down from all the information they've been taking in and return to work feeling refreshed and focused.
There are various types of brain breaks, from stretching for a few minutes to playing an educational game that excites them. This is a great way to keep them engaged throughout the lesson.
Brainstorming is an effective engagement tool for developing creative solutions and ideas. Teachers and students can brainstorm to identify an issue and create possible solutions. Here's how to encourage active engagement in the classroom using brainstorming:
- Clearly define the issue and criteria students should meet.
- Make sure students know that all suggestions are welcome.
- Have one student take notes during the brainstorming session.
- Study and evaluate the ideas once the session is complete.
28. Emphasize Accountability With Teamwork
To encourage accountability, put your students in groups and make it clear you expect students to seek assistance from their team members before they turn to you. When a student asks you a question, check with their teammates whether they discussed it first. This motivates student engagement toward the lesson, communication with teammates and responsibility for their actions.
29. Change the Classroom Setup
To maximize student engagement, change the classroom's physical setup of tables, chairs and presentations. Various classroom seating arrangements influence how well students absorb information.
For example, a horseshoe arrangement can improve class discussions, and group pod seating arrangements can benefit group work. You can also improve engagement by moving your desk to a different spot and encouraging students to work in different areas in the classroom.
Enhance Student Engagement With School Planners That Encourage Student Success
Now that you know how to engage students in learning, take student engagement a step further with school planners from Success by Design. Planners promote engagement by encouraging learners to track due dates, create a homework schedule and plan their study time.
What started as a former educator helping teachers and students develop valuable organization skills turned into a 30-year-long business called Success by Design. We provide various school planners for all grade levels designed with the help of professional educators to influence your students' success.
- SBD, Inc.