Why do we want learners of all ages to be engaged during instruction? Because involved students learn more efficiently and are more successful at remembering what they learned.
In addition, students who are engaged in learning are more likely to become passionate about learning in general. Student engagement is one byproduct of effective instruction that has major pay offs. Now that you know how to measure your students’ level of engagement, how can you increase the amount of time that students in your class are engaged in your instruction? Here are some suggestions:
Use the 10:2 method. For every 10 minutes of instruction allow the students 2 minutes to process and respond to the instruction. This can be done in various ways by having them write what they have learned, questions they may have, or by discussing the content with a fellow student.
Incorporate movement into your lessons. Require students to respond to a question by moving to a certain spot in the room, writing on whiteboards, or standing (or sitting) when they are done thinking about the question, etc.
Pick up the pace. One misconception is that we must go slow for students to really understand and engage in a lesson. There is a lot of evidence that shows that when teaching is at a brisk instructional pace, students have more opportunities to engage, respond, and move on to the next concept (Carnine & Fink, 1978; Williams, 1993; Ernsbarger et al., 2001).
Provide frequent and effective feedback.
Allow students 5-7 seconds of ‘think time’ when asking a question. At the end of the time draw a random name to answer the question.
At the end of a lesson have students use the 3-2-1 method of summarizing by having students record three things they learned, two interesting things, and one question they have about what was taught. Allow time to share their findings with a peer.
Periodically pause mid-sentence when teaching requiring students to fill in the blanks.
Check out this wonderful infographic by Reading Horizons which shows all these ways graphically.
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