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3 Ways to Create Engagement in Class
We’ve all been in those classes, the ones that seemed to last forever! Try and think of what you learned in that class. You probably can’t!
Classes that you just sit in and listen to a teacher drone on and on about whatever subject, are not engaging and therefore do not activate all parts of the student’s brain. Because of this, no real learning is going to take place. Phil Schlechty identified that students who are engaged are enticed by their work, persist no matter the difficulties and are excited about their accomplishments. This is the environment that needs to be created!
So now how do we actually create this in our classrooms. Here are 3 ways to help engage students in your classroom:
One key brain chemical that helps to engage a child’s brain is serotonin. Forming classroom rituals and creating a community environment can help to stimulate this chemical in the brain.
From the moment students walk in your classroom door, their minds should be engaged. Having a regular daily routine from the time students come in to the time they leave can help establish rituals that keep the mind engaged. This may include things like enthusiastically greeting each student at the door or having a daily warm up that is exciting and fun.
Serotonin production can also be impacted by the aesthetics of the classroom. Creating a more “homey” feeling can help students feel comfortable and relaxed while in your class therefore creating serotonin. Consider having things like plants, student work displays, or cozy reading areas to create a feeling of comfort.
This is probably every teacher’s go to when trying to create brain engagement, and with good reason. Studies have proven that your brain is more active during times of movement and even after times of movement. We want students' brains to be active in order to be engaged.
So, it makes sense then that we incorporate movement daily into the classroom.
Some easy and quick ways to bring movement into the classroom include:
● Brain Breaks: These are quick activities that last only a couple of minutes but get students out of their seats. Activities like Simon says, jumping jacks, or free talk time.
● Different seating options: Seating options like standing desks, wobble seats, or stability balls all give students the opportunity to move or fidget as they work.
● Physical attention signals: These types of attention signals require students to do some type of movement, like clapping, snapping or raising their hand.
Another way to get students moving and to better engage their brain, is to have students work collaboratively. Not only will they typically have move locations to work with a group, but this can also require students to move through various stations.
When having students work in pairs or small groups, they are exercising more than one area of their brain which naturally in turn causes the brain to be more active. When working collaboratively, students are having to organize and work through steps of a process, solve issues they have with the assignment or group members, and execute self-control to stay on task.
As students are successful in completing tasks and working with others, their brain emits another chemical important to engagement: dopamine. Dopamine is the reward or pleasure chemical. Typically, students want to do well and feel like they have met expectations. When they do this, they feel rewarded or pleased with themselves releasing this chemical and increasing their brain engagement.
Brain engagement in students is typically not all about big or over the top experiences they have in class. Engagement is built off of simple actions that can be taken daily in order to keep things moving in the classroom and to keep learning and engagement up.
From the founder of Bitesizedessentials.com