What is Engagement? 7 Ways to Incorporate Engaging Methods

Are your students engaged? Do they really hang on every word you say and follow your directions to the last detail? Probably not so much. Student engagement is so much more than capturing their attention and holding it. Engagement is the level that they are involved.   Engagement occurs when students would rather complete the lesson than text a friend or check their email. Engagement occurs when students completely forget to count down the clock. The bell rings and they are so surprised.

Achieving engagement isn't easy. And, contrary to some evaluation models, it doesn't occur all the time. This isn't a bad thing.  I think we've been made to feel that if our students aren't engaged 100% of the class time we've failed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Solid teaching of basic facts cannot always be presented in a lesson with high-level engagement. There is a time for necessary business and a time to involve students in the process.

Many resources claim to engage your students. I use this phrase in some of my advertising. But I only use it with resources that truly involve the students in their learning process.  Resources that require a great deal of teacher facilitation are not always engaging. You may have a lesson on the most interesting topic ever written, but you can't keep attention past a certain time. It doesn't  matter how interesting you present the material or how interesting the topic is, minds begin to wander and engagement begins to die.

Here are some simple ways to bring some level of engagement into your lessons.

1. Students need to be taught good listening skills. What may look like simple recall may actually be an engaging lesson in listening. Asking students to repeat instructions or teach another student is a very basic way of engaging them.

2. Chunking up your lesson is a great way to achieve engagement.  Don't try to give all of the instructions at once.  You might even leave something out and let the students problem solve to figure out what to do next.

3. Ask a student to prepare a lesson covering material that has been taught in class.  Then give them an opportunity to teach the class.

4. Turn a lesson into a riddle or a puzzle and have the students solve it.

5. Escape rooms are the newest engagement trick. Students can't help but become involved!

6. Turn a lesson into a game. Most students love to play games. This is also a great way to practice collaboration skills.

7. Older methods, such as reading and then sharing content with a peer, can be revitalized to incorporate some student involvement in the lesson.

Think about what keeps your attention and makes you want to become involved. Chances are it will be the same for your students.

Speaking of engagement and escape rooms.... take a look at this!

Fun Variety of Engaging Lessons! 

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