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3 Tips about Student Engagement You Can't Afford to Miss

Students may consider school boring, tiring, frustrating, or uninteresting. Teachers might observe that students are sleeping during class, don’t participate in discussions, don’t take notes, and refuse to ask questions or receive help from an educator or instructor. These are signs that students are not engaged in the coursework and have little desire to take control of or participate in their learning.

How does a classroom with engaged students look? In classrooms where students are engaged, most children will be paying attention to the instructor. They will likely be taking notes. Students will raise their hands to contribute to a discussion or ask questions about the course material, lesson, or activity. Students will be excited to learn and to help their peers understand. This kind of helpful learning environment is more conducive to student growth and will help pupils see greater academic success. Teachers can promote engaged learning and increase student academic growth environment by doing the following:

Tell students why the lesson is important.

Children and students are inquisitive. They are curious about what things are and why they matter. Students are more likely to pay attention if teachers start the lesson with an explanation about why they are learning this specific concept.

There are many reasons why academic learning is important. Students will use mathematics in their careers, when paying taxes, and when planning a budget. Students will use science when playing outside, stargazing, or getting shots at a doctor’s office. Students will use language to write texts and letters, apply for jobs, read books, and make friends. Students will use history as they seek to understand politics, religion, their communities, and their families. Teachers should explain how a concept or principle is related to the students, when they will use it, and why it is important.

Teachers can also share helpful personal stories or make up scenarios concerning an academic principle. Teachers can share examples of using math to plan enough food for a party or science to explain why plants grow. When teachers use colorful imagery and relevant, engaging scenarios that apply to the lives of their students, students will be more likely to listen and show interest in the lesson, asking questions and remembering key information that will aid in academic growth (Himmelsbach).

Mix up teaching strategies.

Children and students have limited attention spans. Most children can sit still and listen for only a few minutes before getting bored. While older students can pay attention to the lesson for a longer amount of time, the principle still applies; students quickly lose interest when forced to observe or participate in an uninteresting lesson, activity, or discussion.

When teachers incorporate a variety of practical activities and teaching strategies in their lessons , students are more likely to pay attention. As instructors draw their attention from one activity to a discussion to a lecture and back to another activity, students will easily be excited about the various learning opportunities and will have fun participating in hands-on learning (McGraw). Teachers can use the following teaching strategies to encourage student engagement:

  • Play an educational video.
  • Give a short quiz.
  • Assign group projects.
  • Have students work in pairs.
  • Give a brief, clear lecture.
  • Allow students to ask questions.
  • Do an in-class demonstration or experiment.
  • Give students individual study time.
  • Have students complete an online learning assessment or activity.
  • Conduct a lesson outside.
Include chances to re-focus throughout the day.

To students, the school day can feel especially long, tiring, and strenuous. Teachers should provide students with a chance to re-focus and get back on track throughout the day. Teachers will notice that students need a break or need to re-focus when students are quiet, avoid eye contact, are distracted, or are not working on their assigned material (Fulton). As teachers notice these indicators and respond appropriately, students will be able to regain their focus and find success in their classes.

When students arrive at school in the morning, they may be tired, unmotivated, and sleepy. Teachers should start the school day with an engaging, motivating activity that will help students focus from the moment they enter school. Activities can include:

  • Singing a song
  • Doing a short exercise routine
  • Taking a pop quiz
  • Responding to a writing prompt
  • Answering a question of the day

Participation in these activities will help students wake up, get their blood flowing, and will help them get into an academic mindset that will set an easy course for the rest of the school day. Teachers may findthroughout the daythat students get tired or bored or need to re-focus. In these situations, teachers can do the following:

  • Give students a five-minute break to use the restroom and get a drink of water.
  • Administer a practical comprehensive quiz.
  • Have students do a short exercise (jumping jacks, sit-ups, etc.) to help them stay awake.
  • Meditate or focus on organized mindfulness before a test.
Students will appreciate the time to wake themselves up, quickly clear their heads, and re-focus.

While keeping students focused can be difficult, teachers can use various techniques to keep students focused and encourage participation. These techniques include, but are not limited to, explaining the importance of the concept, varying teaching strategies, and offering students opportunities to re-focus throughout the school day. By following these proven techniques and by diligently and patiently striving to help students focus, teachers will quickly achieve greater satisfaction and organization and see greater student engagement and academic growth.


Himmelsbach, Vawn. Top Hat, “19 Student Engagement Strategies to Start with in Your Course,” 

McGraw-Hill Higher Education, “5 Key Tips for More Student Engagement,”https://www.m

Fulton, Jenny. ClassCraft, “What does student engagement look like?”https://www.classcraft

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