Six Crucial Ways to Keep Students Interested in the Classroom
Are your students highly motivated, engaged, and achieving their full potential in class? Every student would be engaged in the class, interested in the subjects, and performing to the best of their abilities in the ideal classroom setting. When beginning a new class, every educator hopes for that.
While some students may be highly engaged and self-motivated, others will base their involvement in the majority of classes on what they see and hear in the classroom and whether or not their expectations are being met. Addressing student engagement can be difficult for traditional classroom teachers, but it can be even more challenging for online teachers who are unable to meet with their students during scheduled class times.
Students typically participate in an online class with a mixture of excitement, apprehension, and uncertainty at the beginning of the course. From a student’s perspective, it takes a lot of effort to stay motivated and involved in the class. Despite the fact that many students are self-directed and capable of maintaining their involvement, others frequently lack self-motivation and begin to withdraw over time. Many teachers are aware that when a student stops participating in class, it is often too late to get them back on track.
Facilitating online classes can require a significant amount of time, which presents a challenge for instructors. It is natural to concentrate on contractual obligations and classroom management when one has a busy schedule and fails to notice a student who gradually withdraws from the class until they are completely absent or have withdrawn. As a result, it’s critical to take a proactive approach to online students and develop an instructional strategy for keeping them engaged and focused in class.
Putting the idea of student engagement into words.
It is common for educators to define the nature of student engagement from a tangible (what is seen) perspective, which can be subjective. You could, for instance, say that a student is highly engaged if they post participation online messages almost every day of the week. How active must a student be in order to meet these requirements? Is their level of engagement comparable to that of a student who posts messages every six days if they post messages every five days? It can be measured by how invested students appear to be in their class as a general rule. This includes their participation in discussions, their ability to ask questions, their timely submission of assignments, and their responsiveness to other students and their instructor. An instructor must pay attention to a number of visual cues if they want a student to be considered highly engaged in class.
Why is student involvement important?
Engagement is important because it shows how involved students are in the class. A distance education class begins to feel like a community when students are fully engaged. Students can easily disengage, lose interest, and eventually withdraw from a class if they are not actively involved, especially in an online class. These students may drop the class if the instructor does not intervene, and a pattern like this may also result in disengagement from their degree program. Because they show how involved students are in the learning process, visual cues are crucial. These cues include their responsiveness to coaching, feedback, and communication, as well as their level of effort.
Learn how to evaluate student engagement.
Visual cues are frequently interpreted in a subjective manner, looking at more than just a student’s written work or tangible work product. The purpose of measuring class engagement is to keep an educator’s awareness of students and their involvement up to date. It’s easy to get so caught up in running the class and having discussions that students who aren’t there aren’t noticed when they aren’t actively present. Instructors with a keen eye for detail can use a spreadsheet to keep track of their students’ progress. Analytics in some learning management systems enable instructors to monitor students’ progress through the course. This is done so that you can observe your students’ progress and pay attention to them.
I’ve created a model called ENGAGE to help teachers increase student engagement in the classroom.
Examine the conditions of the class because they can encourage or discourage active participation. Do, for instance, announcements include a preview or summary of the week’s topics or concepts? Do you offer additional tools? Do you provide students with multiple ways to get in touch with you? All of these methods have the potential to facilitate learning-friendly conditions.
Pay attention to the activities and participation of students. It may be too late to intervene if you wait until you provide feedback to determine who is active and who is not. Students who are becoming disengaged can be identified if the learning management system has features that allow you to monitor students’ access to the course. You can also make a list of students who are behind on their assignments and check to see who has finished the learning activities by the due date.
Determine a benchmark by assessing the typical student’s activity level. Over time, you become familiar with the online class as an instructor. You have a general idea of how much activity is typical of an engaged student in the online class. Use this information to create a basic model and checklist that you can use to keep track of your students’ progress, either verbally or in writing.
As you track students’ progress, assess them and look for visual cues. Consider how well your students are performing as you keep an eye on their progress and compare it to your expectations for their level of participation. For instance, a student can occasionally check in with the class by posting a brief response to a discussion but still not be actively involved. Someone who seems to be just getting by is a student who needs your attention and time.
If it appears that students are not present or are disengaging from the class, communicate with them by phone or email to get their attention. When teaching an online course, it’s critical to keep in touch with your students whenever you notice that they are having trouble, aren’t doing well, or aren’t contributing meaningfully to the discussions.
If you have a good working relationship with your students, they may respond to emails you send to them. A phone call could be a helpful way to reach out to them and demonstrate your willingness to assist them if you haven’t been able to make that connection. Finding a time when both the instructor and the students are available, especially if they are in different time zones, is one of the main obstacles when making phone calls.
Participate in class because students will follow your example. As a faculty director, I’ve seen a lot of online classes where students weren’t paying attention, which was a sign of how engaged their teachers were. If an instructor does not appear to be actively present, students frequently acquire the impression that they do not seem to care about the class. However, just because a teacher is highly visible and engaged does not mean that students will also respond in the same way. They are encouraged to be involved and engaged by an active presence.
Be active in your class at all times.
Engaging students in an online class requires instructor involvement and proactive effort. Before struggling students become disengaged, it is possible to catch them; However, because keeping track of students takes time, it can be difficult. If you only give yourself enough time to complete the necessary facilitation tasks, you might find that you don’t have enough time to talk to students and do outreach.
Establishing an acceptable level of student engagement is one of the first things you can do. You can observe patterns and reach out to your students as necessary by developing this standard. Overall, if you want to keep your students engaged, you must devise a strategy for their conscious awareness. Participation in the learning process, degree program enrollment retention, and overall success are all influenced by student engagement in an online class.
Your students’ performance is directly influenced by you as an educator. Take the initiative, demonstrate to them how to be extremely engaged, and show that you care when they begin to disengage. Teaching and supporting your students’ growth will require time and effort, even if it takes more of your time. Even though you might not see the results of your efforts right away, if a student stays engaged in the course, you will have had a direct impact on their lifelong learning experience. This is probably why you became an educator in the first place: to help your students grow academically.