Week One: EDET 668. How Do We Keep Our Lessons Engaging? Does Innovation Play A Part In This?
Keeping our lessons engaging really depends on your students. You have to know your students, their interests, their likes, and their dislikes, and then you can tailor your lessons to that group of students. Yes, innovation does play a big part in preparing engaging lessons. You have to be creative to tailor to the needs of your students.
Some ways to keep your lessons engaging are by looking at lessons on the Internet, asking other teachers, and even asking the students. I think a really good way to keep students involved is to use project-based learning. As Engaging School: A Handbook For School Leaders suggests, “Students find projects highly engaging because they are conducting work that is meaningful to them, and their families or communities.”
As a teacher, you need to be engaged, yourself. You need to be excited about the subject you are teaching. As Gazin (2015) points out, “When a teacher is passionate about his or her subject matter, this enthusiasm is often infectious. If a teacher is bored, the students will sense it. If the teacher is learning along with the children, exploring and discovering, students will notice this, too.”
A teacher should also think about each student’s learning style. If the student is someone who does not like to write, then that student will not easily engage if you are doing a writing activity. When I plan projects, I let each students choose how to present it. Someone who is great at computers might do a PowerPoint; someone who is artistic might draw the project; someone who loves to write might write something; and someone who loves videos might do a video recording for the same project. I let students know that the approach they choose to take depends on what they are interested in. This increases the chances they will stay engaged on their projects.
I also do projects that appeal to different learning styles, like a Tic-Tac-Toe project. I know there will be times when the students have to do assignments that they don’t like, but I try to include something that most or all will connect with. I also like this learning menu from https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/differentiating-instruction-strategy#
This sounds like a fun way to differentiate instruction to reach more students, and I hope to try it out sometime.
There are many ways to keep your lessons engaging. These are just a few ideas I have come across or have used before. The point is we want students to want to be at school and want to come back. We want them to be excited about learning and want to learn more. If your lessons are not engaging then you are doing a disservice to the students—and that is not what we want as teachers. We want to see students’ faces light up, for them to be questioning and asking about what they are learning. As teachers, I think we should try what we can to keep our lessons engaging. I know I have done a good job if I see the student excited and communicating about what we are learning. Then I know my hard work has paid off. I look forward to learning new ways to engage my students, because I think the more ways you know, the more students you can reach.
Differentiating with Learning Menus. (2015). Retrieved September 6, 2015, from https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/differentiating-instruction-strategy#
Engaging Lessons: A Student Perspective. (2015). Retrieved September 4, 2015, from https://www.teachingchannel.org/blog/2013/12/04/student-playlist-engaging-lessons/
Gazin, A. (2015). Engaging Students: Keep Them on the Edge of Their Seats | Scholastic.com. Retrieved September 3, 2015, from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/engaging-students-keep-them-edge-their-seats