For some children, simply making it through a single day at school is a struggle. Indeed, there are a wide variety of reasons why a student may experience difficulty completing projects or paying attention during class. Some of those issues may be obvious, while others are more subtle. Regardless, teachers can help their students overcome barriers to learning in the classroom by following these five simple, but effective, suggestions:
Implement Tech Wisely
New technology can either be a teacher’s best friend or worst enemy in regard to fostering classroom engagement. Modern students love using tech advancements for assignments, and teachers can and should look for ways to integrate new tech into their lessons. However, it’s important to use technology wisely and not allow certain tech devices (like smartphones) to distract your students. Tech should supplement your current lessons –– not replace them entirely!
Use Physical Examples
Teaching ESL and ELL students presents a unique challenge for educators –– particularly when tackling difficult subject matter. One way to ensure sound communication and to help your students stay on the same page is to use physical examples when setting expectations for a project or task. Showing while also telling is one small way to increase the impact of your lesson.
Give Everyone a Voice
Students who are engaged in the material will naturally fare better than those who aren’t. Occasionally, poor classroom design and acoustics can inhibit teachers from effectively administering their lessons. Note that rearranging desks or simply “speaking louder” is unlikely to alleviate such issues. (In fact, speaking louder doesn’t actually equate to students paying closer attention.) However, innovative products like the Qball are fun methods to increase engagement and guarantee everyone in your class can hear what’s being said at all times.
Get the Whole Group Involved
In an ideal world, all students should feel welcome and comfortable in their classroom setting. Teachers need to protect against students becoming isolated and “checking out” mentally. Group homework assignments can help in this regard, but on a more basic level, simply introducing a few casual, educational activities within the classroom can help your students connect with each other while learning. And developing such positive connotations early could make a huge difference later on. Which leads us to our final point . . .
In many instances, students will respond to the energy their teacher brings to the table. As such, a progressive mindset, offering positive reinforcement, and using affirmative language will help teachers motivate their charges. Remember, a little positivity can go a long way!