The entire education system in India is being transformed by introducing new and modern teaching methods like projects and assignments, co-curricular activities and CCE i.e. Continuous and Comprehensive Education.
And a major part of this revolution is played by the changing classroom dynamics. These days classrooms aren’t about one-way communication from the teacher to the students with the help of a blackboard. It has evolved into a more dynamic and effective form where the flow of knowledge is multi directional. The knowledge and material learned come from contributions made by the teacher and students both. Hence learning becomes more fun and interactive while still getting the material across.
But to make sure, that this method of learning works, it is important to get all the students more involved in the classroom dynamic. Here are 15 ways to get them more involved:
1. Make the classroom mood pro-learning:
The students’ mood affects their learning. Studies have proven that students in a better mood learn and retain more when compared to students who aren’t as happy. That’s why a healthy and relaxed environment of a class is more conducive to engaging students in school. This is the teacher’s responsibility. When a teacher is open and excited about teaching, it reflects in their style. And a happy teacher means happy students.
2. Set a few rules:
Just because a teacher is more relaxed, does not mean that classroom discipline will lose importance. In fact, for healthy and efficient classroom teaching, it is important to set some rules. For example- no interruption when somebody is talking, raising their hand before speaking, waiting to be called upon before answering, no bragging on getting the right answer or no discouragement in any form on getting the wrong one, etc.
3. Encourage students to take part:
Students often find it difficult to switch from the conventional method to the more dynamic method of teaching and may need encouragement and guidance from the teacher. It becomes the teacher’s job to be the patient one and make sure every student follows this more interactive form of teaching and have no problems in the transition.
4. Ensure equal participation:
There are always a few students in a class who speak out more when compared to the others and while it may seem easier to get the answer from those who know, it defeats the purpose of having an open discussion where equal participation is key. Therefore, the teacher should be more observant and make certain that everybody gets a chance.
5. Ensure an open field of learning with no embarrassment:
For a student to be interactive in class, the fear of embarrassment or ridicule should be eliminated, only then can you expect that every student will take part actively. When teaching, the classroom should be a zone free of mockery and taunt and the teacher should make sure that the students understand that making mistakes is a part of learning. Hence, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
6. Give out small rewards for good participation:
Rewarding a good habit will only strengthen it, so if a teacher rewards the students for good participation, it is more likely that the others will follow the example and take part in the classroom. It will also encourage the students to put in a personal effort in learning the topic. Rewards could be as small chocolates or extra marks, etc.
7. Talk about the list of topics with the students and take their help to make a lesson plan:
After the above rules are set, a teacher should involve the students in making a goal oriented lesson plan. As the lesson plan is decided by the students, they will be keen to learn. This will also promote confidence in students and show that the teacher believes in their judgment.
8. Inform the class at least a day before starting a new chapter:
When starting a new chapter or topic, the teacher should inform the class at least a day before as this will help students to come prepared at least with the basics of the topic. In class, when the teacher starts the chapter, the students will be confident in answering questions if they are already familiar with the basics.
9. Include all methods of teaching:
An ideal interactive classroom session should involve more than one form of teaching. This means various techniques can are used. These may involve lectures, using AV aids, practical experiments, group discussions, etc. When using a combination, the students remain on their toes and don’t become apathetic towards the topic. This increases the efficient learning time.
10. Encourage the use of the word ‘why’:
Asking questions is another important factor involved in learning. Questions are a sign that the students are putting in efforts to grasp the underlying logic behind the topic and not just listening. When students ask questions in an interactive class, the doubts are cleared on the spot and the topic becomes more understandable. Therefore asking questions and doubts should always be welcome. Also, it is better when the teacher asks for doubts at regular intervals during a class.
11. Hand small parts of the lesson to students to teach the rest of the class:
Another great way to make sure student participation in the class is to hand out small portions of the chapter to a few students to teach their classmates. They can use any modality of teaching they see fit. By teaching the others, students will retain the topic better and their classmates are also less likely to forget. It will also improve the oratory skills of the students and boost their confidence.
12. Give interesting bits of homework:
Teaching interactively does not mean that students do not get homework. In fact giving homework is a way to ensure that the students stay in touch with the topic. So, instead of giving Q&A or problems, the teacher can give the students small worksheets or assignments or projects which take a little time but still ensure learning.
13. Allow open book quizzes and discussions:
Most students dislike surprise quizzes and tests and with good reason. A fun way to change this attitude is by allowing open book quizzes and tests. In this way, the students will be sure of what they have learned and will correct themselves on the spot if they aren’t sure of something or if they committed a mistake.
14. Give a break:
A timely given break can be all that a class needs to refocus and concentrate, especially when dealing with a tricky topic. When breaks are given it allows the students to assimilate what they have learned and formulate questions and doubts. It also helps in retaining the material better.
15. Review but don’t repeat:
After a chapter is done, it is important to review it quickly before moving on. This will cement the topic further and give the students the last chance to clear their doubts.