Behavioural, emotional and cognitive engagement tend to be the signs looked for when a teacher or trainer considers whether a student is connecting to a lesson.
With that in mind, to help a student have a positive learning experience, a teacher could look for and create opportunities for the student to connect with the lesson material.
Here are just 3 ways that educators can help students to engage more with the lessons.
- PROVIDE MEANING AND CONSEQUENCE
Why does a student want or even better need to understand what you are sharing? Just about every lesson can be applicable if you look at it hard enough. If a student doesn’t see applicable value in a lesson, they can disengage. Allow for a student to share relatable experiences. Connect the lesson to extra-curricular activities they may be pursuing. Share your own experiences with the lesson’s application and draw the student into your story.
- HELP STUDENTS FEEL COMPETENT.
This plays into the self-determination theory which we’ve talked about before and done a blog and podcast episode on. The feeling of competence, even if it’s not a belief in expertise but rather just that they won’t look like a complete noob, can push students into having a go and experiencing improved learning as a result.
- As educators we should be setting tasks just a little above a student’s current level of ability.
- Have students audibly or if appropriate practically demonstrate their understanding of the task as they go through it, not just at the beginning and end.
- Give good, constructive feedback throughout, but without being overbearing. People can actually revert to helplessness when someone considered more proficient is over their shoulder all the time.
Which leads to tip 3.
- ALLOW AUTONOMY
As educators we can promote a student’s ability to control their behaviours by simply stepping back.
A few tips:
- Allow for the sharing of ideas to be a part of the learning activity.
- Give a place for opinions.
- Use language that isn’t authoritarian and controlling.
- Be patient and allow a student time to work out solutions rather than jumping in as soon as there is a pause in progression.
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