Jaye Parks 11/16/15
Learning Channel-1 Minute Videos With Engagement Strategies
Journal Articles on Student Engagement
Active learning requires students to participate in class, as opposed to sitting and listening quietly. Strategies include, but are not limited to, brief question-and-answer sessions, discussion integrated into the lecture, impromptu writing assignments, hands-on activities, and experiential learning events. As you think of integrating active learning strategies into your course, consider ways to set clear expectations, design effective evaluation strategies, and provide helpful feedback.
“Start classes with a puzzle to be solved or a mystery to be understood. Behind all of the window-dressing, this is what we are really doing when we create strong active learning modules.”
Ben Wiggins, Course Coordinator, Biology
Getting Students to Open Up
There are many ways that teachers can get to know their students. Here are a few useful strategies.
- On the first day of class, give students a questionnaire to complete, or invite them to write you a letter about themselves. The sooner you learn something about your students, the better equipped you will be to build personal relationships and address their concerns. By knowing which students consider themselves math phobics, poor writers, or reluctant readers, you can find ways to make sure they have a chance to feel good about a small success right away.
- Ask students who have not done the homework or who have come late to class to write a note explaining why. Establish this requirement on the first day of class, but don't present it as a punishment. Students should see these notes as an opportunity to communicate privately with the teacher. As trust is established, students will feel freer about sharing personal concerns that affect their classroom performance. Even if you can do nothing to solve a problem a student has at home, you may be able to suggest better ways to deal with it.
- Ask students to write learning logs from time to time. Logs are especially useful at the end of a class in which new material has been introduced. For example, “Briefly summarize what you learned today, and note any questions you have.” Don't grade the logs; just read them quickly to note common problems to address in the next class, and list names of students who may need extra help. Taking the time to write a short comment or just draw a smiley face on each student's log before returning them also shows students that you care about them as people and want them to learn.
The same kind of assignment can be added to a homework paper or as the last question on a test: “What did you find confusing about this assignment?” or “How do you feel you did on this test? What would have helped you do even better?”
- Invite students to help you solve classroom problems, such as a lack of classroom participation or students' constantly interrupting one another. Even if you wish to discuss the issue with the students, having them write their ideas down first will make the discussion more productive. Although students may not suggest any workable solutions to the problem, their comments can often lead to a strategy for solving the problem. Perhaps even more important, students will feel empowered.
Writing works because every student gets to share what he or she thinks, misunderstands, or needs to know. Teachers who depend on students to say aloud what they don't understand may be fooled into thinking that everything is okay when there are no questions. Many students, however, are reluctant to speak up in front of their peers for fear of looking foolish. Unfortunately, teachers don't have time for individual conversations with each student, but writing can be an invaluable substitute.