I’ve decided to enter a little competition over at the blogger lounge with world class teachers (a supply agency) asking for my top five tips for keeping children engaged in the classroom. I think often experienced teachers who are very good at keeping a class engaged don’t stop to think about what they’re actually doing to keep the children engaged they just react automatically as they sense the children behaviour and attention begining to slip. So after some serious thought here are my top five tips for keeping children engaged
1. It starts with relationships.
The most important way to keep children engaged is the relationship you build with them. Children have to want to do what you want them to do, they need to see you as someone worth listening too, routines firm but fair rules, consistency, calm and demonstrating the behaviour you want to see will all help children perform at their best. You have to care about your pupils, get to know them , empathise nd show that you’re invested in them and their future. fortunately most children are keen to impress the adults in their lives, those that dont might take a bit of extra work but you’ll get there eventually, even if it feels like it might take forever! remember the only thing you can control in the classroom is you.
2. It’s all about communication.
Sings, symbols, communication aids, objects of reference, translation what every it takes the most important thing is to make sure that children understand what you are saying. If they don’t then you’ve lost them. Total communication is the aim here- every and any method to boost communication should be used. Signs nd symbols aren’t just for children with additional needs they can help support every learner.
3. Resources, resources, resources
having the right resources is crucial. Resources should be interesting, engaging, hands on if possible and beautiful. Why sort with compare bears when you could use petals, or shells or rocks? Why learn your colours using more compare bears when you could use these lovely colour gnomes or wooden sorting pots?
4. Environment love where you teach
So the kids understand you, they have access to great resources and you’ve got a good relationship with them. Now take a look at the classroom, is it inspiring? full of examples of great work? Personal and beautiful? Or is it overwhelming with laminated resources hung from every part of the ceiling, stuck on the walls and probably the floor too? How does it smell? What sounds can you hear? Can they see the board without craning or are your year 6 pupils stuffed into key stage one chairs and their legs wedged under tiny tables borrowed from Reception? There are loads of lovely ideas out there for simple, cheap ways to make a classroom feel loved and the basics can take minutes- checking sight lines, making sure resources are well labelled and organised and just taking a minute to take in the room as a whole.
5. Celebrate your community
A classroom should be a community. Routines like snack time or how you move from one activity to another help to build a sense of familiarity and safety. Celebrating successes of every kind gives every child a chance to feel like a winner, being honest about when things didn’t go so well and more importantly how you deal with that shows children how to deal with disappointments and failure. Class sayings, group rewards, a class bear, birthday rituals. All these things are simple but important ways to help children feel like they belong.