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How to Increase Student participation in the Classroom

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It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

– Albert Einstein

One of the most challenging tasks of a teacher is to ignite the imagination of their students and Increase their participation in the class and encourage them to participate in academic activities. It is the nightmare of the teachers to find the ways to increase the participation of students in class. Some of the helpful tips for the teachers to increase student participation are listed below.

These are some of the main reasons why the class becomes tedious and the students lose interest in the class.

  1. Dull and repetitive content

Most of the content for our education system are based on outdated teaching techniques and are repetitive and dull. They lack innovation and fail to appeal to the imagination of the student and attract their interest. Sometimes repetition of facts makes the subject unbearable for your protégé.

Here are some of the things that you can do to avoid these problems-

  • Make proper assessment of their prior knowledge

You could proceed by simply asking students what they know about the topic?” and tabulating their responses on the board. You could also try a pre-test or a graphic organizer like a K-W-L chart. The goal is to find out what the students already know (or think they know). You create buy-in for the students because they feel smart, and you can tailor your lesson to the information they don’t know or don’t remember correctly.

  • Skill group the students

You can divide the class into groups based on what skills they need to practice – not forever, but for a class period or two, so they can focus on what they really need help with. You can regroup students based on their grasping abilities and strengths as well as their shortcomings and weak areas. Then take the time to move between the other groups and help them review. You’ll have more students engaged in the lesson and they’ll get specifically focused practice time. You can also make a group of good students and help them get a preview of the next lesson.

  • Let the students be teachers

Divide the class into small groups and assign them a topic and let them teach the class in turns through notes or presentation. This will inspire them to study the subject and make the class interesting. Encourage them to do interesting activities – write tests for each other, design review games, etc. – and evaluate each group on the accuracy of their content, the creativity of their approach, and how well they work together as a team.

2) The content is too complicated and hard

This is one of the prime problems. The student doesn’t understand the subject and the class and gradually lose interest in the class. If the student is unable to understand one part of the problem then he fails to understand everything after that part.

To solve this problem you can employ the following methods-

  • Encourage students to ask questions

Encourage the students to ask the question however trivial it is, if they do not understand any of the aspects of the subject.  Give each student an index card and ask them to write something about the reading assignment they did for homework. If they don’t have a question, instruct them to write a comment on the reading. You can also come up with innovative exercise like give the student assignments to prepare a questionnaire regarding the chapter after each chapter and submit to the class which can be discussed in the class.

  • Encourage the students to work together

When they bring in their homework, do a quick survey for completeness, then put them in pairs and let them review the homework together. Encourage them to make changes if their partner’s answer looks right. When they’ve finished, review as a class. Students may be less embarrassed to share a group’s answer than their own and you may be able to complete the review more quickly. This can also make them understand their mistakes better as their friend points them out and help them rectify them. They also get to share their respective knowledge and enrich from it.

  • The jigsaw approach

If the content is too hard then divide the class into small teams and give them one portion of the topic to master at a time. If, for example, you’re teaching the Indian freedom struggle, have one group focus on the Indian National Congress, one on The British Government and Crown, one on the firebrand leaders, and so on. Ask them to do a reading on their topic – to become the class “experts” on that subject. Then split up the class into new groups that include one “expert” on each topic. Ask these new groups to work together to write an essay or complete a worksheet that requires information on the subject.

3) Too much content and too little time

Sometimes the biggest problem is that you simply have to get a lot of information out there in a short amount of time. So you opt for a lecture and just want your students to absorb the content. Instead, they fall asleep or stare out the window. What to do in the situation like that?

  • Divide the lecture into intervals

Research shows that an average student can pay attention for a span for as long as his/her age. So even high school kids can only handle about 15-20 minutes at a length. If you have a lot of information to convey, re-arrange your lesson plans so you never lecture for more than 10-15 minutes in one run. Break up large concepts into smaller sections – give a brief lecture, and then do an activity to help it “sink in.” Repeat this process over several days. This will increase participation – and improve comprehension, too.

  • Keep the students busy

Don’t let the student stare at your face or the board while you deliver the lecture. Give them fill in the blanks assignment to be completed during the lecture. You should also encourage the students to take lecture notes. They get to note down the information conveyed during the lecture in their own word which can be very effective in revising as well as writing a fact make it very easy to learn and memorize.

  • Prepare for the future

One of most innovative and interesting activity can be that before a lecture, you can give students a prediction activity. For example, tell them you will be lecturing on Green Revolution and ask them to predict what you will say, or give them a set of true/false statements and ask them to take their best guess. As you lecture, instruct students to compare their guesses with what you actually say. When the lecture is over, have a class discussion and evaluate how accurate student predictions were.

At last the most important thing that I think for the development of the students and their participation in the class is their knowledge base. And for this knowledge base to be strong and enriched the students should be encouraged to read, anything they like. But they should read.



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