There’s a lot to do as you prepare for a new school year: getting the classroom ready, organizing your materials and plans, and brainstorming the best ways to engage your students both behaviorally and cognitively. Here are a few tips as you design this year’s learning activities:
Share what you learned over summer. Your positive attitude can have a big influence on your students. Come in excited and your enthusiasm will inevitably rub off on them. Spend time developing a list of your takeaways from any recent professional development or personal projects that pertain to student learning. What are you eager to share with students this year?
Give students some control. Empower your students by telling them that they are in charge of their learning. As the school year gets underway, start setting goals and have students come up with their own, as well as steps to achieve them. When possible, invite ideas and input. Rather than dictate, encourage dialogue.
Guide students toward competence. The more you can guide your students toward success, the more motivated they will become. You cannot control students’ work ethic, but you can provide clear, well-thought-out direction in class and offer support and encouragement as students work toward skill mastery. Nurturing students’ sense of competence helps them feel more engaged in the next task.
Commit to building good relationships. Show your students you care. Make your classroom a place where they feel like they belong and are treated fairly. Most of all, make it your class mantra that improvement and learning something new (and not simply obtaining high grades) is success.
This year, refine your student-centered instructional approach to promote higher student engagement. You’ll see your students become more focused and willing to participate, which will result in a richer class experience and greater levels of student success.