How teachers can engage students

There are times teachers feel lost, you’ve done everything – a proper curriculum, being on time, giving enough practice questions, recommended reading lists, opening up your afternoons for weak students to approach you. These may be what your teacher gave you when you were a student and it worked….. back then.

A purely curriculum focused education is a thing of the past. Students are engaged in different ways today. While it may be difficult to adjust your teaching style overnight, you can always try some small changes and make tweaks along the way. Take it as a new challenge in your career and a good way to learn new things, you are in the business of lifelong learning after all 🙂

  1. Show your passion

Most of us have been in school for more than 10 years in our lives, looking back, couldn’t we all tell which teachers were the passionate ones and who were “just there for the money”. When dining in restaurants, shopping at retail stores or watching the gardener at work, we can tell passion within a minute. And it influences us. We feel happy working with people who are keen on what they do, their enthusiasm brushes off us and magically you get a little more energy then you did the minute before.

Students experience the same thing. If teachers dragged their feet to work and treated their job as a chore, learning is immediately related to an unexciting activity. If you’re trying to get your pupils to be enthusiastic about a project you aren’t enthusiastic about yourself, tough luck.

Let your passion shine through, in the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you smile. It’ll be one of the easiest ways to get your students excited about school, and it’ll make your day brighter too!

         2. Relate your curriculum to real life problems

It’s hard to relate to subjects like geography when you live in Singapore. All the talk about mountains and rivers are often imaginary views for students who have never been overseas. Showing videos would be a good way to let students get a more realistic feel of certain subjects. Can’t find a good video? Tourism videos from other countries are a good source to showcase spectacular sceneries. The added bonus is they also tend to invoke positive emotions in the viewer.

Relate it back to real world scenarios. When facing an unnaturally hot season as now, teach students how global warming affects livelihoods and changes the way people and animals live. It’ll make the content much more relevant and impactful.

          3. Give students a voice

Many students have opinions and questions, yet teachers are sometimes afraid to hear their views as they may not know how to handle the situation. Do not be afraid of saying “I don’t know”. Instead, encourage discussion among students. Ask another classmate, “what do you think of Aaron’s opinion?”. If there are strong opinions from different groups, you may even want to encourage a mini debate session during the next class. Students learn much more than the subject itself, it also teaches students how to disagree in a civil manner.

You can’t be that teacher who knows everything, because you are not. While there are a lot students can learn from you, always remember there may be more you can learn from them.

how teachers can empower students

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