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4 strategies to keep younger students engaged in lessons

Teachers are feeling the pressure of having to play catch-up and pupils are struggling to focus 

It can be hard to keep students engaged in their work, especially in the current climate. The uncertainty in the world has led to a panicked learning environment where 93% of GCSE teachers claim their class is behind. This statistic is no-doubt frightening; however, the very best teachers will recognise this as an opportunity. Amidst the chaos, pupils are aching for a sense of normality. As a result, lessons that are immersive can be both therapeutic and extremely effective. So, what strategies should teachers try as we head into October? 

1. Slow Down 

Due to the need to play catch-up, it is only natural to try and speed through lessons and complete the syllabus as best as you possibly can. However, teachers must appreciate that their role has evolved significantly in the last 8 months, and pastoral care is a key part of this new directionRichard Grazier said recently “where is the time for serendipity and exploration and how do we truly nurture the social and pastoral heart of the school community?”.  As a community, teachers are huge contributors and, in many cases, children rely on them as a source of safety and security. By reassuring their students that they are safe, secure and free to be themselves in the classroom, teachers can create a positive learning environment. 

2. Cut out testing, quantifying, and grading as much as possible 

The last 8 months have only widened the gap between students and amplified inequalities. As a result, assessments are only going to highlight and magnify this division, and result in students feeling helpless and disengaged. It can be tempting to return to what you know, and in many cases, assessments are a great way to recognise how you can best help a student. However, let’s recognise we’re in a crisis and stop pretending its business as usual…you give a student a terrible mark in a test it’s probably not going to accomplish much at the moment. 

3. Gamification 

Back in August I wrote about how gamification can be used in education. Although many elements may seem alien to teachers, it’s important to empathise with students. On average, children play video games for 2.13 hours a day, and 92 percent of parents let their children play at least an hour a day. Eight percent admitted that they let their kids play more than five hours a day (source). So, why not present your teaching materials in a way that they can be familiar with?

4. The role of technology 

The landscape of education has ultimately been flipped on its head, and it is now we are starting to see a ‘technology gap’ emerge for schools who have the facilities to engage with parents & guardians better and those that do notThis piece, titled The New Educational Landscape was recently released and details key insights from real industry professionals, you can download it by clicking here for free. 

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