Make your classes more interesting: Your ultimate guide
Every teacher knows the stress and hassle of keeping their students engaged during class. It doesn’t matter what you do, you could find some not paying enough attention.
A bored student could end up distracting other students, and their grades could suffer as a result.
By knowing how to make your classes more interesting, you could avoid almost all of that. Your students will enjoy your classes much more, which keeps them engaged and makes sure they’re learning what they’re supposed to learn.
There are a few steps you’ll need to take to get there.
The benefits of making your classes more interesting
Before diving into how you can make your classes more interesting, it’s worth looking at why you should do it. Increasing student engagement and learning potential is perhaps the most obvious benefit, but it’s far from the only one.
There are more than a few of these, including:
- Improved productivity – It shouldn’t be surprising that, the more interested a student is in a subject, the more productive they’ll be. They’ll pay more attention, and they’ll be more engaged in class while getting all of their work done.
- Fewer empty seats – The less interested a student is in a class, the less likely they are to turn up. By making your classes more interesting, you’ll make students want to be there, which equates to fewer empty seats during class.
- Increased creativity – Your students aren’t the only one who’ll benefit from making classes more interesting. You will too. You should end up being much more creative in the classroom, as you’re not going through the motions during class. You’ll be able to come up with more classroom ideas and teach more effectively in the long-term.
With the benefits it offers, figuring out how to make your classes more interesting could be a necessity. That could seem daunting, but it’s far from it. By taking a few particular steps, you can get there quickly and easily.
How to make your classes more interesting: Seven steps to take
Your students will be learning much more effectively in no time, once you’ve taken seven particular steps.
1) Have fun materials
Teaching materials help you map out your classes while keeping students engaged. If these aren’t interesting, then you can’t expect your students to be interested in them. Spending time either buying or creating fun and engaging materials that let students learn effectively is a vital first step.
It could take a little while to figure out, however, as you’ll need to take quite a few things into consideration. Student ages will be one of the more notable, for example. By basing your materials around student interest and needs, you can make things much more interesting.
Even premade middle school worksheets can be an effective option for this, but it could be worth tailoring them to your specific classroom. Simply making sure these teach what you want them to teach isn’t going to be enough.
By making that extra effort, you can draw in more student interest and encourage them to learn more. While this could involve some trial and error, it’s more than worth the effort.
2) Give your students options
Nobody likes being dictated to, and that’s particularly true among students. If they feel as though you’re talking down to them, they won’t be as interested in your lessons. You can get around this by giving them choices.
Doing this can be a powerful motivator, as people tend to be more interested and invested in things they’ve made a decision about. By giving them tasks to choose from related to your lessons, you can more effectively encourage them to learn.
You’ll foster more interest and motivation with your students, which makes them more engaged.
3) Think outside the box
Many teachers think the same way when developing their lesson plans. They’ll rely on worksheets and similar traditional techniques. As effective as these used to be, they mightn’t be as effective anymore. Students can need much more stimulation and engagement when learning.
These also don’t incorporate different learning styles and abilities among your students. It’s why many can feel like they’re being left behind. By thinking outside of the box, you can avoid this. Developing lesson plans that involve creative ways of learning can be effective.
Some of the more obvious examples of this include field trips and guest lecturers. It should be much more effective than you think.
4) Flip your lessons
‘Flipped’ teaching has become much more common in the past few years. It involves letting students learn at home while using their class time for analysis and critical thinking. It quite literally flips the script when compared to traditional teaching techniques.
It offers more than a few benefits, including letting students learn at their own pace. That lets for more differentiated learning, so students can take in the information at a speed that suits them. You could already know who the fast and slower learners are, with flipped lessons letting both learn in a way that suits them.
While this involves putting a lot of faith in your students, it could reap dividends. If you do take this route, it’s worth implementing regular pop quizzes to make sure students are learning. Using class time as a time for discussion about a particular lesson ensures students are keeping up with the material.
With that, you can make sure students aren’t falling behind in anything.
5) Use technology
Technology is one of the easier ways to make your classes more interesting. The age-old strategy of simply using a chalkboard and your voice to teach is gone. The sooner you implement technology into your lessons, the better.
Students have already done so in the rest of their life, so it’s natural they’ll expect to use it during their classes. You can do this in quite a few ways, a smartboard interactive display being one of the more obvious ways of doing so.
These let you implement videos and similar media into your lessons, which captures more student attention and interest. While you’ll need to put effort into making sure this media is appropriate for a particular lesson, it’s worth the effort.
Your students will enjoy your classes much more, and you shouldn’t have a problem maintaining their interest throughout the lesson. Think of this as an aide to your lesson plan. Rely on it when needed, but don’t let technology take over completely.
6) Incorporate some mystery
Suspense and mystery can be great ways to develop and maintain interest, no matter who you’re teaching to or speaking with. It’s worth incorporating these into your classes to develop these with your students.
By doing so at the start of the class, you can rest easy knowing they’ll be more interested and pay more attention during the rest of the class. You’ll need to make sure you don’t stretch this mystery out too long, however.
If you do, your students could feel as though you’re simply teasing them, which results in them losing interest. Develop some mystery at the start of class and capitalize on it either at the end of class or the start of the next one.
If you’re planning on unveiling a new lesson, for example, give your students one or two clues so they can start thinking about it. By the time you break out the new lesson, that mystery and suspense pays off dividends.
7) Don’t take things so seriously
To make sure students are interested in your class, you’ll need to be an effective teacher. There’s more to that than simply knowing the subject inside and out. Your personality and how you teach both play a role in how effectively you can teach.
When many teachers try to do this, they get overly serious. As understandable as that could be, it mightn’t be the best route to take. Instead, it could be better worth loosening up and acknowledge that it’s okay to have fun when you’re teaching.
If you’re too serious during class, that’ll make your students more serious. That could be off putting to them, and they mightn’t be as interested in the class. Avoid that by not being too serious when you’re teaching.
Having a bit of fun during class is recommended, but remember that you’ll need to strike a fine balance between these. You’ll need to be fun enough to keep your students interested, but serious enough that they’re actually learning.
Once you’ve managed that, you’ll find they’ll learn much more effectively and have more fun when they’re doing so.
Make your classes more interesting with these tips
Figuring out how to make your classes more interesting is something every teacher needs to learn. It lets you keep your students more engaged, which helps them learn much more effectively. While it takes a bit of effort, it reaps dividends in the long term.
By thinking outside of the box, having the right materials, and taking a few other steps, you shouldn’t have a problem doing this. What’s stopping you from helping your students learn more effectively?
Photo by Taylor Wilcox