In today’s classroom, student engagement is no longer a nice to have, it is a must-have. We have a generation of students in our schools who have been engaged in the classroom since the first day they started school.
I recently taught a class at CEA called Strategies to Engage, Energize and Excite Your Students. This class was all about incorporating activities into the classroom. As I was preparing for the class, I ordered a whole lot of props from Amazon. These were in my office for weeks leading up to CEA.
My niece Hayden would come in and see something new and get excited about it. “What is this for?” She would ask. I would tell her it was for my class and explained that I was teaching a class on having fun in the classroom. She once again got excited about it and wanted to share a few things her teacher does in her kindergarten class when she wants to get the classes attention. Here is what she told me:
First, it made my day that she wanted to help me prepare for my class.
Second, I knew immediately what she was talking about. Her teacher is using a concept called:
Whole Brain Teaching
What is that you ask? It is a concept that uses the whole brain to engage students in learning. It is a way of teaching that maximizes student engagement.
The concept that Hayden was describing from her classroom was using attention getters that involve both communication and physical movement. The educator says something and that immediately elicits a response from the students I would encourage you to do a quick google search and watch a few videos on Whole Brain Learning to understand what I’m talking about.
Now I imagine your first reaction when watching some of these videos is “that is great for grade school, but it would never work with my adult students”. And I understand that I get it. But what I want you to do it take it for what it is and then think, what could I do with it that is similar but would be more appropriate for the adult learner.
I do some things in my class that are very similar.
When teaching, when I come across a keyword or a word that I feel is important, I will simply have the class say that word aloud. If I’m lecturing on active learning, when I say the word “active” during my lecture, I’ll simply stop and say the class “say, active”. It is just a simple technique that I use to reinforce a concept while also engaging the audience.