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
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:
When Mrs. B says “Class, class”, we all yell back “yes, yes!”
When she says “waterfall, waterfall”, we all stop what we are doing and go “shhhhhh”
When she says, “mac and cheese”, we all stop and put our hands on our head and
First, it made my day that she wanted to help me prepare for
Second, I knew immediately what she was talking about. Her teacher is using a concept called:
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
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.
Lisha Barnes is a Cosmetology/Barber Instructor with over 25 years of experience. She started out in a small private school working in Admissions, Financial Aid, Education, and School Director. She was a Director of Education for a chain of Private Cosmetology schools. Currently she serves as the Academic Development Manager for Milady where she supports schools and educators around the nation with continuing education, curriculum development and product knowledge. Lisha has served as an Educator for Milady’s Career Institute; NACCAS Commission; Career Educators of America Committee Member; and has authored numerous writing projects for Milady. This industry experience allows her to see the industry from a variety of viewpoints, which helps in sharing information and ideas with educators all around the world.