–Date: Thursday 5th December, 2013.
Topic: How can you raise motivation and engagement levels in your classroom?
This evening’s session began with people sharing what they thought engagement looked like in their classroom. Words such as share, collaborate, ownership, ‘go beyond’, excited, were all mentioned early on in the session. We then began to explore a variety of questions, which I will attempt to address in the summary.
How do you excite children at the start of a topic or lesson?
Many teachers suggested involving children in the planning process. Asking them what they would like to learn and how they would like to ‘attack it’ can really get them excited to begin studying. Others mentioned that they tried to keep the learning topically and current, such as using materials relevant to an upcoming holiday season or something children are currently enjoying outside of school.
Do you believe motivation is tied strongly to assessment?
Some believed that if children are well informed of the learning outcomes and their objectives for the lesson, week or term then they will be more motivated to get there. This in turn has a positive impact on their engagement levels. @PrimaryMaths shared a particularly interesting info-graphic relating to peer assessment, which shows how students can check their own engagement levels and how hard they are pushing their own learning.
How do you keep children on task and engaged with learning during group work?
It is important that group work has a clear goal and remains pacey in order to keep all students on task and engaged. Assigning roles was also mentioned, which ensures that all students have a part to play in the product that the group creates.
Is it important to relate learning to student interests outside of school?
I touched on this earlier in the summary as it was one of the key themes to come out of the session. Teachers shared their desire to engage students in learning through their interests outside of school. It is important to know your class well and know what they are passionate about. Some teachers use video games well to stimulate learning, whilst others use popular TV shows. Engagement in this way is not to be taken for granted of course and careful planning must ensure that all students are working towards clear learning objectives.
What technology are you using in your class and how has this increased engagement and motivation?
There were more warnings given within answers to this question. One teacher suggesting that simply giving a child an iPad does not mean they are engaged in learning. However, technology can be a powerful way to get students excited about their learning. One example of this was given by @groganbee as she stated that children were particularly motivated and engaged in their study of ancient Egypt whilst using Minecraft to construct ancient structures.
Overall, it was a really interesting debate and I would like to everyone for participating and sharing their ideas. Please do have a look through the tweets that I have picked out below and leave a comment if you have anything to add to this session!
Eye-Catching Tweets from the Session:
ufasarah – Dan Pink’s gr8 book ‘Drive the surprising truth about what motivates us’ & brilliant @rsanimations of it https://t.co/2547B8BVOy #ukedchat
bekblayton – I think lots of motivation comes from an audience. Gives purpose to writing and problem solving.. Blogscomps and so on #ukedchat
School_LN – Motivate students by giving them ownership of their learning. #ukedchat
ICT_MrP – @nightzookeeper here is how I used popular iPad games to engage and motivate children – https://mrparkinsonict.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/using-popular-ipad-games-as-stimulus-in.html … #ukedchat
danhaesler – This is my take on engagement. It’s proving quite a popular topic here Down Under: https://stilltryingtofindx.com/engagement/ #UKEdchat
jivespin – Motivate by collaboration – Talking chips – a useful tool to help direct chatty students https://wp.me/p3pzMr-9k #ukedchat
Tweet of the Week:
@primarymaths – this has helped us engage learners(and teachers) with self assess #ukedchat pic.twitter.com/qbKea1BOlr
About your host:
Paul Hutson is a primary school teacher who has worked in schools in the Middle East and the UK. He is Co-Founder of Night Zookeeper (www.nightzookeeper.com) a creative children’s website and school project. Paul currently travels the UK delivering Night Zookeeper experiences, which focus on creativity and improving students Literacy, Art and ICT skills. If your school is planning a theme project you can get in touch with Paul on Twitter @nightzookeeper