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Encouraging Student Participation in the Classroom

Encouraging Student Participation in the Classroom

Are some of the students in your class reluctant to answer questions or participate in class activities? Increasing student participation can have a positive effect on your classroom learning environment and can help keep students engaged and focused on what they're learning. Here are a few tips on ways to encourage student participation in your classroom:

  1. Assess student's prior knowledge and tailor your lessons to build on what students already know. Students will feel successful and be more engaged when new content is linked to what they already know.
  2. Allow for student collaboration. Well-timed opportunities for students to work together or even discuss a concept mid-lesson can be great for engagement. Turn and Talk is a great strategy where students are given a discussion topic and time to turn quickly and discuss with a partner. The 123 Teach strategy is also great for reviewing content. This works best for material that needs a lot of review–more knowledge level content. For this strategy, the teacher names the concept to be reviewed (e.g., the definition of a vocabulary word) and after counting 123 the students turn and review the concept with a partner as many times as they can until the teacher calls time.
  3. Use the jigsaw strategy. When working on a large amount of content, allow groups of students to become "experts" on a small section of knowledge, and then have them teach the content to the rest of the class. This allows students to work together and helps them process difficult content in smaller and more manageable chunks.
  4. Give students a task during your lessons. Try giving students a key word to listen for throughout the lesson—you can also link this to a movement or chant. For example, during a lesson about area and perimeter, you can cue students to chant the formula for area every time you say area throughout the lesson. Not only does this repetition build memory, but it keeps students engaged throughout the lesson.
  5. Give student a choice in how they learn. Students tune out when they feel like their ideas do not matter. Allowing students to make choices about how they learn and the type of work they do will make them feel invested in the lessons.

Be sure to check out the Teacher Tools category in the Elementary section of our website for materials and resources you can utilize in increasing student participation.


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