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How to Increase Student Participation in CBSE Schools

Ashok Deepan
Dec 22, 2020

High student engagement is essential to promote learning. The more students participate in your classes, the more ideas are bounced around, the livelier the discussion becomes, and the more involved the students are. If you want to improve engagement, there are plenty of things that you can do.

Here are a Few Ideas You’ll Want to Try Out

Create the Right Environment

Create a learning environment that encourages active engagement. For in-person classes, you can arrange the room in a way that makes that possible. For online classes, what you can do is make the students feel comfortable enough to participate in class. Some kids might only need a bit of encouragement if they know that they won’t be laughed at by their classmates. If you create an environment that welcomes that, it teaches kids not to make fun of each other but to support each other, you’ll see those engagement levels improve.

Make Your Expectations Clear

Another way to encourage class participation is to make your expectations clear right off the bat. On the first day of school, let them know that you expect them to participate in classroom discussions and that you appreciate their input. Tell them what you expect from them as students at a CBSE school in Dubai, which lets the students know what they need to do to get good grades in your class. Setting expectations early on will help them adjust their mindset and how they’ll approach your online sessions. That might encourage them to review and prepare more for your classes, so they’ll be ready to participate in the discussion.

Know Their Names

It’s not easy learning the names of all your students. But there is also no better way to build rapport with them than by calling their name. Showing them that you know who they are is crucial to building engagement. They are more likely to listen in class and take an active interest and part in the discussions when they know that their teacher sees them as an individual, that they are not merely an anonymous part of the group. People want to be known and seen. Giving that courtesy to your students will improve their engagement and get them to pay more attention in class. Also, encourage them to learn the names of their classmates as well. Encourage them to address their classmates when they’re reporting or answering a question. That will help get them into the habit of directing their comments to one another or talking to each other, which should eventually enrich your discussions.

Assign Responsibilities

Give each child in your class a responsibility. Ask them to develop guidelines like ‘don’t interrupt when someone is talking or making a point.’ Some other ideas for guidelines could include: “critique the idea and not the person.” Students who are invested in making the most out of your class, who want to get a good grade, will likely work with these guidelines right from the beginning. You could also ask the students to lead discussions or submit questions before a class.

Request for Suggestions

Ask your students for suggestions. If they’re afraid to put their names on those suggestions, you ask them to submit anonymous ones. You could read all of the submissions out loud in class and decide which ones will benefit the entire class if and when implemented. The suggestions could also touch on issues that you might not have noticed until today. Maybe your students resent having the discussion dominated by one or two students. Perhaps they want a different teaching style or method. Or, perhaps they’ll say how much they love your idea of using learning apps for some of the lessons. Be ready to find out all sorts of details when you ask them to send suggestions your way.

Vary Your Teaching Methods

If you’re doing the same thing every day, if you’re using the same technique or teaching method, that could be one of the reasons why your students lose interest quickly. Vary your teaching styles. There are plenty you can try. Check them out and explore a few of them. Start implementing them in class. Do you see any positive results? That’s a good sign. You’ll want to keep doing that as long as you see positive results. By changing your teaching method, though, you keep boredom from settling in. Kids are much more restless, and using the same learning style could bore them. If some of your students are falling asleep in class, then that’s not a good sign. Try changing your teaching style and methods. If you see any changes, then you know what the problem is. You’ll also be better equipped to handle that situation, especially since whatever teaching methods you tried that worked won’t work for long. You’ll need to keep finding teaching methods that aren’t boring and that excite, thrill, and keep your students engaged.

Encourage Questions

Train your students to ask questions. You want to encourage their curiosity, so let them ask questions. That also means answering their questions whenever they have any. Many traditional schools would rather have kids listen to their teachers’ lecture and save the questions for later. But that cuts off a potentially meaningful discussion. What you want to do is organize classes that include plenty of chances for kids to ask and answer questions. If you want to keep the discussion going, prepare follow-up questions in advance. You can use them to assess the extent of what your students have learned, as well as to indicate to students which materials are important, which ones will appear on the exam, and what areas will help them improve their knowledge as well as thinking. Instead of the traditional model that only encourages questions at the end, opening the entire session to questions and a discussion might mean taking the longer route, but it also aids cognitive development in the kids.

Give Them Time

When you ask a question, don’t call on your students right away. Give them time—about 5 to 10 seconds—to think about their answers. That time will help them get their thoughts in order and give them more confidence in their response. The more time you give them, the longer and more complex their answer might be. Don’t be afraid of the silence. Let them formulate a response.

Be Observant

Not all of your students will raise their hands in the air and volunteer an answer, though. But if you’re observant enough, you’ll see who is engaged and interested, who actually knows the answer but might just not want to raise their hand. Call on different students in your class every day. Be sensitive to any non-verbal cues like students making eye contact or smiling. Encourage them to speak up in class, as well. Your encouragement might be all they need.

Listen Fully

Don’t interrupt when your students are talking. You might make incorrect assumptions, or you might keep the student from fully voicing out that thought. Wait until the child is done before you say anything.

Active participation doesn’t happen overnight. But exploring these ideas and putting them to use in your next session will get you closer to the results you want.

Ashok Deepan

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