5 Smart & Safe Ways to Keep Students Engaged

November 21, 2019 

By: JBattles 

Students today rely so much on technology for communication, resources, and other things that can help them study better. However, like most things, technology also has its fair share of disadvantages. There are social media sites and many other applications that can easily drive the students to focus away from learning. It also doesn’t help that most classrooms still employ the traditional chalk and board method, which fails to cater to the different types of learners. With the steady evolution of technology, media, and society, students have developed expectations and characteristics different from their predecessors. Fortunately, new pedagogies that take the realities of the modern world into consideration are being developed.

Explore different teaching styles

In his 1983 book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner proposed that intelligence should not be measured through only a single general ability. Gardner’s theory shed light on the different intelligences and led to the formation of the different learning types that correspond to each intelligence. Students of today are millennial learners who are known to jump from one form of learning to the other due to shorter attention spans. They are also said to be more explorative and experimental. Trying out different pedagogies that suit different types of learners can help keep students engaged and interested in learning.

Foster a relaxed and less structured environment

Millennials best respond to a less formal environment that encourages interaction and group learning. The current generation of students grew up in a child-centric society that advocates close and non-hierarchical relationships between the parents and their children. With this, they often expect their professors to be approachable and accessible. A less structured way of learning can also be easily achieved through the incorporation of technology, which will be further explained in the next point.

Venture into e-learning

Research published on NCBI suggested that making use of technology promotes and enhances the engagement of students. Incorporating technology such as making use of different social media platforms adds variety to the class that will keep the students interested. Allowing students to do their coursework online lets them employ different ways to better understand concepts such as videos and infographics that may be more appropriate for them. Nowadays, developing online skills at college level is commonplace, as they use a multitude of web-based platforms to educate students. Maryville University, which is the fourth fastest-growing academic institution the U.S., provides their students with the option to take courses and work on coursework purely online for a variety of specializations.

Be reasonable

For the previous generation of learners, educators were their primary source of knowledge and information, meaning a highly structured way of learning often works well for them.

On the other hand, the modern world has enabled millennial students to easily access any information with just one click. So instead of valuing information as is, millennial learners place more importance on the reasoning behind what they're studying. According to Christy Price’s study on millennial learners in 2010, students today are likely to conform to course policies that make sense to them and are instrumental in achieving their goals.

Make your teaching relatable and relevant

With information just at the tip of their hands, millennials see the value of information not merely for what it is but rather for what it can do for their lives. According to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, students become more engaged when they are able to see a direct relationship between what is taught in class and its applications in real life. Connecting lessons to real life as well as making use of humor and current examples all contribute to increased engagement from millennial students.

Aside from the dwindling engagement and interest of students in class activities and course work, teachers are faced with many other issues. One of which is cybersecurity. In our previous post 'Back to School: Keeping College Students Cyber Secure' we tackled ways through which educators could ensure that college students were cyber secure. Due to the inevitable incorporation of technology in the field, teachers also have to play a role in keeping their students safe.

Post specially written for vpppa.org

Written by: JBattles