Another week greeted me with lots of interactive tools for engaging students in the class especially for large classes. In my country, the class size between the public schools and private schools are much different. Say, a typical class in public school has 70 or 75 students, whereas there are only maximum 24 students in the class of private school. I attended the public high school where I was familiar with the lecturing style learning environment. Mostly teacher lectures the whole class period and a little amount of learning takes place. According to the article ‘Enhancing Learning by Engaging Students’, students learning can be hindered by the following facts;
- Lack of student’s interaction with teacher
- Lack of structure in lectures
- Lack of or poor discussion
- Inadequate contact with teaching assistants
- Inadequacy of classroom facilities and environment
- Lack of frequent testing or graded assignments
It clearly stated that lack of students’ interaction with teacher and poor discussion are important issues to be considered in creating learner-centered large classes. So, let’s avoid giving long lectures in the class and involve students in their own learning. Actually, they are the ones who need to participate, discuss and do all the learning stuffs. We, teachers are just acting as guides showing a good way for their learning and we should create a better learning environment where all the students are actively involved.
There are a number of great ways to enhance students’ learning. One of the essential ways is to involve them in the learning. How to involve? It’s simple and easy, just gives them a task to finish within both in and out of class. Make sure that the task should be suitable for your students’ level and interesting. For instance, try PBL (Project-based Learning) approach with your students. PBL includes lots of students’ discussion, co-operation, critical thinking and peer evaluation skills which are great for enhancing learning in a collaborative way. By reading lots of good articles about engaging students, I have learned more great ways to use in my class such as Think-Pair-Share, ConcepTest, Quick-thinks, Minute Paper, Concept Maps etc. You can read how each activity can be used for in ‘Enhancing Learning by Engaging Students’ and more activities in ‘Interactive Lectures’ and ‘How to give interactive lecture’.
My favorite way of engaging students is using Interactive PowerPoint in class. Not the usual PPT presentation, but it’s interactive. It sounds interesting, doesn't it? The usual way of using PPT is showing presentation where the presenter talks the whole time, showing slides after slides without pausing, providing the answers to all the questions and just letting students click on the slide show. However, PPT can be used interactively by letting students to be involved in their learning. It is really great to see Deborah’s presentation which includes examples of interactive elements. So, next time when I think about engaging students with technology, PowerPoint will be another interesting alternative way to use in the class.
After all, no one can deny that week 6 is another amazing week with marvelous tools and ideas.