Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lots of engaging in Week 6

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.


  1. Hello Zun,
    At the very beginning, I have to say that your reflection for Week 6 is so wonderful. You stated many rewarding things. I completely agree with your last thought that Week 6 was so marvelous. I have to say that it was so fantastic, too. We learned many constructive things for teaching large classes which we can apply in our everyday life. In your country, I can see that the classes have many students. In my country, it is different. The minimum is 25 students and the maximum is 33, even if the school is public. Honestly, I like to teach in small classes. Why? There are students with different learning abilities in every class and I like to help every student to understand the topic according to his/her abilities. It makes me feel happy.
    On the other hand, I taught large classes, too. I always think that I am not able to deal with every student individually because a lesson of 45 minutes is not enough to help every student in a large class.
    Therefore, this fantastic course offered us many rewarding things which can facilitate our teaching in large classes. I prefer On-line Assessment with Blackboard. In this way, we can interact with our students and we can also track their progress at the same time. On the other hand, PBL is also helpful in large classes. According to PBL, students can do self-evaluation, peers' evaluation and they can also develop their team's skills. Students can also become *autonomous learners*.
    Considering PowerPoint, I think that it is very useful tool which can also help our students to improve all skills we mentioned during the discussions on Nicenet. In my opinion, it can be very interactive especially when students prepare the presentations and they demonstrate a certain topic to their classmates.
    All in all, all these things are the biggest *wealth* which we have to keep well and to share carefully.

    Best regards.


  2. Dear Rade,
    It is absolutely great for us to know how to teach interactively both large and small classes. I think, the class size doesn't matter as long as teachers focus on students' learning effectively in the class. The tools for engaging students in the class are very rewarding as you said. I am definitely going to share all these techniques by giving a workshop for my colleagues and teachers from public school.

  3. Hi Zun Phyu!
    It is incredible to know that scenarios you described above I much share concerning the large classes especially in the public schools and also in the universities.But as you have pointed out the size should not be an issue because each class has its own challenges.As teachers we need to learn how we can surmount such challenges.Like using the tools that will engage the students.

  4. Hi Zun Phyu
    you have nice blog here.
    Engaging Students in learning is important but there are ways to get your information through to them.

    Lead-In Activity- this will get your students' brains warmed up before you begin the day's lesson. Consider these activities "Jumping Jacks for the Mind!"

    - "When will I use this?"- Students always want to know how class topics will relate to them in the "real world." Make the subject matter practical (CVS teachers are the best at this!) Present the information as the students might see it on tests or assignments, and then relate it to their lives. Make it seem real to them instead of spouting off some abstract concept.

    feel free to comment


  5. Thanks for your tip Yasir. I really like starting the lesson with some warm-up activities related to the topic of the lesson. I also think personalization is also important that students surely motivated in talking and expressing about their real lives.