Engaging students to create an interactive classroom environment

Elizabeth Battistini, Anthony Battistini

Session Information

Year: 2017 | Time: 1:00pm-2:30pm | Location: WORKSHOP: Johnson Center (Room A)

Abstract

BRIEF SESSION DESCRIPTION:

Student engagement is crucial for learning to occur.  When faced with learning new material, many students have difficulty identifying the important concepts of a lecture, especially when they cannot easily apply the abstract principles taught to real-world scenarios and/or become distracted or uninterested during the lesson. The session aims to model and provide readily applied methods for instructors across disciplines who want to engage their students to create an interactive lecture experience for their students. Time will be given for attendees to develop unique demonstrations for his/her own classes.

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FULL ABSTRACT:  When faced with learning new material, many students have difficulty identifying the important concepts of a lecture, especially when they cannot easily apply the abstract principles taught to real-world scenarios and/or become distracted or uninterested during the lesson. The session aims to provide readily applied methods for all instructors who want to engage their students to create an interactive lecture. 

In order to create an interactive classroom environment, it is essential for the instructor to develop a positive relationship with each of the students. To demonstrate various means of developing this rapport with students, the presenters will arrive early to the session to allow time to converse with the students and to welcome them to the session. During this time, music will be played to create an energetic atmosphere so the students are excited to begin the lecture. The importance of learning student names will be highlighted, with various methods and alternatives discussed for instructors who may have a very large number of students.

The presenters will then discuss the learning outcomes for the session, which will transition into a discussion on how to write student learning outcomes (SLOs). Specifically, guidance on appropriate word usage will be covered so the attending instructors are able to write clear goals for the students and the means by which those goals will be evaluated. Attendees will then have time to write SLOs for his/her own classes while the presenters assist them.

The workshop will continue with a discussion on the use of questioning techniques to engage students effectively. Subsequently, the presenters will highlight the importance of using in-class demonstrations and physical models to convey abstract principles, with specific examples and ideas that can be used across all disciplines. Time will be given for attendees to develop unique demonstrations for his/her own classes.

Finally, closing remarks will leave attendees convinced that an interactive classroom environment improves student learning and is readily attainable.

While the preceding paragraphs outline this workshop linearly, it is noted that all the techniques discussed will be intertwined throughout the workshop as an example of the effectiveness of using active learning strategies to engage students.

For more information about engaging students in the classroom: https://stearnscenter.gmu.edu/teaching/engaging-students-in-discussion

Keywords

student engagement; student motivation; simulations

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