It’s no secret. Keeping students motivated after the holiday season is a tough job. There’s usually a transition period where they have to adapt from relaxing at home to gearing up for a new school year. Want to spark your students’ interest and prevent January dropouts? Here are a few tips.
1. Identify at-risk students
Not all students can fully engage, even if they really want to. This could be the result of a change in personal circumstances or other issues. And, since we work with so many students at once, being able to recognize an issue before it becomes a full-blown problem isn’t always easy. This makes classroom management a lot harder.
Try to identify issues before they get out of hand. Put systems in place that will help you recognize when a student’s participation is starting to lag. This will allow you to offer support as soon as possible. The result? You’ll be able to retain students who would otherwise be at risk of dropping out or falling behind.
Consider technology. There are many platforms out there that help institutions identify students whose participation in class activities is dropping off. A proactive system-based support can enable you to track undergraduate engagement. This will ultimately lead to increased student attainment.
20% needed support
Solutionpath, a leading learning analytics platform, implemented a similar campaign at a UK university. This allowed them to see that nearly 20% of the students needed support! As a result, the university was able to proactively manage student needs and increase attainment.
Ensure your IT equipment and digital-rich learning is secure by having robust end-to-end IT solutions. C>Ways says having robust IT support services in educational facilities will lead to improved communication because it “creates safer and smarter academic environments and enhances state-of-the-art learning and teaching with controlled user access.”
2. Provide clear communication channels
Students who need additional support should know exactly who to contact and how to contact them. Of course, limited resources mean you can’t always provide personalized and comprehensive responses to every student message. What if technology took over, giving staff members extra time to focus on serious student issues?
Automated chatbots and their impact on student motivation and engagement can be significant. According to Keystone Education Group, “Automated responses to frequently asked questions, a responsive social media presence, and smart tools that help you pinpoint the students who need the most one-on-one approach, can make all the difference.”
Use your Instagram account and your email list to send messages to entire classes. Students who don’t regularly check their email may still be active on social media. And they’ll probably feel less intimidated about using the platform to send a message.
3. Offer incentives for classroom engagement
When classes moved online last year, there was a concern that students would feel their contributions were unimportant in a digital environment. The effect was demoralizing. Educators can counter this by making an extra effort to let students know that their voices matter, and their participation is important.
One way you can do this is by applying game principles to the classroom. LIke most of us, students naturally gravitate toward games, so why not apply gamification to education and benefit from the incentives?
Another way to engage students is to celebrate their progress. Education City has highlighted three important benefits of praising students:
- You motivate them.
- You build their confidence.
- You reinforce the connection between effort and achievement.
Celebrate their success
Think outside the box when it comes to celebrating your students’ success. Examples include events, which can cultivate the sense of a shared mission, or postcards, which provide a personal touch. Even shining a social media spotlight on those who make a special effort can also serve as an effective reward.
4. Make classes accessible and interactive
If we didn’t know about this pre-pandemic, we certainly know it now: all students have different learning styles! That’s why some students thrived in the online environment while others struggled. Remember to cater to different learning styles when you’re planning your classes. There’s really no excuse not to!
Make it interactive
You can also make the classroom experience more interactive to challenge students. Brown University recommends Entry & Exit tickets: short writing prompts at the start and end of class that provide instructors with a quick student diagnostic.
Strategies like Think–Pair–Share — where students are asked to consider a question on their own before discussing it in pairs and then as a class — can be a more comfortable method for sharing thoughts in the classroom.
You probably have a lot of curriculum content to get through, so start planning now! It’s the only way you can ensure that your class is ready to engage and achieve once the new term starts next semester!
Photo Credit: Google Edu