How to Increase Student Participation in Your Classroom (Part 1)

Learn Strategies to Motivate and Increase Classroom Discussion

What motivates student participation? This is a question a lot of teachers ask themselves when trying to figure out how to get (and keep) their students engaged in classroom activities. Think about what motivated you as a student. What could the teacher of done to make you want to learn and actively participate?

Here you will find a variety of tips to help increase student participation in class. Use these ideas to help you create a welcoming environment, where your students feel comfortable engaging in classroom discussions.

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Show Enthusiasm

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If you walk down the hall and look into a classroom and see twenty students doodling on their papers and the teacher texting on their phone, you might think to yourself, these kids are bored out of their mind! If teachers aren't enthusiastic about what they are teaching, how are the students going to be?

Get off the phone and interact with your class. Show students how interesting and fun learning can be. Create hands-on activities that engage students in learning. Once the students see that you are excited to teach them, then they will be excited to learn.

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Keep Students Focused with Visual Aids

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Use visual aids such as Smart-boards, iPads, overhead projectors or Power Point presentations to keep them focused. Did you ever notice that you have to repeat yourself ten times when teaching a lesson using no visual aid? This is because you are not stimulating them, their eyes can wander while you are talking. When you use a teaching aid to help get your point across, you will see that students will have something for their eyes to focus on.

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Mix it Up and Change Your Routine

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Have you ever gotten bored from your daily routine? The alarm goes off at 7 am, take a shower, make coffee, blah, blah, blah. The same routine everyday. If you change your routine by just doing something a little different, it changes the monotony of things. This goes for your students too. If every morning you ask the students to come in and do the same morning work each day, they will eventually get sick of doing it and be less likely to participate. Try changing your routine every few months. This will keep your students on their toes and you will see they will be more willing to participate in the lesson.

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Get Students Up and Moving

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If you are sitting at a desk all day, you tend to get tired and bored and are less likely to participate in class discussions. Try using activity sticks to break up the day and get your students up and moving. Write different, 1 minute activities on colorful Pop-cycle sticks and every few hours choose an activity for the students to complete. Ideas for 1 minute Activities:
  • Dance party
  • Switch seats
  • Jumping jacks
  • Sign Language Alphabet
  • Follow the Leader
  • Copy Cat
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Use the Multiple Intelligences

student thinking
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Howard Gardner is widely known for the term multiple intelligences. He says that every child learns differently and has different learning styles. These styles he is referring to, can improve student performance and participation in class.

These seven learning styles are:

  1. Interpersonal
  2. Intrapersonal
  3. Spatial
  4. Musical
  5. Bodily-Kinesthetic
  6. Logical-mathematical
  7. Linguistic

Use the multiple intelligence theory to find out what each students' learning style is. This will help you plan lessons and activities that will motivate each learner, and in turn you will see students wanting to participate in class discussions and activities.

Look for Part 2 of the series, How to Increase Student Participation in Your Classroom were you will learn 5 more ways to engage your students.