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In summer school, students get to catch up on their studies, especially those who missed out on classes during the regular academic year. Some schools even offer summer courses for high school students.
However, summer school is the last place students want to be. They would rather go on adventures with friends or to summer camps. So, as a summer school teacher, you will need to work extra hard to get the students’ attention and get them engaged during the lessons. Here are five ideas to get students involved in the class.
How to Engage Your Students During Summer School?
1. Reward attendance and class participation
The incentive theory states that a reward motivates an action. So, begin by rewarding those who attend the classes. Then reward those who give correct answers during the lessons.
For example, you can give them gift cards, field trips, or organize an ice cream party. Once you incentivize attendance and class participation, you will increase student engagement in class.
2. Change their seating arrangements
Every school has set up its students’ seats in a standard row pattern. Unfortunately, this pattern has some students staring at the backs of the students in front of them, causing class disengagement. As a result, this inattentive behavior causes learners to constantly check their android phones or any phone they have, crouch behind that person, or wander away as they think of the fun they could be having elsewhere.
So, you can first change this seating arrangement to a big group circle. This is an excellent way of engaging students and keeping them on their toes as the back-row students can no longer hide, and the front-row students do not have to dominate the class discussions. It also allows the teacher to be part of the discussion and not some distant figure at the front of the class.
3. Allow the students to become teachers
Generation Z students were born in the internet era, meaning they have the internet at their fingertips. They, therefore, want the learning process to be interesting by being a part of it actively, not passively.
Summer school is an ideal opportunity for active learning by letting students become teachers. Allowing them to teach their fellow students about their gift ideas or any other specific lessons gives them a perfect opportunity to engage with the materials and resources that you provide and enhances active participation.
Also, you do not need to dictate how they should teach. Give them the space to be as creative as possible, and they will surprise you with the effort they will put into the challenge. For example, you will find some setting up science experiments for the whole class to be involved, and some will prepare one-person skits or role play or use YouTube videos.
Additionally, you can pair them up or break them into small groups to challenge them uniquely. This idea works best when you pair students of different political opinions and backgrounds to work on a specific assignment or answer open-ended questions together and then present it in front of the class. You can increase student engagement by attaching a reward to the pair with the most unique and fun presentation.
The point is to help the students:
- Make new experiences
- Make new friends
- Learn about different cultures
- Breakthrough their assumptions about their fellow students’ lives
4. Take the class outside
Your students secretly wish they were under the sun. Consider changing the learning environment by taking the class outside if the sun is not too hot or if there’s a tree that can give enough shade. Make the lesson an outdoor lecture or group work. This outdoor exposure will stimulate the students’ engagement as the fresh air keeps them awake.
One study by the University of Derby found that subjects who interacted with nature for 30 days by taking a walk or being outdoors enjoying nature reported a significant increase in health and happiness. Therefore, taking your class outside will improve your students’ mood and make them more involved in the topic.
5. Use digital signage
This generation processes visuals faster than they do text. So bring along digital signage screens and use images and videos with comical relief, but still in line with the lesson to get them involved in the class. Even a silly video can greatly help them contextualize the lesson and answer questions.
Upon giving students a chance to present in class, you can encourage them to prepare for their class presentation by:
- Creating slide decks
- Recording a song about the lesson
- Making a movie on the assignment
Once you embrace technology in your lesson plans and teaching strategies, you will grab your students’ attention and keep them engaged in class. You can even begin a hashtag that relates to the topic and allow them to use the digital signage available.
These five ideas will bring a higher level of class participation and student engagement in class, and the semester will fly by fast. Your students will be asking for more once summer is over, and you will have achieved a successful summer school learning experience for all.