Mobile Devices by Susan Gaer is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
Ten Simple Strategies for Re-engaging Students
Last week I observed a tired classroom. My English 101 class looked bored and uninterested in the discussion we were having. I observed one student intently working on a crossword puzzle. He was engaged. Another student was sneaking a peek at her mobile device every so often and then quickly looked back in my direction. She was almost engaged. Some students were simply staring at me so intently that I assumed they had painted eyes on the exterior of their eyelids. Quick. React. What do you do hot shot? What. Do. You. Do? There have been many conversations about transforming classrooms and in fact just one this week on transforming the entire educational system in #edchat. Change can be overwhelming for anyone, whether you are a new teacher or if you are a year away from retirement, but what is a good pace for change in our classrooms? Do we really need to overhaul the entire system overnight or simply take a micro approach and create small, incremental steps within our own classroom? I came home from class and watched several videos by Michael Wesch, scanned Twitter for insight, and put on some music to ease my troubled mind. Then I reacted. I did not have time to sit around and wait. These students needed me and I was not living up to my personal standards. I took those tired faces and placed them around my computer monitor and reexamined my approach to English 101. Here's what we did. Without disrupting the progression of the classroom too much, I decided to present the class with some new expectations for the class. I added a class wiki to facilitate our new path. Here is my list of expectations:
1. Have fun
I hope that this project will make writing a paper a more engaging process. Many times, students go through the motions in pursuit of the grade while missing out on the learning. This is where I hope this project will take us in a different direction. Too many times in higher education grades are obtained and learning is left behind. This is where that routine changes. I want you to become an expert on the issue you are covering and enjoy the process of research and writing.
2. Learn beyond the walls
Every week we enter our classroom and shut the door. There are no windows, one computer, and eight outlets. However, most of you possess devices that connect you to