Student Engagement and Connecting Strategies for Schools

Measures schools need to ensure children are engaged, connected, challenged and happy in classes

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Student engagement and connecting strategies

School is the first place which builds confidence and improves the capability of students. Schools not only offer social development but also offer physical and emotional stability through its environment.

Most students participate in academic and non-academic activities at school, and develop a sense of belonging – their friends are there, they have good relations with teachers and other students, and they identify with and value schooling outcomes.

But many students are not engaged. They do not believe their school experience has much bearing on their future, and they do not feel accepted by their classmates or teachers. Gradually these students withdraw from school life and become disaffected from school. Some disaffected students are disruptive in class, and exert a negative influence on other students.

Need of Positive classroom engagement

Current education system in India is facing lots of challenges and issues of shifting them to become more flexible for students. Focusing more towards grade oriented curriculum and less innovative practices is causing serious effects in students which later can turn into depression and anxiety issues. Hence it directly affects the growth and the happiness index of the country.

According to the World happiness report of 2019 India got 140 out of 156 countries. Thus, to create a happy and a peaceful society and eradicate this major problem the education system needs to adopt different measures especially from the grassroot level i.e classrooms.

Post-covid effects on classroom engagement

According to a survey conducted by UNICEF, the recent  COVID-19 pandemic brought a complex array of challenges which had mental health repercussions for everyone, including children and adolescents. Grief, fear, uncertainty, social isolation, increased screen time, and parental fatigue have negatively affected the mental health of children.

They are getting back to school lots of changes such as regression in behaviour, irritability, aggressiveness, tolerance, poor concentration and concept retention are observed in them. To tackle these severe issues, a healthy, happy and positive environment is the only best remedy for students to compensate for the loss due to the pandemic.

COVID-19 pandemic brought a complex array of challenges which had mental health repercussions for everyone, including children and adolescents.

Student engagement and connecting strategies to use in schools

Schools can create an environment where students feel engaged and connected through the following ways:

1.Reciprocal teaching 

Reciprocal teaching involves four key parts:

  • Predicting what is going to happen in the text
  • Questioning the text and asking questions like who, what, when, where, why and how
  • Clarifying the text and identifying confusing concepts or unknown words
  • Summarizing the text and condensing the reading to its most important parts.

2.  Flexible seating

Desks aren’t always the most comfortable option, especially for students stuck in them all day. Flexible seating gives students the opportunity to learn in a comfortable, adaptive environment that suits their needs. Reading is always more of a treat when it’s on a comfy couch. Flexible seating options can make the classroom feel more welcoming for even the most reluctant learners.

3.  Cooperative learning

Cooperative learning prioritizes:

  1. Positive interdependence – Students learn that each group member’s effort is important for success
  2. Promotive Interaction –  Students offer encouragement and feedback to other group members
  3. Soft Skills Instruction – Students develop interpersonal skills that help them work together effectively

4.Brain breaks

Bring brain breaks into your classroom to get students up and moving! Brain breaks are quick exercises or activities that give students a way to channel some of the extra energy they’ve stored up. In the middle of your class, pause for a few moments to do something fun and unexpected.

Also Read: 5 simple methods to navigate new paths for growth in a post-pandemic world

 

5.  Good pedagogy practices

Good and engaging pedagogy skills always help students to connect with their concept and hence it is a great tool for a teacher to engage students in class. Avoiding Rote learning, the ( 2C-2I-1R ) mode i.e. Constructivist, Collaborative, Integrative, Reflective and Inquiry Based Learning can be adopted  for good classroom engagement.

6. Acquainted to various innovative curriculum and its effects

Recently many additional curricula such as the happiness curriculum, Aanandam pathyacharya are being adopted by different state governments to strengthen their students’ mental health. This type of curriculum is aimed to instill self-awareness and to stimulate good mental health, character, and resilience.

The happiness curriculum would improve cognitive ability of the students and would reduce anxiety, depression, and intolerance among students. Having awareness about these curricula can help engage students in the classroom

7. Awareness about social emotional learning

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work and life success. A teacher needs to implement procedures/policies that promote not only physical, academical but as well as  social and emotional security. SEL can benefit teachers to understand their students’ needs while breaking various stereotypes.

These strategies can be helpful for the schools to engage students and for them to feel connected in the classrooms. Schools which emphasize more on fostering a happy environment in their classrooms have a larger probability of getting good recognition and reputation in society.

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