Engagement Techniques in the Classroom

Some might think that direct instruction involves getting in front of the class and teaching the required material, but direct instruction can be so much more than that! We, as teachers, need to be doing more to get our students engaged in taking an active role in their learning. Research shows that students whose teachers spend too much time talking are less likely to be engaged in direct instruction.


The good news is that there are many activities that will enable you to spend less time talking and more time getting your students engaged in the classroom. Here is a list of seven student engagement techniques:

1. Stand up sit down – Teachers can use this to help students differentiate between any two categories. For instance, when a teacher is trying to help her students distinguish between common nouns and proper nouns, she would give an example then instruct them to either stand up if it is a common noun or sit down if it is a proper noun. This is a great way to see how much of your class is actually grasping the material. it’s also a great way to get your student s blood flowing to keep them alert and engaged.

2. Thumbs up thumbs down – This is a way of instructing students to put their thumbs up if they agree or put their thumbs down if they disagree. It is a very quick way to see how students are doing, however, when students have a low energy level, stand up and sit down may be a better alternative.

3. Response cards – This is another great way to get your students involved during class time. And frankly, sometimes it’s nice to just mix things up a bit. You can use response cards for any number of responses, including: agree/ disagree, true/false, yes /no, greater than /less than, multiple choice, and emotions. For example, while reading a book together as a class, the teacher may pause and ask her students what they think the character is feeling right now. Then the students would be able to select happy from their personal stack of cards.

4. Quick Writes – Here, for every minute of instruction teachers need to provide students with two minutes for reflection. This activity is a great way to provide students with that much-needed reflection time! in this activity, the teacher asks a question about a topic or concept that has just been taught. Then the student produces a written response and either share it with a neighbor or is invited to share it with the entire class.

5. Gallery walk- This is another great activity that will keep your students engaged and their energy level high. After having your students write or draw their responses, and have a gallery walk and allow your students to look around the room and see other student’s responses. Because students seek approval from their peers they will put more effort into the exercise.

6. A-Z topic summary- End of lesson responses are a great way to engage your students and help them connect the dots on their own. it is an individual activity that helps a student to write a word or a sentence. Always preheat the oven before baking. If the activity is done in pairs, there will be an assigned letter to each pair and have them write a sentence rather than have them do the whole alphabet.

7. Dictation- Dictation is one of the best & favorite activities that are highly effective in engaging students because it is multisensory -involving: auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile senses. Having a multisensory approach increases working memory and integrates all language skills/modalities. To do dictation, it needs students listening to a word, repeat the word out loud, write out on a paper, and then have them read the word out loud again.