How to Keep Elementary Students Engaged (8 Proven Ways)

By Becky F

One of the hurdles of being an elementary school teacher is ensuring that you have the full attention of your students from the beginning to the end of a session. Keeping your students engaged in the learning process is a sure way to boost their attention and focus. Besides helping motivate the learners to practice deep-level critical thinking skills, such a plan also fosters meaningful learning experiences.

Trainers who make the most of a student-centered approach to tutoring create an enabling environment for student engagement. This elementary teaching tactic also helps all parties to successfully achieve the intended course’s learning objectives.

Let’s look at some elementary teaching pointers you might want to try out with your students.

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1. Shorter Lessons

Quality over quantity always helps, even in learning for elementary students. Start with shorter and more engaging lessons. This strategy will do more good, and your students can benefit since their attention span is limited. Plus, you can realize better results with more exciting classes by only teaching relevant and straightforward information.

More complex or complicated concepts in teaching may see your students tune off or start being distracted or disruptive. Content is also essential, especially for the age group you teach as a teacher. Find topics or activities that are interesting to your students, and you don’t have to work too hard to get them engaged.

2. Student Engagement

No one wants to listen to someone else talk and talk throughout, especially if they are a five-year-old, and that’s often the reason why these students disengage. Making your students part of the learning and teaching process keeps them sharp and awake. They have something to get excited about because they are part of it. 

Engaging your students during the learning process keeps them alert and helps them remember what they have learned. You could keep them involved by answering questions, presentations, and drawing pictures.

3. Know Your Students

As stated above, elementary students have different personalities; this brings a difference in interest, including learning styles. One style of learning may not work with all students. You’ll find that some students are good at listening; therefore, standing in front of them and giving a lecture might work, as long as they can hold their interest in what you are saying. That said, incorporating different styles in teaching will help you keep the interest of a lot more students.

4. Be Enthusiastic

Be invested and excited about what you are teaching, and your students will mirror your behavior and pay attention. If you aren’t interested or excited about what you are teaching, your students have no reason to either. It helps when you find topics you and your students can discuss in the classroom.

5. Offer Variety

Predictability in their schedule can be very dull, and your students may be in a space where they just want to “go through the motions” because they know what to expect. Introducing variety in learning styles and material will keep your students alert and interested. If they learn the same way day-in-day-out, they might go into survival mode and be in the classroom to get through the lesson.

Offering variety keeps them guessing and excited for what comes next.

6. Group work

Apart from helping students learn from each other, introducing group work to elementary students keeps them excited and focused in the classwork. Group work helps them make friends easily, making them more comfortable in class.

Elementary students love making presentations in class. It will help if you introduce your students to an element of the friendly competition alongside class presentations because they could get distracted while working in groups and with their friends. You must give them specific instructions to help them focus on the task you have assigned them.

7. Close Proximity and Eye Contact

Maintaining eye contact with your student lets them know that you are also paying attention to the session. Making eye contact with your elementary students ensures they pay attention to what you are teaching.

8. Turn Lessons Into Stories

What better way is there than to teach through illustrations. Telling stories relatable to the content you are teaching will help your students easily remember and improve their interest. Standing in front of elementary students and giving an extended lecture will not always yield the best results.

No One Strategy Works for Every Student

It’s no secret, keeping elementary students engaged is an arduous task, but it is also not impossible. To keep you from being frustrated when some of the elementary teaching methods you think of don’t work out, you must remember your students will respond differently to teaching styles.

Understand your students and what makes them excited. Finally, remember to stay flexible to change, especially in your teaching style.

Watch this interesting video about how you can manage your day as an elementary teacher.

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