Student participation – update

We were recently reading about unconscious bias in the classroom. The quiet students (often girls) can get dominated by the noisier students (often boys). What results is that the boys get to respond to more of the questions, get more interaction time with the teacher, ask more questions and basically participate more in the classroom.

 

Here are 10 ideas, ranging from low-tech to higher-tech, for increasing student participation and engagement in the classroom. This is particularly relevant for increasing female involvement in STEM subjects.

10 tool smashdown for increasing student participation

We were recently reading about unconscious bias in the classroom. The quiet students (often girls) can get dominated by the noisier students (often boys). What results is that the boys get to respond to more of the questions, get more interaction time with the teacher, ask more questions and basically participate more in the classroom.

Here are 10 tools, ranging from low-tech to higher-tech, for increasing student participation and engagement in the classroom. This is particularly relevant for increasing female involvement in STEM subjects.

1. Think Pair Share

Think Pair Share and other related strategies encourages all students to participate in class. A discussion question is thought about individually, then in pairs students discuss their thoughts, then pairs are called upon to share with the whole class.

2. Name Draw

Use a system to call on every person in the class regularly – you might cut out slips of student names and pull names out of a hat for equitable question distribution. Or, you might tick off in your roll book when you or a student asks a question to keep track of participation.

3. Mini-masterclasses

Sometimes noisy students or challenging students get all the teacher attention. Try mini-masterclasses to even out teacher attention. Call small groups of students over to work with the teacher on a masterclass (could be a different activity like a demonstration, or a differentiated activity – some students may need a re-teach of a concept, others extension, or some might just benefit from dedicated attention to provide feedback on their work in real-time)

4. Jigsaw

Good for covering large amounts of information. Teachers arrange students in groups and give each group a section of a large topic. Each group researches their part, then presents to the whole group to piece together the overall picture of the topic. e.g. a complete biography from birth to death of a famous person; an overall view of a disease from transmission to cure.

5. Peer teaching

Especially fun when revising before a test. Divide up the topics/concepts covered and assign each section to a group/pair/individual student. Have students plan a short teaching session on their assigned topic to present to the class. Bonus points for board notes, worksheets, analogies, review games and interactives!

6. Poster bell-blitz

Called bell work as it happens at the start/end of lesson “when the bell goes” this is a good way to recap on previous learnings or gauge prior knowledge while incorporating movement into the lesson. Put a question/puzzle/calculation at the top of an A3 page. Set up 4-8 stations of questions around the room. Students, in groups, rotate around all stations to answer all the questions. Instruct students to write their answer on the bottom of the page, then fold it up, so that the next group can’t see their answer. Unfold the A3 sheets and discuss all the responses as a class.

7. Getting sticky

This non-threatening (anonymous) way of including all student’s voices in the class uses simple post-it notes. Give each student a post-it note. Have them write an anonymous response/opinion/answer to a question on it and stick it up on the wall/whiteboard. As a class, sort all the responses into categories and discuss themes.

8. Online collaboration

The teacher doesn’t have to stand up the front and write notes all lesson. Students can do their own research in groups, collaborating with others within google docs, office 365, padlet, pintrest or other cloud-based office suites and online pinboards.

9. Interactive Quizzes

Kahoots and Quizizz – online interactive quiz platforms, can be used to increase formative assessment in class, reinforce concepts, increase participation (in a fun and non-threatening way) and encourage all students to engage in the lesson. https://kahoot.com/ https://quizizz.com/

10. Audience Interaction

Get audience interaction and feedback during a lesson with sites like:

Sli-do: Post polls and questions to the class for instant feedback and participation in lesson. https://www.sli.do/

Verso: Collate anonymous feedback and posts with reply functionality for safe discussion and opinion sharing. https://versolearning.com/

Forums: If you use a Learning Management System (LMS) then there may be in-built forum or chat features for encouraging participation in lesson.

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