Encouraging Engagement in the classroom

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by WaProvider, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Apr 23, 2011

    While in a different thread a question came up that warranted a discussion of it's own.

    We all know that engaging children in their education is what really powers the topics home and causes them to stick in the brains of the children. How do you best foster the sort of engagement that moves your topics forward?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 23, 2011

    Hands on learning
    Problem solving
    Inquiry based instruction
    Modeling excitement for learning
    A safe environment where students explore their own ways of thinking and aren't afraid to make mistakes...

    What were you thinking?
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Apr 23, 2011

    Asking the deeper thinking questions and discussion.
     
  5. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    Apr 23, 2011

    I also find when I'M engaged and excited about a topic, it's infectious. :)
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    So, true!
     
  7. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    I totally agree halpey! Me being in the moment really makes or breaks the energy of the classroom.
     
  8. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Mopar, I love that you are a "big kid" teacher and that you are asking the deeper questions. I really believe in my room the depth we are allowed to go has a lot to do with the engagement of the children. When it is a topic that either has little depth or that we will not be able to fully explore due to some contraint....it is really hard for the children to hook in.
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I completely agree! When I let my students explore with counters for negative and positive numbers, they were way more engaged then when I just tell them.

    Also, game or simulations are very engaging. Anything that seems game like grabs their attention. Then throw in a why question and they are hooked.
     
  10. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Apr 23, 2011

    Excellent response!

    I always make mistakes - some on purpose, some not :lol:, and make a big deal of "fixing" them in a problem-solving, non-blaming sort of way. The kids get used to hearing "even teachers make mistakes" which seems to give them permission for trial and error.
     
  11. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Apr 23, 2011

    I recently came across an article on creative thinking on childhood101.com which discussed the learning (or stunting) potential of the way you ask children questions which I think is pertinent to this discussion on engaging children.

    See the difference simple wording makes in getting children thinking and interested to pursue a subject:

    Can you see the rainbow in the sky? versus
    I wonder how does the rainbow get into the sky?

    What is this part of the elephant called? versus
    What would you do if you had a trunk?

    Can you see it's raining? versus
    How does the rain get into the sky?

    Can you see the lizard? versus
    Why do you think lizards lie in the sun?

    Can you see the bird flying in the sky? versus
    What would happen if you could fly?

    What color is this? versus
    What does this color make you think of?

    Which of the balls float? versus
    How does the ball float on top of the water?

    I think part of engaging children is asking the right questions to get them to start thinking of the possibilities and expand their focus. It is also important that there isn't always a "right" answer which doesn't promote creative thinking. Doing whatever we can do engage children's imaginations is another great way to promote their engagement.
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Apr 23, 2011

    This goes for grownups too, trust me.
     
  13. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I do think a classroom needs adequate "equipment" to enhance exploration. I also believe that so many new teachers have trouble because they are not sure what type of materials to add to enhance this learning. An understanding of this method does not come easily, and must can come with lots of networking, workshops and experimentation. For instance, I took a workshop on teaching children about the heart. One of the suggested activities was to put clear tubes in the water table to show the children how blood flowed in the body. Then spured my thinking, and I realized that concepts do not have to be so concrete to be meaningful.
     
  14. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Apr 24, 2011

    After observing and working with teachers this year, I have found this to be so true! One of the things that I am going to incorporate into training next school year is the many ways to use the preschool equipment in the classrooms. I've taken this for granted; that the teachers knew how to use the materials numerous ways. I've been reflecting on my work with the teachers and one of the recurring themes in my work is that the teachers do not know how to use many of the learning materials in their classrooms; or they just use them in one manner.
     
  15. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Apr 24, 2011

    I think that is very true about teachers not understanding how to use some materials or being too limited in the ways they use them. Sometimes we need to think "out of the box." Another example is my director doesn't like us to combine different types of toys or materials which can often give play a whole new dimension or to bring inside things outside and vice versa.
     

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