The greatest enemy of every classroom is boredom. Student engagement is an ever-present issue in today’s classrooms, even moreso in a class designed to help children succeed later in the business world or as entrepreneurs.
As with many subjects that aren’t immediately applicable to their everyday lives, students may tend to zone out. The question then, is simple: How can you keep your students engaged?
We have a couple of tricks up our sleeves that you can use to keep classroom interest high.
- Did you know that a 6-year-old can have an attention span as short as 10 minutes? Kids tend to have short attention spans, so break your lesson apart. If your class is an hour long, rather than exercising an extended stretch of a single lesson, consider planning several short activities designed to reinforce small lessons and keep your students’ minds moving.
- Begin each lesson with an interesting fact. By providing your students with a fresh business fact or mock business scenario as soon as you begin the lesson, you can create a fun and stimulating environment and an appetite for more stimulation. For example, you might give your children three guesses to figure out which product launched a young entrepreneur, Ethan Holmes, from your everyday 15-year-old into the CEO of a multimillion-dollar company. (The answer is, surprisingly, applesauce.) Small puzzles, quick games, and little nuggets of knowledge, all of these can help your children quickly warm up to whatever lesson you have planned.
- Turn your lessons into group games. (Google “how to gamify your lessons and you’ll get plenty of help; for instance, this website offering 15 Ways to Gamify Your Class.) Students simply learn best when and retain the most information when they are having fun. Beyond that, turning your lessons into games will help students be more creative in the real business world, teach valuable interpersonal and collaborative skills, and help your students be less discouraged by making mistakes since they will have made so many mistakes in the classroom.
- Offer choices. One of the main draws of entrepreneurial life is the freedom to create whatever you want. Why not extend that same mindset to your classroom? Rather than having students all create different variations of the same project, give students the freedom and responsibility to fashion their own projects, mock products, and faux-businesses. Bear in mind that an unlimited number of choices can be overwhelming for some students. Lists of pre-approved projects can help alleviate these concerns.
Ultimately, not every strategy listed above will prove effective with all of your students. Hopefully, however, this list has sparked some ideas about how you can keep your students engaged.
Recall times when you were a student, and teachers may have used some of these strategies in their classrooms. Which classes were the most memorable to you as a kid? Most likely, the classrooms you remember the most were not the ones with the same rote lecture every day; rather, they were with teachers who dared to make school fun.
Now it’s your turn! What strategies will you employ?
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