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Engagement Strategy #2: Using the Students as Examples

A couple of days ago I shared one of the strategies I used to keep students engaged, especially in those direct instruction parts of my lesson.

I wanted to share another one in this post to hopefully help teachers, especially new teachers, keep more students from zoning out during a lesson.

Engagement Strategy #2: Usin the Students as Examples

I tried to come up with a catchy title for this strategy, but I couldn’t.

Basically, what you want to do is connect the concept that you are trying to teach by using examples that students can relate to.  You should be doing this already, but a good way to get more students to pay attention to the example is to use the name of a student in the class.

For example, “Let’s say that Johnny decided to leave his house and get his own apartment.”

The students all look at Johnny who is now looking at you. The class is now listening to find out what is going to happen to Johnny.

“Johnny spent around two years living by himself and doing OK. He learned how to cook and clean and nobody was bothering him. He went to bed at whatever time he wanted. He ate whatever he wanted. He even ate his dessert before eating dinner sometimes. If he didn’t want to brush his teeth, he didn’t have to.”

Using a little humor is good.

“Then Johnny’s mom and dad decide to come and live with him. They start making Johnny go to bed early and eat all his dinner and brush his teeth. How do you think Johnny is feeling about this?”

Allow students to give their answers.

Now you have them. Now you connect Johnny’s story to the lesson. In this case, I would connect it to the American Colonists who were upset with England’s new laws that led to the American Revolution.

You have to be careful that you are not using a student who may be upset with you or might not like the extra attention. You also don’t want to look for the off task student and choose him/her. Then this strategy becomes more of a consequence.

Making direct instruction interesting is difficult, especially if the content is dry.

For some students, direct instruction needs to be spiced up a little or else you’re going to lose them. Using the strategy Students as Examples worked for me. Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you.

I’ll have another engagement strategy posted soon.

Until next time,

Here’s to your Success in the Classroom!






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