All Hands Up: Keeping Everyone Engaged

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All Hands Up: Keeping Everyone Engaged
Every classroom has its keeners eager to get their hand up in the air. But it also has its share of shy, introverted, and more reluctant learners. Whether the lesson is math, science, or English, group discussion provides students the opportunity to answer questions, give examples or propose an argument. Keeping everyone engaged in class discussions is critical, but how do we get those students leaning on the quieter side of things to jump in? 
 
Take the Pressure Off
Problem: Student is afraid to give a “wrong,” response and risk embarrassment.
Solution: A student may be hesitant to raise his/her hand because they feel pressured to say the right thing or give the correct response. Give them some time to think! Even just a handful of extra seconds after providing your class with a question or discussion topic will give students a chance to digest, ponder, and articulate a well-thought out response.
One of the primary reasons why a student might be reluctant to participate in a class discussion is the fear of embarrassment. Giving the correct answer or response to a question is great, but it’s important to foster an environment that encourages effort. Fight intimidation by making sure students know that even if they give the “wrong” response, the effort to participate is appreciated and encouraged.
 
Write it Out
Problem: Student has a difficult time putting his/her response into words verbally while under pressure.
Solution: Some students excel with written communications versus verbal. They may have a hard time articulating their thoughts verbally on the fly. Give your students a chance to write out their response. Again, like the first tip, this gives more introverted students a chance to think about their response more thoroughly and allows them to articulate it in a format they’re are comfortable with. 
 
Collaboration Culture
Problem: Student doesn’t see a need to participate.
Solution: A quieter student might think; “Hey, I understand the material, I am doing well on my assignments, why do I have to participate?” Create a culture of participation and collaboration within your classroom. Make sure your students understand that collaboration is vital in order for students to share ideas and look at complicated situations from a diverse range of perspectives.  
 
How do you keep your students engaged in class discussion? What are some of your tips and tricks to get all students raising their hands high in the air? Be sure to Engage and share your thoughts with the Spirit of Math community! 
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