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Boosting student participation during lessons

Boosting student participation during lessons


Improving student participation during lesson is a topic of interest for many teachers. Every classroom has students who always have their hands raised ready to contribute towards the lesson and answer questions. Every classroom also has those who are more introverted and find it difficult to speak aloud during group discussion. It can be difficult for tutors to gauge how much these more introverted students have learnt; therefore it is helpful to start to introduce more activities to encourage the students who prefer personal learning, rather than group participation.


Digital barriers that have come with online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic have passed and classroom based learning is hopefully here to stay. We’ve put together some ideas for activities you can introduce during lessons to motivate and encourage students to participate more.


1)    1 - Hot potato - A fun game to encourage communication between students. Try passing round a small item (or even an actual potato!) and asking students to state one thing they’ve learnt during the lesson. You could even ask individual students to nominate their peers during this game. There are endless topics tutors can choose to present with this activity. With this, we find that the more introverted students respond well as they have chance to plan their answer beforehand and realise that their peers are also participating.


2)    2 - Pick out interesting activities – If a student is interested in a subject, they are more likely to want to participate. This can leave the students who generally find a particular subject challenging behind. Within the lesson, activities are the difference between boring and interesting. So, to increase the participation during a lesson, tutors should include a range of different activities to stimulate students’ interest. Try varying from class discussions, to group projects, games or quizzes.



3)    3 - Encourage peer to peer learning – Although some students may not feel comfortable speaking in front of the entire class, easing them into participating in small group discussions is helpful. Tutors have to be sure to oversee these discussions to ensure participation is equally split.


4)    4 - Assess student’s prior knowledge – In order for students to participate in a lesson, they must first have learnt or be able to apply their knowledge to the topic. It would be beneficial to place an activity towards the end of a lesson, so that students feel more comfortable with answering and asking questions during class discussion. Tutors may want to also introduce a system where every student completes a short questionnaire after a lesson to assess who has found the lesson challenging.


5)    5 - Hands up! - A small activity tutors can introduce is asking students to participate gently, without even speaking. For example, tutors can ask questions to the class and if the individual agrees, they put their hand up. Another could be asking students to move to a particular area of a classroom that corresponds with an answer to a question. This will help the more introverted members of the class to feel included, without having to speak aloud in front of the class.


Within an IT lesson, it can be very difficult to encourage participation due to the distractions available to students. One of AB Tutor’s many features is a traffic light system, where tutors can request students show a green, amber or red light to answer a particular question or provide feedback.

If your school, college or education centre is looking to upgrade their classroom management software to enable a more streamlined approach when it comes to using IT equipment to facilitate an improved learning experience, we’d be happy to give you a free online demonstration of our software.

You can request yours by clicking here. To view all features, click here.