Listed are 6 ways that can work as guides to empower and engage your students.
1. Eye contact
It's an important part of body language because it's not only a way to make students feel comfortable, but it's also a way to get their attention. It is one of the best ways to connect with our students and keep them focused. The teacher must hold gaze with one student for about 15-30 seconds before changing to another student. Students are likely to pay more attention when they know you are speaking directly to them. It also helps them feel seen. Without this basic step, no communication is possible.
2. Be expressive and use gestures
It is important for teachers to use gestures when speaking as this can help keep students engaged and give them the opportunity to reframe what the teacher is teaching. Gestures play an important role in teaching to inspire students to engage in the lesson. Retention rates are low for verbal material, but increase when you add memorable non-verbal cues that the brain files as an association.
Keeping your hands in your pockets is important when teaching, but it can distract students and make them lose focus if we overdo the hand gestures. Hand gestures should only be used sparingly. It's the same with exaggerating gestures, it can distract students from the lesson and can be annoying to them.
3. Keep your arms open
An open body position signals an invitation. He welcomes brainstorming and new ideas. It will also draw your students' attention to you, making them more likely to hear what you have to say.
4. Praise with your whole body
Nodding your head in declaration, giving thumbs up, raising your hands excitedly are some of the ways and gestures to let them know they are on the right track. This gives them the confidence to continue their learning journey. This helps them believe in themselves. This is the main goal of the teacher.
5. Adopt a mindset
When a student asks you a question, hold your chin, tilt your head. This will signal the student you are looking at to think about the question. It arouses curiosity and encourages them to ask more and more questions. When a student is encouraged to ask questions, it improves their sense of inquiry and enhances their learning.
6. Smile on your face
Having a smile on your face is the most important feature of gestures. Students connect best with teachers who want to be present with them, who love to learn and want to share that passion.
Paying attention to non-verbal communication in the classroom will enable us to become effective communicators of knowledge. In addition, we will become skilled receivers of our students' needs, gain the ability to send out signals that enhance learning, and open our eyes to signals that suppress it.
Sense of humor
The importance of the humor factor was underestimated by everyone. In order for students to be actively engaged and interested in the class, the teacher must incorporate humor into his teaching process. A dour, dreary, brooding and brooding teacher is not conducive to the overall well-being of the students.
The use of humor has a positive effect not only on learning but also on classroom management. It promotes relaxation and creates a pleasant climate in the classroom. Humor is used successfully to communicate implicit classroom rules and to promote greater understanding between teacher and students.
In college classrooms, humor creates a humanizing effect on the teacher's image. It has physiological, psychological, social and cognitive (educational) benefits for the student. Physiological benefits include muscle relaxation, stimulated circulation, improved breathing, and exercise of the lung and chest muscles. Humor increases the production of natural pain relievers called endorphins. It lowers heart rate and blood pressure (Berk, 1998).
Coursework designed in college is stressful for most students because they have to complete a lot of theoretical and practical work in a given time. Students have to undergo a lot of pressure in and out of college. This stress can lead to mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, which have an adverse impact on learning.
Humor is an important psychological tool that can help students cope with fear and stress, improve their sense of well-being, enhance self-image, self-esteem, self-confidence, and also reduce anxiety and depression (Check, 1997). For college teachers, humor must be an integral part of student learning when used appropriately, judiciously, constructively, and in moderation. Humor can be a great way to get students' attention. This can help them remember key concepts and structures. The performance of students in the classroom is strongly influenced by the relationship with the teacher, and humor is one method for the teacher to build a good relationship with them. In such classes, students will have less inhibitions about asking questions or taking notes. If a teacher encourages students to be funny, they usually produce answers that are more interesting and productive (Dinesh, 2009). A teacher who effectively prepares and uses humor in the classroom will find that teaching is more fun and enjoyable. It was seen that students tend to value and appreciate teachers who can effectively use humor in their teaching. Humor can increase student perceptions of teacher credibility if it enhances learning. In addition, humor can keep students awake, energized and excited.
It is essential that teachers encourage students to communicate openly. Emphasis should be placed on cultivating dialogue rather than monologue. So, when solving any problems in the classroom, it is always wise to hear the opinions of the students as well.
In the classroom, each student comes from a personalized background, including cultural, religious, linguistic, age, gender, nationality, personality, religious and life experiences. Some students may come from adverse backgrounds such as abuse, violence or illness in the family, traumatic or criminal environments, living in a dysfunctional family, socially isolated, disabled, low-income or young parents (Roffey, 2011). His/her background may thus contribute to his/her behavior problems and learning disabilities. Therefore, the teacher must adapt his teaching to the needs of the student and provide him with a cultural, linguistic, social, safe and positive learning environment.
The teacher must take into account the background of the student and structure his lessons to suit the intellectual development, social and physical characteristics of the students. The teacher must analyze teaching strategies that respond to student strengths and understand the impact of culture and cultural identity. These are all important pedagogical factors in supporting student learning.
Knowledge of the personal life of your students will contribute to quality study results. With this information, teachers can provide authentic learning environments, real-life activities, and problem-solving skills, connecting students' classroom worlds with the outside world. Understanding students' backgrounds can provide knowledge about the complexities students may be facing.
This is a good method where you can divide the class into small teams and ask them to solve different problems or complete tasks. This practice will increase not only the interaction between the students but also between the teacher and the students. This also helps students to know their strengths and weaknesses. The important principle of learning by doing is fulfilled. Students share knowledge with each other, building interpersonal bonds. This is the real essence of the teaching learning process. The bonds formed in the classroom last longer and live with them for a lifetime. It is essential for teachers to group the slow learner with the fast learner. Students share knowledge with each other without hesitation rather than the teacher. This clears the doubts that a slow student has.
It is also important for teachers to be up to date with all the latest teaching aids such as computers, video conferencing and especially the use of the internet. This will also help the students to stay interested in the learning process. They thus feel that the teacher is up-to-date and not outdated. The current generation is surrounded by gadgets right from mobiles to laptops. A teacher must keep up with the latest technology. Gone are the days when teachers had excuses, a whole world of information is gone just from Google. It is a challenge for teachers to stay up to date with the latest information in their subject.
Students are the future of every nation. That is why the role of teachers is so important to society. It is through the teacher that generations of young people are deeply influenced. Overall student improvement can be expected when communication skills for teachers are given due attention. Therefore, it is important that communication skills become an important part of a teacher's professional competence.
(The Author is Assistant Professor, Sri Pratap College)