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LEA is looking for writers

LEA is looking for writers in front-line ministries for articles in future ShapingtheFuture magazine pieces. If you would like to write, contact ed.grube@lea.org (do not reply to this publication) to express and discuss your interests.

 

other STF links

Maintaining a Christian Identity in a Data-Driven World
(Feature)

Like, Raise the Bar Yourself (ETnet)

Challenges with Behavior (LDnet)

Teaching and Reaching First-Year Teachers (LEADnet)



Engaging Students With Learning

How do I engage my students with learning? What does an active, engaged classroom look like? How do I create an engaging Christian classroom? How do I develop a curiosity for classroom learning?

A dynamic classroom will promote meaningful learning experiences and offer the opportunity for students to use higher level thinking skills. An engaged leaner is a productive learner. Productive learners thrive in engaged and active classrooms. Productive learners will thrive with engaging and active teachers. Students who are engaged in learning are motivated, focused, and excited for learning. As teachers, our purpose for teaching is to stimulate learning, to increase the use of abstract learning, and to make use of higher level thinking skills.

The goal for teaching is to create a classroom that has an exciting and dynamic learning environment with a distinct Christian emphasis. A dynamic classroom will promote meaningful learning experiences and offer the opportunity for students to use higher level thinking skills. A dynamic classroom will provide opportunities from the teacher to create, to discover, to think, and to witness about our Christian faith. Students in a dynamic classroom are busy doing activities that promote active learning.

Students who are enrolled in active, dynamic classrooms will demonstrate these beneficial attributes:

How do I create such a dynamic and engaging classroom? This will not happen overnight. This will take time for you to “adjust the sails,” as Dr. Tim Elmore would allude to for learning. I would suggest starting with one subject with which you are familiar and building your ideas for each chapter or unit. Then move on to other subjects once you feel confident with your ideas, and you sense that your students also feel confident. As a teacher, you need to be physically and mentally ready as you plan weekly lessons that are dynamic and engaging. This will require a certain amount of energy to plan and to model for students.

Take time for yourself to enjoy your own activities outside of school. What outside interests and activities do you enjoy? This will help you to feel more energized as you aim to engage your students with productive learning activities. Aim to develop a welcoming classroom environment. Take the time to congratulate students with compliments, high fives, and handshakes. Be a fan—attend athletic and choral events, concerts, and recitals. Use a prayer journal to pray for your students. Take the time to celebrate birthdays and baptismal birthdays as part of the school day.

This will take time, but the positive outcomes are tremendous as you communicate a caring and loving attitude toward your students. A teacher needs a trusting relationship with students.

The teacher in an engaged classroom will create active learning opportunities. These opportunities will result in designing challenging assignments that require students to use higher level thinking skills. Engaging assignments demonstrate these attributes:

Students learn better by doing rather than simply watching or listening. Engaging activities have a sense of purpose An engaged classroom will offer engaging activities. Students learn better by doing rather than simply watching or listening. Engaging activities have a sense of purpose and allow students to work with one another in order for ideas to be expressed and shared. Engaging activities create a zest and enthusiasm for learning. Engaged students participate more willingly as they desire to express their ideas with their peers. Here are four suggestions for creative and dynamic activities:

For students to exist and perform well in engaged classrooms, the teacher also needs to be an engaged learner. An engaged classroom needs an engaged teacher who demonstrates an affinity for being an expert with their craft as a Christian teacher. Here are some ideas to explore:

Confident teachers are experts at their craft, so that engaging learning for students becomes infectious.The purpose of these suggestions is to increase confidence in yourself as an engaged and dynamic teacher so that your students are more confident learners. Confident teachers are experts at their craft, so that engaging learning for students becomes infectious.

In conclusion, there are huge benefits for having students actively engaged in learning. As teachers, we need to create such enthusiasm for learning. We need to be diligent with the techniques that we use for productive learning. These activities promote creativity, discovery, and thinking. As teachers we need to develop intentional strategies that create potential for student success. Engaged students show more effort, experience more positive emotions, and pay more attention in class. Engaged learners are more involved in their learning, they have objectives to reach, and they will surprise you with what they can accomplish in an engaged and dynamic classroom. Engaged learners need engaging teachers!

David Bever served as a Lutheran teacher for 43 years, and he has been a lifelong member of LEA. He was on LEA’s MIDnet group for six years. He lives in Las Vegas with his wife, two children, and three granddaughters. David is an avid reader, bicycle rider, and Beatles fan.

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