60 Second Tips: Engagement

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John Dabell

I trained as a primary school teacher 25 years ago, starting my career in London and then I taught in a range of schools in the Midlands. In between teaching jobs, I worked as an Ofsted inspector (no hate mail please!), national in-service provider, project...
Read more about John Dabell

How can we grab attention like a Venus flytrap?

No time? This will take just 60 seconds.

12 Ways to Make Lessons More Engaging

Go! …

1. Use Props

Use hats, wigs, clothes, masks, novelty items, jokes, puppets, magic tricks and weave them into whatever you are teaching. Make them laugh!

2. Play Music

Use music to set the mood, structure learning, pacify, motivate, inspire, aid recall and make brain waves.

3. Play hide and seek

Deliberately hide the learning objectives from your class so they have to work out what the purpose of the lesson is.

4. Chunk and chew

Teach for no more than 10 minutes and let children digest what you have said for 2 minutes.

5. Turn upside down

Collect weird and wonderful objects or resources to deliberately wow children, cloak them in mystery and unhinge their thinking so they see the world from a new angle.

6. Be more punk

Take more risks, do things differently, surprise, be creative, play out of tune, be spontaneous.

7. Press ‘shift’

Don’t teach in boxes, embrace multi-disciplinary teaching across the curriculum and connect the dots.

8. Keep moving

Make your lessons active…always. Finger snap, clap, stamp, stomp, swing your arms, roll your head … don’t let them sit for too long.

9. HUGG and RING

Have Unbelievably Great Goals, communicate your expectations for success and as Dave Keeling says, always link learning to something that is Relevant, Interesting, Naughty and a Giggle.

10. Be a 2%er

Being positive, upbeat, full of energy and children will mirror your animation.

11. Think big

Give children ownership of their learning, give them freedom and ask ‘big questions’ within a SOLE (Self-Organised Learning Environment).

12. Treat like a VIP

Treat every child like a VIP. Get to know them, make them feel special. The secret ingredient to great teaching is relationships, relationships, relationships.

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