Planning Classes and Engaging Students

How can I plan classes that will engage students and help them learn? 

Plan Individual Class Sessions

Set goals for each class session and communicate them to the students to provide a roadmap for them.  Clearly articulated learning objectives help your students differentiate among different types of knowledge, focus on important details, balance their independent learning with your guidance, and increase their ability to guide their own learning.  You can post a class outline and any announcements online or on a projector or board at the front of the classroom. 

As you develop lesson plans for each class session, it may help to consider:

  • What do I want my students to learn from this session?
  • What learning activities will best support those learning goals? 
  • How will I know if students have achieved those learning goals?
  • How does this class session fit into the overall course and into the class sessions that precede and follow this one?  How will I help students understand that?

Learn more about the importance of establishing learning goals and objectives.  

Engage Students

The more you diversify your material and repeat important concepts using different techniques, the more likely your students are to learn the concepts at a deeper level.  As you plan for a particular class session, it may useful to think about:

  • How might I use images and audiovisual resources to reinforce concepts I am explaining or to help bring material to life for students? 
  • Have I created opportunities for hands-on, active learning?  This can help students take ownership of the material, and allow them to learn from each other.  This is also an opportunity to regain students whose focus may have wandered.
  • Do I ask questions of my students and provide them with opportunities to ask questions?  This not only provides feedback so that you know how the pacing of your class is going, but also allows students to clarify points of confusion on the spot.

Learn more about ways to engage students.

Provide your students with feedback

Formative feedback provides the students with information that allows them to modify their thinking or approaches to studying to improve their learning.  It can also be feedback collected by the instructor with the purpose of modifying and improving the course.  Formative feedback does not need to connect to a grade and should occur frequently to help your students succeed in the course.

Learn more about providing students with feedback on their learning.