Social media. The Internet. Texts. Email. With access to information literally at our fingertips and the ability to communicate with others 24/7, you may find it’s becoming increasingly challenging to keep parents engaged during your childbirth classes.
If this is something you’ve been experiencing, use the following information to help foster and maximize engagement in your classroom.
Elements of Student Engagement
There are certain elements that may help increase student engagement and lead to better educational outcomes. Three of these elements are described below.
Make it meaningful. Research has shown that if students don’t consider a learning activity personally meaningful, they won’t consider it worthy of their time and effort. One way to ensure activities resonate with students is to connect your class’ content to your students' previous experiences, underscoring the personal relevance. Another way is to give students tools that enable them to apply the content to aspects of their lives outside of the classroom.
Encourage participation. When students know their opinions, concerns, ideas, and questions are valued and encouraged, they’re more likely to feel comfortable participating in your class. Schedule a time during each session when parents can share what’s going on in their lives and time for you and the other students to provide feedback. Also, maintain an agenda that’s flexible enough to accommodate students’ comments and questions without it disrupting the session or taking you too far off track.
Promote collaborative learning. Go beyond the lecture. When students are able to work with others in a group setting after the material has been delivered to them via lecture or another method of instruction, their engagement may be amplified by a sense of connection to others. You’re likely already incorporating some group work into your classes, but there are ways you can make these sessions more meaningful and productive. Walk around and spend time with each group to facilitate discussions and to ask questions that help students process the material.
Incorporating these elements into your classes can make a huge difference in the engagement level of your students. Try them out and you’ll likely find you’re no longer competing with technology for their attention.