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Career and Technical Education (CTE) | Student Engagement

4 Ways to Re-Engage Students in Their Learning

November 18th, 2021 | 5 min. read

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Amidst factors like personal responsibilities, extracurricular activities and the general busyness of everyday life, it can be easy for students to become disengaged in their education. The challenge educators often face today is finding innovative ways to motivate students to practice higher-level thinking and have more impactful learning experiences.  

Providing students with engaging, hands-on learning experiences is of utmost importance in today’s CTE classrooms. In this blog iCEV shares new strategies and ideas that can be used to develop projects and assignments to re-engage students in their learning.  

Bell Ringers 

Bell ringers are completed at the beginning of class and are intended to gain student’s interest, reflect on previous lessons or introduce students to the topic being discussed in class. These activities allow educators to  capture student’s interest and focus during their first moments of class. Below are bell ringer ideas to help engage your students.  

20 Questions: In groups have students develop a question about the lesson  to be asked and answered throughout the lesson. 

Pose a Question:  Pose a question to students and encourage students to work together to build on each other’s answers. 

Balderdash:  Use the vocabulary words for a lesson and have students write the real definition and a fake definition on a piece of paper. Once everyone is donw, randomly draw definitions and  have them vote on which definition is correct.  


Linking Projects to What Students Know and Like  

Connecting what students know and like with what they are learning is one of the most impactful ways educators can ensure students stay engaged in a lesson. Incorporating technology, events and experiences students are interested in can   often help students see the relevancy and application of the strategies they are learning. The following ideas are trends today’s youth are currently interested in. Each of these can easily be incorporated in the classroom to engage students.  

Tik Tok Videos:  Have students choose a concept related to the lesson  and create a Tik Tok length video.   

Podcasting:  In groups, have students select a topic to research and develop a set of questions they can answer as an “expert” on a roundtable chat.   

Sample Social Media Feed:  Have students create a feed which includes images and captions to showcase a timeline or process to “post” online.  


Cross-Curricular Ideas 

Cross curricular projects connect and add value to what students are learning and give students perspective as to how their educational experiences build upon each other. Ideas for cross curricular projects include the following. 

Human Body Systems:  Partner with the PE course to show how the systems work together.

Engineering Design:  Have engineering students design a project and then work with students in welding, architecture or construction class to build a prototype of their design.  

Child Guidance/ Instructional Practice Project:  Have students observe a class to see the guidance and teaching strategies they are learning about in practice.   


Varying Types & Kinds of Projects  

Students often experience burnout in terms of commonly used projects and activities they experience across their courses. Varying projects can ensure students stay engaged in their learning and avoid burnout. Adding variety to your projects pushes students out of their comfort zone resulting in more memorable learning experiences.  Below are three common project ideas and compatible projects to help vary classroom projects.  

From Research Paper to Curated Collection:  A curated collection is a compilation of items relating to a specific topic in a single location such as a pinboard or webpage. Students research to find items to populate their curation and incorporate written components to enhance the project.   

From Presentation to Museum Kiosk:  Students design a self-running presentation with information about a topic which could be used at a museum kiosk. Students can use a variety of presentation applications such as Google Slides or PowerPoint to develop a presentation to be viewed like a gallery as students walk around and watch presentations. 

From Essay to Sketch Notes:  Students are tasked with developing a set of sketch notes for a topic to illustrate an idea or concept. Sketch notes challenge students to visualize what they are learning and sketch their interpretation of the content.  

Keeping your students engaged in their learning is no easy task for educators. The key to overcoming student disengagement is understanding your students’ academic needs and the factors impacting their learning experience. For more ideas on how to re-engage students in their learning, download our free eBook:

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