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3 easy ways to increase student engagement

A free professional blog to support English teachers



Nearly 38% of teachers surveyed tell us that student engagement is one of the biggest problems they face in the classroom - 38%! That means over a third of all our learners are unmotivated.

English teachers, we need to fix this! 


This post offers practical tips on how to increase student engagement and get them enjoying English. 

I have grouped suggestions into three main phases of the lesson:

  1. Preparing for the lesson
  2. During the lesson 
  3. Thinking differently


Before the lesson


Be prepared.

Set clear goals and expectations for the students so they know what they are working towards. This will increase their motivation to do so.

It is also important to plan a range of teaching methods to ensure all students are involved. This includes 

  • Active learning i.e. movement
    • This can be as simple as asking that child who is always full of energy to walk around the classroom handing out books or asking all students to stand up as part of a task.
  • Problem solving tasks for the ‘thinkers’
    • Advanced students who find the lesson too easy will go to sleep, so keep them thinking by preparing extension tasks.
  • Visual stimulation for visual learners
    • Prepare colourful lessons with images to aid memory.
  • Speaking tasks for verbal learners

Luckily, all learning methods lend themselves perfectly to language learning.

A combination of all of them is the ultimate goal!



During the lesson


It’s important that you are excited to teach your lesson.

If you’re not enthusiastic, how can you expect your students to be?

Throw some vocabulary games into your lessons to encourage competitiveness - better yet, active vocabulary games get the blood pumping at the same time.

Use real-life examples of how your lesson is relevant to the students or tell stories of amusing mistakes you have made in the past. Stories and experiences help learners remember.

Finally, get students talking and working with each other. Students can teach each other far better than we give them credit for and isn’t it more fun to discover a new subject with your best friend?



After the lesson


Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Just because the traditional teaching styles are the oldest, does not mean they are the best or even relevant to learners today.

I like to send students home with independent research tasks for homework so the analysis and problem solving can take place in the classroom.

It’s also fun to mix topics and subjects. That’s why we teach English through the theme of Sustainability at The English Classroom. Sustainability is a fresh and relevant topic that students can relate to in their everyday lives so it makes sense they prefer to read about the world around them rather than that trip to London that they will probably never take. 


Students' levels of engagement are falling and soon their grades will follow. We need to reassess what we teach and how we teach it.

Don’t forget, if you’re smiling so will they!


You can read more from Tophat and Quizalize who offer tips suitable for different aged learners.

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Written by Jennifer Gardner

Owner of The English Classroom




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