Tips for teachers to keep primary students engaged

Student engagement is essential in today’s classrooms. Many studies have found that increased attention is connected to higher achievement and effective classroom management. It is much more challenging to keep students engaged than it is adults. If we do not create an engaging environment and a creative learning experience, subjects may not interest them.

Getting your students focused and eager on the activity at the initial stage of the class is tough. It is also problematic once you have locked them into learning; they quickly lose interest. If teachers sometimes get bored sitting for long presentations, NO doubt students go off track. You need to attract students’ attention and make sure they stay focused in class.

Here are some strategies to ensure student engagement:

1.  Use a fairness cup

You can use a fairness cup to help your students learn how to handle failure in life.

Write each student’s name on a Popsicle stick and put the sticks in a cup. Pull a random stick to select someone to speak or answer a question, then choose a set of questions your students can answer.

Many schools use Bloom’s taxonomy to improve the thought processes of students. When they think beyond the imaginable it leads to exciting thoughts and motivates mental growth.

There are 6 major categories for questions:

  • Knowledge
  • Comprehension
  • Application
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Evaluation

2.  Start class with a warm-up activity

One exercise is to ask students to find mistakes written on the board. Instead of working individually, they can collaborate on a group project.

Assign students to small groups. Ask them to work as a team and raise their hands when finished. When all groups have completed the task, have them compare their results.

3.  Teach students about teamwork

Project learning and team-based work needs to be trained in the early stages of school life to develop their collaboration skills.

An example of a team-building exercise is to divide the students into small groups and give each team a pair of scissors, two papers, ten paper clips and tape. Ask them to build a free-standing tower in a limited period of time. Have some teams begin construction while others observe. The “observing” teams can give positive suggestions. Switch teams and see if they can produce better projects.

4.  Utilize quick written reviews

After completing a topic, ask your students to briefly write what they have learned. It can cover vital points about the topic and their thoughts about challenging sections. This will keep students engaged and prepare them to focus on the next subject.

5.  Use different learning styles

Every student has unique ways of learning with their own strengths and weaknesses. You need to incorporate various activities and methods to reach all students.

Auditory/linguistic learning

With this method students improve both listening and speaking skills. They think in words and will often be learning as they speak. Suitable activities for these students cover:

  • Brief lectures
  • Discussion
  • Stories
  • Word games
  • Team projects

Visual/spatial learners

These students learn first by seeing. They may see in words or images. Some activities for this type of learner include:

  • Reading
  • Taking notes
  • Looking at images, videos, etc.
  • Drawing and reading charts or maps
  • Resolving puzzles

Concept mapping

This method can be used to organize thoughts graphically by creating a diagram. A word or group of words expresses various concepts. Primary concepts should be listed at the top of the diagram. As other ideas are added, linking phrases and cross-links can be used.

6.  Turn learning into games

Students learn more and get engaged most when they are having fun. This concept suggests giving more focus to the benefits of playing learning games in the classroom.

7.  Learning in a story session

Storytelling is another highly engaging strategy that can be used in the classroom. This activity helps engage both the emotional and logical sections of the brain. With diverse areas of the brain being stimulated, the hearer can better engage with and cherish the information within the story.

8.  Create a positive emotional environment

Ask students about their feelings as they consider a vital topic such as bullying. Be open and available to them if they need help with their emotions. Many students have no moral support from family or friends. When upset, kids are more likely to misbehave and less able to concentrate or be engaged in the subject matter. Teachers and counselors are vital in helping students in these situations.

9.  Educational apps

Introducing some technology into the classroom can take away dullness and make students excited towards the class.

With the extensive use of mobile devices, educational apps are now becoming a necessary tool in the present-day classroom. With video sessions, math apps allow teaching difficult mathematical problems through games.

10. Autonomy support

Including students in the learning process is vital to obtain their interest for the subject.

Students should be able to express their ideas and opinions during the activity. They should be given a good amount of time to understand specific topics and not rushed  onto the next subject.


In teaching, not every strategy will work with every student. You need to have a big bag of tricks that you can pull from when students’ interest starts to waver.

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