Challenging Students

Often the key to capturing students’ attention and keeping them excited about class is accomplished in a variety of ways.  Below is a list of ideas for engaging students and presenting content in new ways.

  • Use variety in methods of presentation every class meeting.
  • Stage a figurative “coffee break” about twenty minutes into the hour; tell an anecdote; invite students to put down pens and pencils; refer to a current event; shift media.
  • Incorporate community resources: plays, concerts, the State Fair, government agencies, businesses, the outdoors.
  • Show a film in a novel way: stop it for discussion, show a few frames only, anticipate ending, hand out a viewing or critique sheet, play and replay parts.
  • Share your philosophy of teaching with your students.
  • Form a student panel to present alternative views of the same concept.
  • Stage a change-your-mind debate with students moving to different parts of the classroom to signal change in opinion during the discussion.
  • Tell about your current research interests and how you got there from your own beginnings in the discipline.
  • Conduct idea-generating or brainstorming sessions to expand horizons.
  • Give students two passages of material containing alternative views to compare and contrast.
  • Take students with you to hear guest speakers or special programs on campus.