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11 Proven Ways How to Get Students Excited About Learning

Teaching is a hard job and one of the hardest parts is figuring out how to get students excited about learning. It is the worst feeling in the world slaving over lesson plans, coming up with “engaging” lessons and activities only to look around the room and see students yawning, laying their heads down or just looking disinterested. We’ve all been there. It hurts, but then the next step has to be asking yourself, “What can I do to fix things?” You have to ask, “How can I get my students excited about learning?”

Those of you who are new to the blog may be wondering, why should I listen to you tell me how to get students excited about learning? Well, I’m glad you’ve asked and I’d be worried if you didn’t. So quickly, I’m a veteran educator with over 15 years in education. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Spanish, a Master of Education degree in Early Childhood Education and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. I have mostly taught in the elementary setting and have spent the last seven years in gifted education, with a focus on creating project based STEM lessons. During that time, I have focused on differentiating my lessons to increase student engagement, so I’ve learned a thing or two about how to get students excited about learning.

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Now that you trust me to give you advice on how to get students excited about learning, let’s talk a little about student engagement. First of all, let’s talk about what student engagement is:

What is Student Engagement and What does it Have to Do with How to Get Students Excited about Learning?

Student engagement, according to is “the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education.” It is the belief in education and it seems obvious that if a student is interested in or inquisitive about what they are learning then they will have an easier time learning the material and they will maintain that knowledge as well. With this background in student engagement, you can see what it has to do with how to get students excited about learning.

Now, any educator will tell you that there are literally millions of “ways” to increase student engagement and far too many sources that tell you they can help you figure out how to get students excited about learning. You may be wondering, how do you figure out which “ways” are actually effective? Well, you want to make sure that the methods you are using to figure out how to get students excited about learning are research based, have data to prove that they work and are realistic for the resources you have and your student population.

I am going to share with you how to get students excited about learning using 11 research based and data proven methods that can be implemented in most settings with little need for extra resources. I went through a lot of trial and error and experimentation to get most of these right, but now they are tried and true components of what you will see when you walk into my first through fifth grade elementary gifted classrooms. This is not to say that every lesson is loved by all my children, but I’d wager and I think my students would agree that 85-90% of the time, they are fully locked into our educational activities. What about that 10-15% of the time? During those activities, we are typically working on fluency or mastering some type of content that the students don’t care for because it’s in a subject they don’t like or we’re launching a new unit and are laying the foundation for a new skill. Gifted students don’t like the unknown so those introductory lessons can be a little tough and tend not to be the most enjoyed by students, but I try to make sure those are short and spread out, so as not to affect students’ overall perception of school and learning.

Now that we’ve talked about why I’m equipped to help you learn how to get students excited about learning and we’ve discussed student engagement and its importance, let’s dive into what you need to do in your classroom to help students get excited about learning.

11 Proven Ways How to Get Students Excited About Learning

Here are the 11 proven ways how to get students excited about learning from my years of trial and error and research:

1. Give your students choice

2.Use educational games and assessment tools

3. Use music

4. Use checklists and rubrics

5. Implement a Flexible Seating learning environment

6. Use Project Based/Inquiry based learning

7. Get to know your students

8. Read to your students and allow them to read independently

9. Put your students in the driver’s seat

10. Use creative assessment measures

11.Change the environment