Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

Blog > Classroom > Maintaining engagement with students

Maintaining engagement with students

20 Apr 2017
Written by Nell Shotton


Nell Shotton

A big challenge when teaching is the range of abilities within one class. Almost all my students in South Korea had studied or lived abroad for at least a year, so overall, their levels of English comprehension were extremely high. However, in each class there were at least a handful of students that had virtually no English understanding at all and it was very easy for these students to quickly become disengaged and fall behind even further. Equally, by trying to focus purely on the lower achieving students, the high achievers became disengaged and bored very quickly. I found several ways to try to tackle this issue during my time teaching.

Team work – supportive classroom environment

  • Group work was beneficial for all my students. Students who were more proficient could help the other students and everyone was motivated because nobody wanted to be letting the team down. It also took the focus off of individual students who would easily become embarrassed if they didn’t understand. Overall, I found this kept engagement and interest high.

Free speaking time at the beginning of each class

  • This gave the students with better English an opportunity to speak up and stretch themselves, which kept them motivated and engaged. Additionally, because free talking wasn’t graded and was just a low-pressure time at the beginning of the class, I found that some of the less proficient students would join in if they had interesting news from their weekend, practising speaking in a way they normally wouldn’t.

Use relevant pop culture

  • It’s a great idea to use popular culture references to engage students. However, it’s important to remain mindful that pop culture in the UK will probably not be the same as pop culture in the country you are teaching. I worked hard to find Korean cartoons, pop stars and actors that my students liked to make the lessons more engaging and relevant for them.

Written by: Nell Shotton

Similar stories

Adapting to technology by Goodwin

Adapting to technology

How do we make the most out of social media and online resources? More...

Hull School in Switzerland
Six reasons to choose the iGCSE / iAL path over IB

An exclusive from a Swiss Principal into why iGCSE / iAL is the best curriculum to offer a student. More...

Teachers relocating abroad...
What you're not missing

To transition successfully to a new school in a new country, it may be necessary for globetrotters to overcome challenge… More...

Teachers tell us: The future of teaching and learning

We recently sat down with a handful of teaching veterans who’ve been recognized as Teachers of the Year in their own … More...

Adapting to technology – in relation to mathematics teaching and learning

Is technology there to help students get ‘the answer’ more quickly and accurately, or to improve the way they learn … More...

Most read

Multilingual success in your school competition shortlist

Here it is: the Multilingual success in your school global competition shortlist! Have a read and see what the applicants did! More...

Mindfulness and exam stress - webinar recording

Log in to Pearson International Schools Community to view and download the webinar recording and access resources. More...

IB DP Maths - Are we ready for the next 7 years?

Missed Ibrahim Wazir's session at the IB conference in Vienna? Here's the summary to help you to get ahead of the upcomi… More...

Share how your school promotes multilingualism for a chance to WIN up to £500 resources

Competition time! Multilingual success in your school is a global competition designed to celebrate good practice in sup… More...

10 online resources for international school teachers

From video resources and podcasts to online magazines and member associations, here are 10 online resources for busy int… More...

This website is powered by