Have you ever stood in front of a classroom, teaching very important topics, and watched as your students played on their phones, doodled or even dozed off? It’s normal for people’s minds to wander, especially in a long class. Your challenge is to bring them back to the present and keep your students engaged.
Here are some of our favorite ways to make sure students are engaged and really connecting with the material.
Use a Student Workbook
Instructors must provide a workbook for every student, and there’s good reason for this. Many people learn best when reading and taking notes. The act of writing forces students to draw upon their own understanding of the material and retain the information better.
Call on Your Students by Name
If you have trouble remembering names, have each student write his or her name on a place card. This shows your class that you’re invested in them as individuals, along with their success in the class. Pro tip: In the first few minutes of class, ask everyone to state their name, why they are taking the class, and if they have ever assisted in an emergency.
This will make your class interactive and get a dialogue going about the material. Give out participation points during the class, and then use a CPR mask or first aid kit as the prize.
Get Your Students Moving
Ask them to do 10 jumping jacks with you or get up and move around for a couple minutes. It may sound silly, but it’s a great way to wake people up and get their blood pumping. Plus, we learn the most when we are pushed out of our comfort zones a bit.
Use Visual Aids
Use a CPR manikin to point out what you mean while lecturing. Have sample first aid kits, supplies, and CPR barriers to pass around to the students.
Tell Stories That Have Actually Happened Before
Did your coworker save a life, thanks to CPR? What about that story you heard on the news last week? Find current stories on EMS Safety’s Facebook page and share them with your students.
Use Realistic Scenarios That They Might Encounter
Make it personal. This will make it meaningful and important to the student.
Know the Material
If you’re just reading out of the book, your students will quickly lose interest. Maintaining eye contact while you’re speaking keeps students focused on you.
Tell People What to Expect
Let them know the schedule for the day (ex: when they will use training manikins, when they will get breaks, when they will take Skills Tests, etc.)
Be Present and Be Yourself
If you’re distracted or seem indifferent to the students, how can you expect them to care about learning? Find a way to relax and feel comfortable up there at the front of the class. There’s no perfect way to teach a class, so find what works for you. If you’re engaged, your students will probably be as well.