6 Simple yet Effective Methods for Encouraging Active Student Participation in the Classroom

Check Out the New Blog How can you encourage Active Student Participation in the classroom?

There is nothing more rewarding than a classroom full of active and responsive students. Active student participation adds quality and depth to the teaching and learning processes. But as important as “student engagement” is to the learning process, most teachers will tell you that it’s not always easily attained. Motivating and getting students to contribute to the learning process in the classroom requires careful planning and a lot of creativity. Here, we have listed some simple and effective activities and classroom strategies for encouraging student engagement in the classroom:

1. Using Prompts: Use of prompts capitalizes on the inquisitiveness of students, encouraging their active engagement in the lectures. The prompts (verbal or visual) can be strategically introduced at various points in the lecture, whether it’s to introduce a topic, activate background knowledge, or to summarize or review information at the end of the class. The prompts can help us to explore and direct our students’ thought process, and to shift the learning process to a more interactive and learning-centered approach.

2. Personalizing Learning: Responses and participation increase when the topic of learning is relatable to the students. For instance, we could supplement a class on natural disasters with real life audio-video clips of news on the subject. Initiating discussions enables students to open up and contribute more than when listening to a routine lecture on the topic. Linking the topic with real life experiences and scenarios can make materials more interesting for the students to learn, consider, and discuss.

3. Keep Them Guessing: Liven up your classroom by keeping students on their toes with your questions. Set out a name jar containing students’ names. When asking questions, the jar is passed around the class, and students can pull out a name for each question. The named person has to answer the question and then pull out the next name for the next question. Besides encouraging equal participation among students, this activity also ensures that students pay attention in the classroom. Similar alternatives to this activity is the use of a “talking stick,” or tagging another classmate to participate.

4. Beach Ball Discussion: Prepare a set of topic-related questions and activities. On a beach ball, write the two options- “Question” and “Activity.” During the lecture, the ball can be thrown to the students. The student who catches it chooses whether to answer a question or perform an activity related to the topic you are presenting. Once the option has been chosen, reveal the question or activity for the content presented. If the student needs help with the task, use the beach ball to select another student. You can also write these tasks or questions on the beach ball and ask the student to perform whichever option the student is touching.

5. The Sit/Stand Method: This is a useful technique for summarizing and reviewing the content taught in class. Have all the students stand up. Either randomly or in an order have students voice out one point that they learned before they sit down. You can increase the complexity by asking for specific points, for example “what are the factors that influence…?” and the student will have to list one factor; or by making it a time challenge, in which students have less than 30 seconds to answer. It is important to ensure that the students understand that this is conducted purely as a learning activity and that wrong answers are not penalized.

6. Tag Team Challenge: Divide the class into different teams and instruct them to number each member of their team. Each team must send the respective member for the numbered activity i.e. teammate 1 has to engage in activity 1 and so on. At the end of the session, all the students will have had the opportunity to participate in the classroom.


While all these activities and strategies facilitate active student participation, they form only the tip of the iceberg. Teachers can use these methods to get the momentum going in the classroom, and change or modify them based on the responsiveness of the students. Regular use of fun activities  can make students more responsive and active in the classroom.

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