Engaging My Students in the Classroom

I find it very hard to determine what my authentic teaching style is. To me teaching is a very dynamic experience, where I have to constantly adapt to the ever changing mood of the audience. For example, my lecture before a big “test week” requires a different type of engagement than as if it was just a normal week. I have to find new ways to engage the students in the topic that I am presenting, and be understanding that their success in other class is also a priority for me.

More interestingly enough, each one of the three sections that I teach have different characteristics. I may present a topic a certain way for my 9:00AM class, and everyone is active and engage. While presenting in the same manner for my 3:00PM class causes my students to become disengage. I have learned to read the aura of the classroom and present the materials in multiple ways in order to maximize student engagement.

The way that I deliver my information may vary from class to class, but my enthusiasm of delivering the content remains the same. I feel that the students can sense the passion in what I teach. Being excited and believing what you are teaching are extremely important because the students can feel that energy. In addition, I understand that not all of my students share my views. As long as they put in efforts to understand multiple perspectives they will do fine in my class. My objective as an instructor is to train my students to be active thinkers and are able to adapt to any situation necessary. Adaptability is a key trait that I want to teach my students because there are not many “best” methods of doing something. But there are a lot of different ways to accomplish the same task.

In addition, I do try to share as many practical experiences as I possibly can in my class. I feel that by relating the course materials to what I have experience in my life helps the students see the intricacy of the topic. By doing this, I hope that my students are able to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to the “real” world. I know throughout the undergraduate curriculum we only learn to get the “A”. However, what differentiates an “A” student from and exceptional student is the ability to utilize and adapt the knowledge that they have gain to solve new problems. By showing my students how I have adapted my course material to my life experiences, I hope that they can do that too with all of the classes that they are taking.


3 thoughts on “Engaging My Students in the Classroom

  1. Sharing practical experience and real world examples were always something that I enjoyed and appreciated, especially as an undergraduate engineering student. These examples are what made the material real to me. We could talk about slope stability all day long in geotechnical engineering, but until we started talking about failures of hillsides and dams and the consequences of bad design it just seemed like a bunch of gobbledygook to me.

    As an instructor having the ability to adapt to the ebb and flow of undergraduates is huge. They have so much going on, they’re stressed beyond belief with exams, papers, projects, and 9,000 other things it is so important to have an instructor that makes them feel like someone thinks that they are people.


  2. I really appreciate that you take the time to show them real world applications of what they are learning. I think that a number of students might not initially see the application of the things they learn in various classes, but having a concrete yet malleable idea to work from in understanding, applying, and creating can really make the material stick (sometimes).

    Out of curiosity, I see that you say you “train [your] students to be active thinkers and [who] are able to adapt to any situation necessary” (since I’m quoting it I made it fit my sentence usage with a few edits). Do you tell them that this is one of your outcomes for the semester? Some folks I know have similar outcomes, and some tell their students and some don’t.


  3. I think you are well on your way to finding your teaching voice, I mean you are already adapting lectures to best suite different sections. I too agree that excitement and passion can fuel students. I know when I was a student the professors that I had that were excited about what they were teaching were the best professors, regardless of how they taught the class. Lastly, real-world examples can be very useful. Sometimes it is these little things that help the lecture material stick. Plus, it helps reinforce the idea that what they are learning is actually useful.


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