Students enjoy learning from fun lessons. Tutors enjoy delivering fun lessons. Fun lessons can make students love, and care about their own education. So why don’t more tutors deliver them?
There seems to be some sort of stigma towards making lessons entertaining – an idea that they’re somehow not as valuable as serious more traditional classes. That idea couldn’t be further from the truth.
Studies have shown that students can actually learn better, when they’re having fun.
There’s a world of ideas and resources out there. Here are just a few that will make your next class as entertaining as it is memorable:
1. Include a variety of activities
Having a veritable smorgasbord of activities is key to an engaging lesson. No matter how effective one exercise is, if you repeat it into oblivion, it’ll eventually start to drag.
Every learner is different, and what works well for one person may be less effective with another. By having a variety of exercises, you’ll be giving your student a chance to learn the subject you’re teaching in new and different ways.
2. Use technology
Almost all of modern entertainment is intrinsically linked to technology. Think about games consoles, televisions, laptops…the internet!
By incorporating technology into your lessons, you’ll be giving students something that they’re already very comfortable with and, more importantly, something that they normally associate with free time and fun.
If you’re stuck for ideas, try:
- Educational apps, like Kahoot.
- Watching YouTube videos.
- Using smartphones for things like video projects.
3. Change the pace
Lessons need to have an ebb and flow. A class that moves at a snail’s pace will have both you and your student snoring within the hour. Likewise, if a lesson is relentlessly fast and furious, things will become too hectic and spiral out of control.
A fun, change of pace activity is one that comes right after a slower, more drawn out one (a long reading, or writing, for example). It could be a quick-fire question round, a short board game, or a Kahoot.
4. Personalise the lessons
No one lesson fits all. As a one to one tutor, you have the unique luxury of being able to tailor your classes so that they’re exactly what your student will enjoy, and engage with.
If they’re a bookworm, try to base it around their favourite book. If they’re the sporty type, try to incorporate their favourite team or sport-star into the plan.
Not only will they find it easier to engage with the subject you’re teaching, they’ll also see how the things that they are studying relate to the real world.
In your first few lessons, why not give them a quick questionnaire to fill out, to get an idea about some of their hobbies and interests.
5. Use humour
Think about your own teachers. Most of your favourite ones, the ones that you felt you learned a lot from, made you laugh, right?
There’s a reason why you remember them so well. The psychological effect of humour actually boosts a student’s retention, and can help them learn more!
I’m not saying that you need to prepare a list of jokes to crack every lesson, but always leave the door open for you and your student to have a laugh together, if something tickles you.
As well as making your classes enjoyable and more effective, lessons full of laughter will create a stronger teacher-student bond.
6. Use quizzes when you review
When it comes to reviewing, quizzes are an absolute godsend. They’re simple, fun and can be adapted for every subject.
Not only are quizzes enjoyable, they also show the student that they’re learning, which motivates them to learn more!
7. Competitive incentives
You can bet your bottom dollar that most of your students will love a little healthy competition.
Unlike in a normal classroom, you won’t have a number of students competing with one another, so, instead, you can put your students in competition with themselves!
Every time you do an activity that can be graded in some way, make a note of it. The next time they do a similar activity, or cover the same work, remind them of what they got last time and challenge them to set a new personal best.
If your student has even the smallest competitive streak, any activity can be brought to life with the opportunity to some way ‘win’ at it.
8. Use ‘warmers’ and ‘coolers’
Warmers and coolers are incredibly simple to implement into your lessons and are proven to work.
A warmer is a fun, engaging activity at the very start of the lesson that immediately engages your student and establishes a positive tone from minute one.
A cooler is – you guessed it – an enjoyable final activity that rewards your student for their hard work, and makes them leave the lesson with a smile on their face.
Warmers and coolers include:
- Quick-fire quizzes
- Classic games like scattergories
- Word searches
- …and just about anything else you think your students will love!
9. Get up and about
Many children and teenagers (and, in fact, many adults!) can find it difficult to sit and study for long periods of time.
If you think about it, they really don’t need to.
If you’re doing a typical question and answer activity, why not hide the answers around the classroom and getting your student to find them in a treasure hunt activity?
If you’re doing a reading, how about cutting a photocopy of the text up, and sticking it around the walls so that the student has to move around to read them?
Physical activities can help some students learn better, and they’ll appreciate the chance to be free from their chairs for a little while.
Also, putting a time limit on any activity that requires movement is an instant recipe for fun.
Tutors shouldn’t be occasionally deciding whether they want to make their lessons fun or not. Tutors should always be thinking of ways to make all their lessons fun!
A lesson that is boring and dull will undoubtedly be less effective than a class that a student enjoys.
Think about who your students are, as individuals, and what they will like. Then, by applying the steps above, you’ll be able to deliver classes that they’ll always remember.