Debra Purcell-Regis – Tips For Keeping Students Engaged

Posted: February 18, 2016 in Sports and Education

One of the biggest challenges that teachers face is keeping a classroom of students engaged in a topic for the duration of a lesson. This is an aspect of teaching that Debra Purcell-Regis always demonstrated an aptitude for during the course of her 25 years in the profession and she has the following tips to offer those who may be struggling.

Be Enthusiastic

One of the quickest ways to turn students off from a subject is to demonstrate a lack of enthusiasm for it. If your students see that you are getting bored, many of them are likely to take this as a cue to mean that the subject is unimportant. As such, you need to work on ways to deliver your lesson with passion and conviction, reinforcing the notion that what is being taught is important and demonstrating your enthusiasm for the subject matter at all times.

Real Life Connections

If you teach a subject like literature or history, it can often be hard to keep a student’s attention because they don’t believe what they are being taught relates to their lives in any way. As a teacher, it is your job to show the student why the subject is relevant to them. Try to stay up to date on current movies and other popular media, considering ways that you can relate your lessons to them while still teaching the core information related to your subject. If there is a direct example of how what you teach has helped you in the real world, make sure to use it.

Offer Choices

It is important that you remember that each student will have their own preferences when it comes to learning. Some enjoy reading a textbook, whereas others enjoy discussing the subject and listening to other ideas. This means that if you only focus on a single style of teaching, you are going to leave students who prefer other styles feeling disenfranchised or bored. Make sure that you offer plenty of choice and variety in your lessons, allowing students to work in the way that best suits them.


Debra Purcell-Regis notes that by making students more responsible for the outcome of your lessons, you will be better able to actively engage them. This means holding them accountable through the use of tests and quizzes or holding classroom discussion where the student must demonstrate their knowledge in front of people. Show your students that failure to make an effort will lead to consequences, be it in lower grades or embarrassment in front of the class when they are called upon to answer a question and their reply is of a poor standard. While you shouldn’t use accountability as a threat, make it clear that students are responsible for themselves as much as you are responsible for them when it comes to learning.


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