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Top student engagement strategies for language teachers

Engagement begins well before the lesson starts. Good language teachers actually plan and put into action student engagement strategies when their students are still at home. Playing all your cards within the lesson itself is risky because it doesn’t give learners enough time for establishing a relationship with you (language teacher). Also, they don’t have enough time for deciding on trusting you and, eventually, for becoming available for learning. The main purpose is to get to know who your learners are, where they are in their journey and how you can serve them at best. In this article you’re going to learn what the top student engagement strategies are and how to implement them for boosting your students’ engagement in your language classes.


What you can find in this article:

  • What are student engagement strategies and why are they important?
  • Why should you implement pre-learning engagement strategies?
  • What are the top strategies for language teachers?
  • How can you implement those strategies in different educational settings?


Get ready with the list of strategies on hand. Download it now:


What are student engagement strategies and why are they important?

Student engagement strategies are actions you can take for getting your students engaged with your language lessons. For achieving that result, the key is to get clear on your students’ real learning needs. By spotlighting their needs and expectations, you get clear on the final outcome you want to get to. This is what we also know as “beginning with the end in mind” type-of approach.

In fact, collecting learners’ needs and expectations provides you with precious information about how your students will be evaluating the efficacy of your lessons:

  • Have the lessons helped me in achieving the results I reckon important for myself?
  • Has my teacher helped me to fill a skills gap?
  • Am I now able to use the target language in situations that are actually relevant for me?


Why should you implement pre-learning engagement strategies?

Because student engagement strategies help you to define your learners’ needs and expectations, the conversation between you and your students begins by putting them at the centre of the learning process. By all means, this approach facilitates the whole acquisition process. If you tried to do this on the same day the language course officially starts, it would be risky because on the same day you would be supposed to:

  • to collect your students’ needs and expectations
  • to get to know each other and to introduce yourself as their “guide”
  • to get them to like you and to trust you
  • to get them to acquire what you’ll be teaching them.


That may be too much. Why should you put yourself in trouble, when you could plan a completely different journey for yourself and your students? Let’s say, implementing pre-learning engagement strategies means starting the journey off on the right foot!

Furthermore, these strategies represent a clever way to anticipate and introduce the content you’ll be teaching in the course. As a consequence, by implementing the students engagement strategies you also give the learners the chance to become familiar with the content and to trigger questions in your students about the content, as well.


What are the top students engagement strategies for language teachers?

Firstly, I invite you to download the list below: it is a collection of 11 pre-course strategies you can implement in a variety of educational settings. The list comes with an explanation of each strategy as well as examples.


Here below is the complete list of strategies, but you’ll find more details on the Pdf for you to download:

  1. Needs analysis
  2. Invitations and sing-in materials
  3. Choose a theme
  4. Pre-reading assignments
  5. Self-assessment
  6. Piece of training
  7. Sharing reflections
  9. Visual organizers
  10. Metaphors
  11. Interviews



How can you implement those strategies in different educational settings?

The student engagement strategies can be implemented in a variety of educational settings: in school, in companies and corporate language training courses, in one off events, and so on.  Moreover, they are suitable for different types of learners (adults, young learners, children) regardless of their skills level, age or learning difficulties.


Wrapping up

In conclusion, the whole point is really to hear from your students before the learning experience officially begins. Remember: the dialogue with your students begins with them in the centre. Have fun getting creative with the strategies: on the Pdf you can find examples for inspiring you.

Want more support?


Join the Facebook group Independent Language Teachers Collective to get daily advice, tons of free training and to branch out with other independent language teachers like you!


Available only for the Collective members: free list 103 question for sparking engagement in your language lessons.

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28th July 2021
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