Student Participation Tips: How many high fives have you given today?

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ESL Tate
I have been an ESL Teacher for more than 15 years and a Teacher trainer for the last three. Now I help new teachers start their journey traveling and teaching English abroad.
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Increase student participation by giving them high fives!

student participation

Everyone knows that the little things go a long way. Not just for adults but especially for children. They love the attention, the recognition and the self-importance it adds to their day.


You want to maintain their attention, keep them having fun and excited about your class. If you give them a reason to keep learning in a positive learning environment they will want to continue to do so.

Kids more often than not just want to be acknowledged; they want to know someone is paying attention to them and is listening. And there are many ways to capitalize on this as a Teacher.

This is one of the main themes I focus on when I teach the Teacher’s workshop on Wednesday mornings. And you don’t even have to do too much to get kids excited.

Good to Read: Helpful ESL Activity: 19 Alphabet Riddles For Your Students

Little things matter

Have you noticed that when trying to get students to read they refuse, act scared or shy? If your students are like mine then you know what I mean. When it comes student participation, it’s only about 60% of the class although they would gladly speak to you outside of class alone. How do you counter this and get them participating? This is something I didn’t know would work but try anyway.

I got a 100% student participation right now.

Clapping for the reader

Whenever a student would read, I would get the rest of the class to clap for them. It doesn’t matter how much they struggle through the reading. Now I got students begging to read in class. They even go as far as helping each other pronounce words I have praised them for pronouncing well.

Peer teaching makes your job easier 🙂 And all it takes to get that kind of environment is a little recognition on the part of the Teacher.

Give some high fives

Every class I give several high fives. The students love them. I give ‘great job’ stamps with my signature on them and they love these even more. These little things stimulate their interest in English because they see the successes that they have made no matter how small.

Their attitude towards learning and studying not just English but other subjects since I have shared these student participation tips with my colleagues has changed. And my Co-Teacher says they work for her classes too. So give them a go and see what happens.

Good luck


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