The 12 Best Student Engagement Strategies to Ignite Learning in 2021

How to Increase Student Engagement — The Guide

  • Why do Student Engagement Strategies Matter?
  • 4 Easy Wins
  • 4 Long Plays
  • 4 for Online Learning

Why do Student Engagement Strategies Matter?

  • 53% of American students are not-engaged or actively disengaged in lessons. (Gallup)
  • By the end of the 2020 academic year, 1.3 million American students had stopped engaging because of the switch to distanced learning. (Remind)
  • Engaged students are 2.5x more likely to conclude that they get excellent grades in school. (Gallup)

Student Engagement Strategies — 4 Easy Wins

#1 — Use Student Opinions

  • The question is all about them.
  • Students can instantly see how their opinion stacks up with others’ around them.
  • You, as a teacher, can learn about aspects of your students that you didn’t know before.

#2 — Get ’em Talking

#3 — Breed Competition with a Quiz

  • Keep it to around 10 questions — Let your students get into it, but don’t let them tire of it.
  • Mix the difficulty — Keep everyone on their toes.
  • Use technology — In personal experience, pen and paper quizzes are hard to manage with a big class. Try running your quiz on professional edtech software.

#4 — Set up Q&A Checkpoints

  • They’re anonymous — Students can remain nameless and ask anything without fear.
  • They’re detailed — Students have time to thoughtfully lay out what they don’t understand.
  • They’re organised — All answers are written, can be sorted into different categories and remain permanent.

Ignite real learning.

Student Engagement Strategies — 4 Long Plays

#5 — Let them Teach it

  • Do it gradually. There’s a reason this is a ‘long play’ student engagement strategy. Students need time and practice to teach anything, even to a small group. Space out the practice time throughout the year.
  • Keep it timed. Give them a brief time slot to teach, so as not to overwhelm them. When they’re teaching, keep an eye on the clock so that they understand that time is a crucial factor in teaching.
  • Raise your expectations. Students are often capable of way more than we give them credit for. Give them a challenge and watch them meet it.

#6 — Mix up your Style

  • Illustrating concepts, taking notes, watching videos, playing quizzes — (Visual)
  • Listening to podcasts, having discussions, reading aloud, creating music — (Auditory)
  • Doing experiments, creating something physical, roleplay, moving around the classroom — (Kinaesthetic)

#7 — Make it Relevant

#8 — Give them a Choice

  • Activities — Provide a bunch of activities as an exercise, then let students choose.
  • Structure — Lay out the structure of the lesson and let them choose how they want to proceed.
  • Decor — Let them have a say on the layout of the classroom.

Student Engagement Strategies — 4 for Online Learning

#9 — Embrace the Technology

  1. Canva 🖌️
    An easy way to create images, posters, brochures, pamphlets etc. Canva has a huge library of templates and premade elements to build on.
  2. Miro 🗒️
    A communal whiteboard that students can use to brainstorm, illustrate thinking processes and design solutions with each other at the same time.
  3. FlipGrid 📹
    A video platform where teachers can pose questions and receive video responses from students.
  4. AhaSlides 📊
    An interactive presentation maker that allows students to host a topic and create live polls, quizzes and thought sessions about it.

#10 — Flip the Script

  • In class, students can participate at their own pace. Lower and higher ability students can concentrate on tasks at the right level for them.
  • More autonomy and freedom of ownership of their studies puts students in control — a hugely motivating factor.
  • Flipped learning gives students something to do, rather than treating them as passive ingesters of information. This sets your lessons apart from other standard lessons throughout the school day and encourages students to get involved.
  1. Before the lesson: Create a shared folder of topic material for students (videos, podcasts, taped lectures, reading resources, etc.) and tell them to progress through each material.
  2. At the start of the lesson: Give students a quick quiz to gauge understanding of the topic, then group each student by their level of understanding.
  3. During the lesson: Present each group with stimulating activities (discussions, collaborations, problem solving) in order to consolidate understanding.

#11 — Take a Gallery Walk

  • It increases student motivation through their inherent sense of competition.
  • It increases student focus as they’re viewing works from their peers, rather than someone unrelated to them.
  • It increases student freedom of expression, which is always a positive for motivation.

#12 — Never Forsake Group Work

  • Give them access to file sharing software, like Google Drive.
  • Give them access to kanban board (task assigning) software, such as Trello.
  • Use ‘breakout rooms’ on Zoom and other video calling software to simulate real-world group work.
  • Break large projects into multiple small tasks to be completed in groups.

Get hands raised in every lesson.




AhaSlides, the online interactive presentation tool created to turn you — the speaker — into the real star on stage. Website:

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AhaSlides, the online interactive presentation tool created to turn you — the speaker — into the real star on stage. Website:

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