It has been called many things. My previous school referred to it as the ‘starter’, others call it the ‘hook’ and my current school the ‘engage’. Interestingly our partner school in India refer to it as the ‘motivation’. Irrespective of the name, these beginnings of lessons refer to the time period provided to create in students a demand to learn the lesson’s content.
However better engages actually start before the lesson. When you encounter something you’ve heard about before it automatically generates interest and your enthusiasm for learning about it is greater. For example this week I was enticed into watching Channel 4’s Human Swarm because I’d heard something about those concepts before.
One of my students recently showed high levels of interest in learning about the terrorist attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics because he had previously encountered a ‘DVD about it’. Another recently told me about his interest in a TV documentary concerning Emily Davison because of what he learnt in class. This academic year my year 9 class seemed immediately enthralled in learning about the rise of Hitler but more had to be done to get them to this level when learning about the Suffragette movement. The reason for this is that they had just heard more about the former than the latter before encountering these topics in class.
This is another reason why the Flipped classroom is so important. If students encounter greater content before the lesson then they will be more engaged in learning about it in the lesson. The flipped classroom provides the initial engagement and level of interests necessary before the lesson so as to increase the demand for learning in the lesson.
How will you engage your students this week?