How to Get Students Who Sit in the Back Involved in Class


They’re in every classroom. Students who head to the back of the classroom with a plan to completely tune out until class is over. Why are they so reluctant to engage with the rest of the class? Are they bored, shy, confused, or something completely different? Regardless of their reason, there are ways teachers can encourage student participation, even in those children who would rather be anywhere but school.

Use Effort Tracker

Technology plays a big part in today’s classrooms. Effort Tracker is a web-based app that helps teachers encourage and equalize student participation, select students for positive reinforcement, and measure and report a student’s efforts in the classroom. Instead of the teacher having to choose who goes next, the program selects students and scores them according to their efforts. Best of all, parents and students are able to review scores instantly.

Effort Tracker eliminates the need to call on students, while trying to remember who has already been involved in today’s lesson. Teachers can simply enjoy the class and keep the conversation going.

Make Students Aware of What is Coming Up

Consider making students aware of what questions will be addressed the night before a discussion. This is ideal for students who are shy or have difficulty answering questions on the spur of the moment.

Draw Students Into the Conversation

Ask students if they agree or disagree with points others have previously made.  Encourage them to provide examples that contradict or support a point. If you call on a student and they do not have an answer, move on without calling unnecessary attention to their inability to answer.

Arrange Your Classroom Differently

If you really want students in the back to participate, eliminate the back of the classroom. For example, form your desks into a semicircle configuration. You may also want to have students form small groups with their desks and allow them periodically to discuss certain aspects of class among themselves.

Consider Assigned Seating

Although many teachers prefer to let students pick their own seats, there’s nothing wrong with shaking up the classroom by choosing to assign seats. This allows you to move those from the back of the class up toward the front, possibly encouraging their participation.

Get Creative and Fun

Incorporate fun activities into your otherwise boring subject material. For example, have students write out a play involving an event in history and have them act it out in front of others or develop some type of game to show off their math skills.

Include Participation in Their Overall Grade

If all else fails, you can always make student participation a percentage of the student’s overall grade. This can be as little as 5 to 10 percent or more, depending upon the age of the students and the subject matter being taught.

There are always going to be students who are not fond of participating in class. It’s important to notice these kids though because classroom interaction can be important for their learning development. Using the tips above and may be some one-on-one coaching, you may be able to get them to come out of their shell.


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