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Find Things They?re Interested In In one of my classes, I had a group of friends who are not interested in learning English. They would have preferred to escape to the skate park for the duration of the class period; instead, they got to sit through Mrs. Sorensen?s amazing English class! Although they weren?t the best students at first, I treated them the same as everyone else. I was interested in learning about them, in finding out what they loved to do. It wasn?t hard for me to discover that they loved skateboarding. So then, I started to ask them about it. When it was time for group work, I would check to see how they were coming along, and then I would inquire about their skateboarding, and how they liked the X-Games, etc. At the start of every lesson, I have a ?hook? to get the students engaged. It could be a story, a Youtube video, or a game, among other things. One day, I decided to have my hook be a skateboarding video, that I tied to a downward slope and momentum once you start down a certain path. It?s hard to stop without crashing or burning. But, there is always an upward slope. You can always change your path. I tied this into the book that we were currently starting. The students started to see me as a teacher who not only was interested in their learning, but in them as a person. Because they knew that I genuinely cared about them, they were more willing to participate in class than before. 2. Move Them to the Heart of the Class The heart of the class is usually at the center. The students who are the most engaged, and friendly towards one another tend to drift to the center of the room. If you have the center of the room engaged, the energy seems to flow outwards to the edge of your classes. You know the students who sit in the back corner, or who sit in the desks up against the walls or the windows. The stereotype is that they are just there to hopefully scrape by with a pass, while sleeping with their head against the wall. But that?s not always the case. Maybe they?re sitting back there because they don?t have any friends in the class, or because they are really shy and don?t want to be called in. They like to avert their eyes when you ask a question. One of my students, was a very pretty, and seemingly outgoing girl. She would come to class every day, turn in her work, and then listen to her music (I let my students use electronics when they have free time, or are completely done with their work for the day). She would sit next to a group of kids that she was definitely not friends with. So one day, for some group work, I decided to make a seating chart to put her in with some other girls in the class. Slowly, she started to sit nearer, and nearer to them, and then she started talking to them. Once she started talking to them, she felt more comfortable speaking in class. We got her put into the heart and soul of the class, and pretty soon, she began to exude that same heart and spirit.