Teaching in a workshop is an art form in itself. The best teachers are capable of grabbing the attention, making people laugh, helping them understand a complex subject, and most importantly, inspiring their students. Getting your students to engage requires practice and experience, but a few original ideas can save you time in your own learning to teach. Start with these 6 original ideas to make your workshops more fun.
- Throw your standard presentation in the bin
- Change the room layout
- Use props
- Suggest games
- Play some music
- Reward with prizes
1. Throw your standard presentation in the bin
People all learn in different ways. Some have a rather visual memory and therefore prefer images, videos or charts, while others are more receptive to speech and writing, music, logic, or even physical activities.
When conducting your workshops, try to combine a traditional oral teaching method with new methods: audiovisual presentations, interactive games, group work, etc. This will create a fun and inclusive learning environment.
For example, you can start your workshop with a quick PowerPoint presentation and then follow it up with a recent podcast clip. Later, ask your students to write a short comic book about what they have learned and present it to the rest of the group.
2. Change the room layout
The rooms where workshops are held are often arranged in the same way: with tables in a line and chairs around them. Question this and surprise your students by, for example, using footstools or, alternatively, high tables and, above all, by leaving space to move around and circulate. Movement encourages motivation and reflection.
The choice of location also has an impact on the level of engagement of your attendees. A bright, colourful space made of beautiful materials will be more inspiring than a meeting room with white walls and no windows.
3. Use props
Props can make your teaching more compelling and engaging for your audience. They can be used to represent the subject matter of your workshop or make a mockery of your theme to alleviate the drama. Even though their use may make you look slightly ridiculous, the more you use them, the more effective – and memorable – the content of your lesson will be.
Your workshop may well have a serious theme, but people learn best when they have fun.
4. Suggest games
Need to hold the attention of your audience? Appeal to their competitive spirit. Puzzles, riddles, crossword puzzles, or memory games are all good ways to keep your attendees captivated and focused on a goal. Set a time limit to liven things up.
Run a quiz at the end of each important part of your workshop. This will allow you to see who has memorised what, reward the best learners, and repeat the essential teachings.
5. Play some music
Music can set the pace of your workshop and energise your students before your session and during breaks. Play fast tempo music to wake them up, and turn down the tempo when it’s time to concentrate. For example, classical music can help participants concentrate when they have complex tasks or group work to do.
Bonus idea: Bring instruments and invite participants to play them between sessions. Not only will it be fun for them, but they will also be able to connect with each other.
6. Reward with prizes
Workshop students will be more motivated to learn if their efforts are acknowledged and rewarded. Give them a formal certificate first, and then consider rewards for each one. Special prizes can be given out: best progress, funniest student, best teammate, etc.
This will make them happier to talk about it to people around them. Flatter their pride!
Prepare to organise workshops that your participants won’t soon forget.
Teaching is more often about entertaining an audience than providing information and knowledge. Make your workshops fun, lively, varied and surprising so that your participants want to learn with you.
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