At the Engaging Minds blog, we’re always on the lookout for insights and strategies that will help you increase student engagement in your classroom.

In the webinar “Welcome to the Best Year Ever!: Teaching Secrets That’ll Make Students Say “Wow!,” Bridgett McGowen-Hawkins and Robert Onorato, both Senior Professional Educators with Cengage Learning’s TeamUP, describe a number of teaching strategies that you can apply in your classroom, from the first day through the final meeting. Watch the recording, and you’ll find a wealth of ideas and information that will inspire you and engage your students. We’re sharing just a few of our favorite takeaway tips below.

Smart Teaching Strategies from Cengage Learning’s TeamUP

  • Make a plan. Write a framework (or “script”) for each class session. Setting a structure and tone for the course not only helps you better manage your time, it also helps students know and understand your expectations.
  • Create a student-centered environment. Build connections with students; let them know that you, and your institution, are eager to support their success. Show interest in their interests. Be friendly and respectful towards them. Build engagement through icebreaker activities that allow you and the students to get to know one another. Even something as simple as learning students’ names can communicate that you are invested in their success in your classroom. The more they realize this, the more likely they’ll feel invested in the class.
  • Do the unexpected! Surprise students with a unique activity or example—even something as simple as pausing for a stretch break—and you’ll get their attention.
  • To create an engaging, active classroom, facilitate students’ learning. Make the class participatory, ensuring that students hear from one another, as well as you the instructor. Evoke emotion: strive to excite them about the topics you’re covering; this helps them make a connection between themselves and what they’re learning in class.
  • Communicate course content in manageable pieces. Pause your lecture on occasion to allow students to digest and understand the complex information you’re covering. In the presentation, Bridgett McGowen-Hawkins recommends taking ten to twelve minutes to share information, and give students three to five minutes to think through the information. One idea that allow students to process: take a “note break,” and encourage students to partner with a classmate to compare their notes on the information you’ve just presented.
  • Close class in a compelling way. Consider ending each class session with your most intriguing, attention-getting, or energizing example or activity. Students leave the class session on a “high note,” and their interest in attending the next session will be sparked.


View the webinar, “Welcome to the Best Year Ever!: Teaching Secrets That’ll Make Students Say ‘Wow!‘” and gather proven strategies for helping students feel more engaged and empowered in your courses. 

Want more? Explore everything that’s offered at the TeamUP Professional Development Portal! This innovative resource offers self-paced faculty development modules, a library of recorded TeamUP workshops, and live and recorded virtual sessions.


What do you to make students say “Wow!” in your classroom? Glean any great teaching strategies from the webinar that you plan to use in your course? Share them in the comments.