Saint Ignatius High School

Whiteboarding as a Strategy for Student Engagement

Written by Brandon Foster from the Science Department

This post is part of the Center for Ignatian Pedagogy's quarterly blog "Perspectives from the Classroom" featuring innovative, creative, and inspiring perspectives on teaching and learning from our exceptional faculty and staff.

Whiteboarding as a Strategy for Student Engagement

I utilize a variety of strategies in the classroom to keep students engaged. Their focus and attention seems to be changing as quickly as they can be seen scrolling from one TikTok to the next. Also, when considering our longer, 70-minute periods, I use a few “go-to” strategies to support student engagement. One such strategy is whiteboarding. 

I made about 20 whiteboards measuring 3 ft. x 3 ft. for my classroom. I frequently have students use whiteboards when reviewing a homework assignment or when comparing data from a lab. I ask students, either individually or more often in pairs, to show their work for a problem on a whiteboard. The whiteboards are then placed at the front of the room for all students to review (usually one-by-one unless two students were asked to do the same problem). They are asked to compare the work on the whiteboard to their own work. I facilitate any questions students have as they compare results and will ask students to explain the work on the whiteboards. This process is continued until we go through all homework problems. 

The process of whiteboarding continuously moves students through different forms of engagement. Peer discussions of the content are facilitated as students work together to show their work on the whiteboard. Also, students are continuously reflecting on their work as they view each whiteboard. Generally, students ask questions to those who wrote the work on the whiteboard and I facilitate answers as needed. This helps address common misconceptions students have as a class while giving students more agency in describing the answers themselves. 

This is one research-based strategy resulting in higher student engagement. Students reflect on their own work while evaluating the work of others in an experience that encapsulates IPP.