Thoughts on Engagement

1

February 4, 2013 by sz

engagementOur next session of rounds will focus on student engagement which is always a key element of instruction. How does one authentically engage a student? What conditions are necessary to encourage student engagement. Obviously, there is not one, two, or even several answers. The conditions are myriad.

During our observations we should be looking for strategies and conditions that encourage engagement, but first we’ll have to agree upon some common ideas of what engagement looks like. I hope the following articles will help us in our conversations.

WHAT IS ENGAGEMENT?

  • First, an interesting study in student engagement. A recent Gallup poll strongly suggests that the longer students stay in school, the less engaged they become. Only 44% of high school students are engaged. Scroll down to the comments to see their criteria for engagement. Some of them include teachers who make students feel as if their school work is important and opportunities to do what students do best every day. http://thegallupblog.gallup.com/2013/01/the-school-cliff-student-engagement.html?m=1
  • The National Survey of Student Engagement surveys college students about their engagement at school. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college. The survey has identified five main areas that are powerful contributors to learning and personal development. They are similar to the Gallup criteria, but more details are included. Benchmarks of Effective Educational Practice – NSSE

HOW TO TELL WHEN STUDENTS ARE ENGAGED

  • I borrowed Ben Johnson’s engagement criteria for the observation rubric. He divides what engaged students look like between the two learning modes: teacher-directed learning and student-directed learning. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/student-engagement-definition-ben-johnson
  • This middle school teacher asked her students what they think engaged means. And guess what? They have a great sense for what it means to be engaged. For example, one student said “”I like to explore beyond the range of what normal textbooks allow us to do through hands-on techniques.” And another, “I think having freedom in assignments, project directions, and more choices would engage students…More variety = more space for creativity.” http://www.edutopia.org/blog/student-engagement-stories-heather-wolpert-gawron

TIPS ON KEEPING STUDENTS ENGAGED

POSSIBLE FORMS TO USE FOR OBSERVATIONS ON ENGAGEMENT

Also, please review these two forms I found and adjusted to use in our observations. I’d love to get your feedback and suggestions on which ones to use and how we can improve these.

Effectively Structuring Student Engagement

Meaningful, Engaged Learning

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