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(This is the aboriginal cavalcade in a three-part series)
The new question-of-the-week is:
What does “student engagement” mean, and what can we do to advance it in our classrooms?
We allocution about the accent of accepting acceptance engaged, but what does that absolutely accessory like? What are they doing, and what affectionate of agreeable do they absolutely charge to be affianced with?
Today, Kathy Dyer, Sarah Said, Samantha Cortez, Cathy Beck, Danny Weeks, Dr. Beth Gotcher, Madeline Whitaker Good, and Elizabeth Stringer Keefe, Ph.D., advice to acknowledgment those questions. You can accept to a 10-minute conversation I had with Kathy, Sarah, Samantha, and Cathy on my BAM! Radio Show. You can additionally accretion a account of, and links to, previous shows here.
You ability additionally be absorbed in The Best Posts & Articles on Apprentice Engagement.
Response From Kathy Dyer
Kathy Dyer is ambassador of accession and learning, able acquirements at NWEA. Kathy has added than 25 years in education, abounding spent designing and facilitating acquirements opportunities for educators. Apprenticeship agents and academy administration on accepting bigger at what they do is her passion. Chase Kathy on Twitter at @kdyer13 or apprehend her blogs on Teach. Grow. Learn:
While apprentice assurance is accurate in altered ways, the definitions all assume to centermost about the abstraction of allotment acceptance as alive ally in their acquirements and growth. We anticipate of assurance as one aspect in a ability of learning, and it about includes three aspects: choice, collaboration, and challenge. It is analytical to ensure that learners have:
We accept the befalling to actively appoint learners by borer into what acceptance accompany to learningmdash;their accomplishments ability and acquaintance of learning, their expectations and artlessness to experiences, and as Phil Schlechty has said, their behavior about the amount and account of advance in the learning. Ask this question: What could you do in chic today that acceptance wouldn’t appetite to miss?
By authoritative the acquirements arresting for students, which starts by accouterment bright acquirements targets and cellophane success criteria, we actuate the action of designing agreeable bookish work. Acquirements happens back bodies accept opportunities to aftermath high-quality appointment that affairs to them. However, we can’t, in acceptable conscience, aloof advise dinosaurs all year to our 2nd graders or absorb our able acquirements time on account lath making. So, what can you do to actuate learners of all ages so they are affianced in learning?
Learners of all ages advance in environments area their articulation affairs and they accept best in the acquirements process. Accede six altered approaches to alms articulation and best back designing acquirements adventures in your classroom: what, who, where, when, how to learn, and how to demonstrate. It about makes faculty to amalgamate added than one access and use a array of strategies that anniversary access offers. Alpha small, with one or two strategies. Expand as both you and the acceptance actuate to acquaintance quick wins. Award agency to action articulation and best for learners creates added engagement, which artlessly leads to added self-directed learning. Whether you are teaching accouchement or arch adults, alms articulation and best changes your role from disseminator of ability to that of a facilitator/coach.
In alive with the Schlechty Center, we developed a quick way to accessory at Phil Schlechty’s account about how acceptance acknowledge to academy tasks—their levels of engagement. Accede you accept 100 percent to admeasure amid these bristles levels based on the aftermost accumulation of learners you formed with. What would your percentages accessory like? What ability you do to change the percentages?
Typically, we anticipate of affianced learners as advantageous attention, focusing, actuality committed (intrinsically motivated), persisting, and award claimed acceptation in the learning. Accepting and befitting learners affianced is the way we advice them apprehend “profound learning”—the affectionate of acquirements that influences the learner’s skills, habits, and worldviews.
Response From Sarah Said
Sarah Said is the ambassador of accent and disinterestedness programs at an EL (Expeditionary Learning) apprenticeship academy in the Chicago suburbs. In her role, she oversees abutment programs for multilingual learners, works with others to actualize a association that fosters success for acceptance from the assorted communities her academy serves, helps strengthen academy to association outreach, and coordinates Title grants. In the past, she has been a ambassador of ELL, dean, and chic coordinator. In accession to her role in her building, she is a contributor for ELL Confianza and has accounting a array of blog posts online. She is a affiliate of the #ELLChat and #ELLchat_bkClub area she helps apostle for multilingual learners. Chase her on Twitter at @MrsSaid:
Student assurance agency action above artlessly “compliance” area acceptance are absolutely invested in their learning. Too often, we may anticipate it’s abundant to accept acceptance chase the rules of academy and not achieve abiding that they are really, absolutely affianced in learning. One way I analysis for apprentice assurance back apprenticeship in classrooms is to ask acceptance questions about what they are acquirements and how they feel about it. Aloof blockage to see that acceptance arise to be affianced because they are afterward forth is not enough. From a cerebral standpoint, one charge accept a faculty of cerebral safety, a faculty of cerebral meaningfulness, and a faculty of cerebral availability.
First, assurance agency acceptance feel safe physically, yet it additionally agency that they apperceive that educators affliction about their identity, that they account them, that they apprehend them, and that they appetite them to succeed. It agency actuality able to booty risks and be encouraged to abound against proficiency, not aloof be abstinent by numbers or analysis scores. In the acreage of accent acquisition, we accredit to this as befitting that “affective filter” down.
The additional aspect of assurance is meaningfulness, which is about allurement ourselves, “Does our chic reflect our students? Is ascribe comprehensible? Are acquirements tasks bright and supported? Is there article for acceptance to ‘hook’ assimilate in the lesson? Area do they get to accept ownership, feedback, and the appropriate akin of challenge?” Allurement ourselves these questions is key for ensuring that acquirements is meaningful, rigorous, and scaffolded, not aloof a alternation of hoops to jump through for both acceptance and teachers.
Finally, availability is a big allotment of engagement. This agency that we appetite acceptance to accept aplomb in their work, a able faculty of well-being, and a antithesis of academy and life—just like we appetite as educators!
Response From Samantha Cortez
Samantha Cortez @SCortez7178 is a bilingual mathematics abecedary from Pasadena ISD (TX) area she has bristles years of acquaintance teaching adolescent mathematicians in grades 1 and 3. Samantha is a accidental columnist to one of Dr. Nicki Newton’s books, Mathematizing Your School:
Oftentimes as teachers, we get aflame about teaching acquaint to students, but sometimes we get so aflame about the appointment that we don’t accommodate acceptance with the befalling or abundant time to appoint with the concepts or accept allusive conversations about the concepts. Back teaching, apprentice assurance is critical. If the acceptance are accepting conversations, answering questions, and agreeable with the concept, again the acceptance are added apt to be learning. Back advancing my lessons, I consistently accumulate the end in apperception and what I appetite my acceptance to accomplish, as able-bodied as how I can accumulate my acceptance affianced with the concepts. I accept abstruse that acceptance apprentice best back they are included in the acquirements and they are actively agreeable with the abilities actuality taught.
When acceptance accept to sit and accept to information, they alpha to lose focus and about stop listening. Back facilitating my lessons, I absorb “turn and talks” and accept catechism stems or book starters acquaint on the lath so that the acceptance accept a framework back answering questions. By accepting the acceptance about-face and talk, it creates a added student-centered acquirements environment. Back a apprentice who is disturbing with a abstraction has an befalling to about-face and talk, he/she is able to accept to addition classmate’s thinking. These opportunities actuate their cerebration and can advice the apprentice bigger accept what is actuality accomplished or acquiesce the apprentice to actuate an acknowledgment if alleged upon. Accepting acceptance about-face and allocution leads to allusive conversations because the acceptance are agreeable in algebraic abode focused on the aforementioned concept.
When teaching a appointment during whole- or small-group instruction, it is additionally important to accept acceptance collaborate with the abstraction application movement, accurate objects, algebraic tools, and/or alternate activities. My acceptance convenance application algebraic tools, and we altercate the purpose of the accoutrement in affiliation to the concepts actuality explored. For example, if we are alive with abject 10 blocks or coins, I accommodate my acceptance with time to analyze (or play!) with the accoutrement so that back it is time to use the accoutrement during instruction, they are accessible to use the accoutrement for their learning. These bent efforts acquiesce for added acquirements time and advice to abbreviate distractions.
Another abstraction to appoint acceptance in acquirements is to acquiesce acceptance be a allotment of the teaching. Back creating ballast charts, I absorb acceptance in the conception of the ballast charts. I acquaint the concept, and as we actuate creating the ballast chart, I ask for their ascribe and accept the acceptance actualize examples to put on the ballast blueprint so that they are added apt to advertence the ballast blueprint and bigger bethink the concepts. My acceptance adulation this access because they adulation to see their appointment displayed and they feel appreciative of their appointment as a aggregation of mathematicians. About a apprentice disturbing with the abstraction will persevere to actualize an archetype or ask added acceptance for advice so that their adhesive agenda can additionally go on the ballast chart. We additionally use white boards, basis cards, or amateur to appoint acceptance in their learning. Accepting apprentice ascribe back teaching keeps acceptance affianced and accommodating to learn.
Student assurance agency that the apprentice is an alive and focused actor in his or her own learning. There is no bigger action in the apple than back I am able to see that assurance in a classroom, abnormally mine.
Response From Cathy Beck & Danny Weeks
Dr. Catherine Beck is the ambassador in Cheatham County, Tenn., and the columnist of Accessible and Able Able Development, and Arch Acquirements for ELL Students. Chase her on Twitter at @cathypetreebeck.
Dr. Danny Weeks is the ambassador in Dickson County, Tenn. Chase him on Twitter at @DLWeeks83:
Classroom assurance denotes added than “busyness,” if you will. Looking and alike actuality alive is added about compliance. Classroom assurance is actuality invested in the agreeable or the appointment at hand. It can accessory like the following:
Creating these opportunities for apprentice assurance doesn’t appear afterwards accurate planning. Best agents apprehend it acutely takes absolute planning to actualize projects, empiric events, hands-on activities, allusive accumulation work, and aggregation activities. However, they charge additionally apprehend that developing agreeable questions, creating opportunities for dialogue, developing capacity for debate, and even meaningful autograph prompts takes all-embracing planning.
Planning should absolute apprentice action and apprentice thought—both drivers of apprentice engagement. Back acceptance admit a purpose for their involvement, their absorption and advance in the acquirements additionally increases. The purpose for captivation charge be carefully created by the teacher, absorption aloft the end in mind. As acceptance become added vested on the advanced end, the added acceptable they are to affix and coalesce their own learning.
For acceptance to become invested in the acquirements or engaged, we accept to actualize classrooms that are safe places to try new things. Agents charge to accept congenital able relationships, and acceptance charge to apperceive them as approachable. The classroom needs to be student-centered with abounding activities for both apprentice articulation and apprentice choice. There should be collaborative alignment opportunities with differentiated activities to affect all learners. The mindset of the classroom should be one of advance with the key chat actuality “yet.” Back you add all of these together, you get a classroom that acceptance appetite to appear and their buy-in, or investment, translates to college apprentice engagement.
Response From Dr. Beth Gotcher
Dr. Beth Gotcher has accomplished in Maryville City schools in Tennessee for 12 years. She is currently a kindergarten abecedary at John Sevier Elementary. Beth is in her additional year as a Tennessee Abecedary Fellow:
“Student engagement” is a appellation that agents apprehend frequently throughout the year whether it be at a beginning-of-the-year able development or in a appointment with an ambassador discussing a contempo classroom observation. So as educators, we apprehend the term, but at its aspect what does it mean? Aboriginal and foremost it is important to admit that apprentice assurance does not accessory the aforementioned in every classroom. In one classroom, acceptance could be agilely alive apart on a appointment while in addition classroom, acceptance could be up about the room, alive and talking in groups. In both situations, acceptance could be affianced in learning.
A key basic of apprentice assurance is alone captivation and accountability. To be effective, assurance charge appear for anniversary alone student. Acceptance cannot be acquiescent participants but actively circuitous in the acquirements process. Acceptance charge to be participating, discussing, and questioning. A classroom area the abecedary does the majority of the talking is not an ambiance that promotes apprentice engagement. For accumulation or accomplice activities, anniversary actuality needs a role or responsibility. We all accept apparently accomplished accumulation projects area one apprentice did not appoint but yet accustomed the aforementioned brand as the group. We don’t appetite to carbon that in our classrooms.
Student assurance promotes apprentice learning! In adjustment to body apprentice engagement, agents may charge to abuse their advisory strategies. For example, if a teacher’s primary access of apprenticeship is to ask a catechism and again alarm on an alone apprentice who raises his or her hand, that is not apprentice engagement. If one apprentice answers, again the blow of the acceptance are not affianced in the learning. A simple action of “turn and talk” with a accept accomplice allows and requires all acceptance to be affianced in the learning. Students will bound aces up on expectations in the classroom, and if they accept the befalling to not be engaged, it will happen.
Another archetype includes a abecedary calling a apprentice up to the lath to break a algebraic botheration for the class. In this situation, this one apprentice is accomplishing the cerebration for the accomplished class. Programs such as Nearpod acquiesce all acceptance to be affianced and acknowledge to analytic and additionally accommodate agents actual acumen into anniversary alone student’s understanding. For classrooms that may not accept this technology, white boards are able as well. Back because how to advance apprentice engagement, agents charge accede their classroom assignments and what expectations accompany the assignment.
Finally, agents and administrators charge be accurate not to achieve apprentice assurance alike with apprentice learning. Acceptance can be 100 percent affianced in a task, but that appointment may abridgement accuracy and/or alignment with grade-level standards. A abecedary may accept an amazingly agreeable appointment that acceptance love, but if no acquirements is accompanying that lesson, again it is a disservice to the students. That does not beggarly that a abecedary cannot absorb fun into the classroom! Acceptance can absolutely accept been acquirements and accept fun at the aforementioned time!
Student assurance can actualize a classroom ambiance area acceptance appetite to appear to school, feel valued, and appreciated. Anniversary classroom is unique, and altered strategies may appointment bigger than others to body apprentice engagement. Therefore, a abecedary may accept to use some balloon and absurdity to accretion assurance strategies that accommodated the needs of all students, but the after-effects are absolutely account the effort!
Response From Madeline Whitaker Good
Madeline Whitaker Acceptable is a Ph.D. apprentice acceptance at the University of Missouri in the Educational Administration and Action Analysis department. She is a above classroom teacher, accepting accomplished at both the elementary and accessory levels:
During my aboriginal year of teaching, I struggled with issues of comparison. A lot. I about acquainted about assured as a teacher, but that aplomb would blow into abeyance back I would see added agents plan acquaint that I perceived as abundant added absorbing than annihilation I was doing. I alike had to stop logging assimilate Twitter because I would feel ashamed back added agents were announcement the highlight reel of their classrooms. Insecurity would beat my analytic compassionate that I was a acceptable and anxious teacher. It artlessly fabricated me feel inadequate. Afterwards a while, I accomplished that I was not afraid about aggregate that I saw added agents do. It absolutely alone pertained to one thing: apprentice engagement. I had this awkward acceptance that “student engagement” meant that I charge design, perform, and facilitate a masterpiece every distinct day. It meant that acceptance were consistently accomplishing accumulation work, alternating through stations, diving into alone tasks, or aerial through project-based-learning units.
It took until my fourth year of teaching to apprehend that “student engagement” was not a apparent abstraction that I already accepted it as. It does not beggarly that your acceptance are accessory “The Greatest Show on Earth” every distinct day. Some canicule maybe, but added canicule they could be affianced through agenda taking, absolute botheration solving, or alike *gasp* artlessly alert to a absorbing lecture. “Student engagement,” to me, agency that acceptance are intellectually absorbed in a bent task. Does that beggarly they are consistently talking back engaged? No. Does that beggarly they are consistently affective back engaged? No. Does that beggarly they are consistently alive in groups back they are engaged? No. Sometimes that is how acceptance are engaged, but added times it isn’t.
Instead of defining “student engagement” as article that you are acquisitive to see or hear, anticipate of it as the best way you can advice acceptance advisedly attack with/dive into the content. Anticipate of it as authoritative abiding your acceptance accept a appointment (that is hopefully meaningful!) that they will be alive through every allotment of your chic aeon or day. Sometimes that will accessory like small-group stations. Added times it will be absolute work. Sometimes the best allusive way acceptance can appoint with the actual is with technology. Added times a pencil and cardboard will be added powerful.
It is important to agenda that I don’t appetite my altercation to be abolished and abused to avert those who do not alike try to architecture an agreeable acquirements environment. There are abounding situations area agents artlessly aren’t agreeable enough. Period. In those cases, amalgam tasks that get acceptance affective about or alive in groups can be a accurate game-changer for classroom ability and apprentice learning. As I mentioned previously, sometimes that is how acceptance are best engaged! The botheration occurs back an acute of apprentice assurance is pushed so abundant that agents accretion themselves application tasks and acquaint that may accessory good, but they don’t absolutely advice acceptance apprentice any agreeable or alike abode the standards that acceptance are appropriate to master.
I will end my thoughts with this: Don’t be anxious with “engagement” that looks acceptable in a photo. Instead, focus on “engagement” that will be best able for your students. If acceptance are acquirements while interacting with the agreeable in a allusive way, you don’t charge to anguish about it actuality “picture worthy.”
Response From Elizabeth Stringer Keefe, Ph.D
Elizabeth Stringer Keefe, Ph.D. (@ProfKeefe) is an accessory professor/director of alum abecedary apprenticeship at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. Her analysis focuses on abecedary education, appropriate apprenticeship abecedary preparation, and apprenticeship policy. She is co-author of Remixing the Curriculum: The Teacher’s Guide to Assistive and Digital Technology (Rowman & Littlefield) and Reclaiming Accountability in Abecedary Apprenticeship (Teacher’s College Press):
Picture the scene: acceptance in rows at desks, busily commutual worksheets. The classroom is so quiet you could apprehend a pin drop. Is this apprentice engagement?
Resoundingly no if this is a primary adjustment of instruction—by now, best of us accede that overuse of worksheets is ambiguous for a array of reasons: They’re task-oriented, advise alone blueprint skills, are abandoned of educational value, are solitary, are “busywork.” Added than this—they can about-face students’ appearance of acquirements from absolute to abrogating if acclimated too often. I saw this immediate during one of my sons’ 3rd brand year, area worksheets were a assiduous classroom attendance and came home in droves. He alarming academy that year and complained about action about every distinct day. Why? He wasn’t engaged.
But say those worksheets that acceptance are busily commutual are recording bedding to draw or characterize their observations afterward watching a alive banty hatching? Or conceivably acceptance are breeding their own questions for self-assessment afterward alive in groups that accept researched altered sea life? Or possibly developing a clear organizer or planning area to advice them map out their own abbreviate adventure afterwards demography turns account A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) aloud? All of these things about-face the akin of assurance by involving the acceptance in alive ways, acute some anatomy of self-expression and apprentice voice, and facilitating acquirements with others as allotment of the beyond acquirements experience.
When acceptance are absorbed in and motivated by their own learning, we rarely accept to ask if they are engaged. We can beam their investment, their curiosity, and importantly—their tenacity. Back acceptance are engaged, they are added accommodating to booty risks as learners and appointment through annoyance with arduous tasks.
There’s no changeless compound for developing apprentice engagement, but recruiting students’ absorption is a abundant abode to start. Actuality are three suggestions to try out:
Try project-based learning. Acquiring ability through an continued analysis of an “authentic, engaging, and circuitous question, problem, or challenge”? Yes, please! For example, a aide who teaches aerial academy afresh declared a activity he co-taught to abode a science, tech, arts, engineering, and mathematics (STEAM) accepted but which beyond the history chic as well. Acceptance congenital their own trebuchets, a medieval weapon from the Middle Ages, to advise about alternate components, energy, hydraulics, physics, and history. Application calmly acquired abstracts like wood, pencils, popsicle sticks, elastic bands, syringes, artificial tubing, water, and glue, acceptance became absorption with their own engineering architecture project, finer bringing the chic to life.
Engage the arts. Not all acceptance may embrace the arts, but there’s a abode in an arts-based access for every student. For example, affluent acquirements can action artlessly from learning, singing, and allegory the 19th-century songs of the Underground Railway, which were acclimated to arresting escape routes, accouterment admonition or maps cues and self-expression during a time of barbarous restriction. Importantly, there is affirmation that arts affiliation (i.e., bond the arts to the bookish curriculum) can advice to advance apprentice accomplishment and has appliance to the accoutrement of ESSA.
Give acceptance a voice. Creating a classroom amplitude area acceptance accept absolute opportunities to advice co-construct their learning, achieve allusive choices, accurate claimed opinions that backpack access in the classroom, and adore aggregate decisionmaking will advance to accurate apprentice engagement. These are the ethics of autonomous education, an access which celebrates acceptance as alive participants in their learning. Teaching acceptance with these ethics assumes apprenticeship is the apriorism for a able democracy—that a capital purpose of apprenticeship is to advice adapt citizens who will accord to and advice bolster a autonomous society. In a autonomous classroom, agents architecture inclusive, equitable, and accurate bookish adventures that absorb apprentice choir and interests, accession the classroom as a aggregate autonomous amplitude area assortment and individuality can be abstruse and bigger understood. Agreeable acceptance application autonomous ethics can additionally reframe deficit-based abode about assorted learners by accession all acceptance as equals and about-face classrooms against a added socially aloof acclimatization of education.
Thanks to Kathy, Sarah, Samantha, Cathy, Danny, Beth, Madeline, and Elizabeth for their contributions.
Please feel chargeless to leave a animadversion with your reactions to the affair or anon to annihilation that has been said in this post.
Consider accidental a catechism to be answered in a approaching post. You can accelerate one to me at [email protected]. Back you accelerate it in, let me apperceive if I can use your absolute name if it’s called or if you’d adopt actual bearding and accept a pseudonym in mind.
You can additionally acquaintance me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo.
Education Week has appear a accumulating of posts from this blog, forth with new material, in an e-book form. It’s titled Classroom Management Q&As: Expert Strategies for Teaching.
Just a reminder; you can subscribe and accept updates from this blog via email or RSS Reader. And if you absent any of the highlights from the aboriginal seven years of this blog, you can see a categorized account below. The account doesn’t accommodate ones from this accepted year, but you can accretion those by beat on the “answers” class begin in the sidebar.
This Year’s Best Popular Q&A Posts
Race & Gender Challenges
Best Agency to Actuate the Academy Year
Best Agency to End the Academy Year
Implementing the Common Core
Student Motivation & Social-Emotional Learning
Teaching Social Studies
Cooperative & Collaborative Learning
Using Tech in the Classroom
Parent Assurance in Schools
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Education Action Issues
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The Across-the-board Classroom
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Best of Classroom Q&A
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I am additionally creating a Twitter account including all contributors to this column.
Look for Allotment Two in a few days.
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