We’ve all heard the buzzwords flying around in education today, but one seems to be used more so than others: engagement. I’ve heard administrators and teachers alike say we need more of it, and I couldn’t agree more. But the question is, What is it exactly? What does it look like? How do I make it happen? This post is my attempt to put the clearest definition I can on the word, and what it means for classroom instruction.
What is Engagement?
The problem is, I’ve heard “engagement” used to describe something simple as students physically looking at the instructor, which is also supposed to imply that they are listening. I’ve heard “engagement” used to describe a classroom with high levels of activity or group work. These definitions merely try to demonstrate what engagement looks like. However, true engagement goes beyond that. Are students operating at the highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy? This is what cognitive engagement is. However, that can look differently in different classrooms.
What does it look like?
It could be a quiet classroom with students diligently working on their notebook or 1:1 device. It could be small group work. It could be an organized mess of a classroom with lots of activity. To an outside observer, the question should be, What are the students being asked to do? Evaluate? Analyze? Create? A combination of the three? If so, then students are engaged in any of the three above scenarios.
How do I make it happen in my classroom?
The video below goes into the details I mentioned above and provides some tips for moving students closer to real, authentic engagement.
The truth is, engagement is something that happens at the cognitive level. It’s what keeps kids absorbed in the learning process and ultimately loving school.
And isn’t that the goal of every teacher?