Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Engaging Students in the Year 2010

Students have a wide array of tools at the fingertips in the year 2010 and we may think that it is difficult to compete for their attention in the classroom. So how can teachers engage their students in the year 2010? The second target area in the H.E.A.T./H.E.A.R.T. process is Engaging Students. This represents the level in which students are actively involved in the learning process. Are they merely reporting back distilled information to the teacher or are they involved in identifying a problem and finding a solution that possesses both personal and social importance. Engaging the learner extends beyond simple compliant behavior, but moves the learner toward active involvement in the classroom. Students generating their own essential questions relating to the content is one measuring stick used to determine the amount of engagement in a classroom.

Luckily, there are also a wide array of tools for teachers at their fingertips to help engage students. Outlined below are commendations and recommendations focusing on the second target area of H.E.A.T./H.E.A.R.T.: Engaging Students

Engaging Students Commendations
As always you want to start off on a positive note so identifying specific strategies that the teacher used is very useful and mention specific students that you noticed that were engaged. Be thinking about passive versus active engagement. Are students just being attentive and well behaved or are they actively engaged in the activity? Are there examples you can provide of students asking questions? Is there a focus type of activity? It is also helpful in a post-conference to ask the teacher to summarize the level of engagement of the students.

Engaging Students Recommendations

One of the simplest things to remind teachers is location, location, location. Where are they in the room? Are they standing in the front of the room continually delivering information to the whole class at once or are they moving around constantly, facilitating learning, asking questions and providing guidance to students? This provides a good measure of the level of engagement in the room. Additionally, a warm-up or focus activity usually at the start of the lesson is an effective strategy for engaging students. These activities are meant to capture the students' interest and attention for what is to come. A short video clip or image is a great way to launch a lesson. Some great examples of focus activities follow:

Elevating student engagement in the classroom will certainly attribute to student success in 2010!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Chris,

    I learned about you blog from a Google Alert on "student engagement". It looks like you're doing a lot with educational leaders, teachers, and mentors.

    I've identified several other leadership layers of engagement--12 in all--and I'm sending you a list. I'm collecting ideas from all of them.

    I would love you have you and your followers visit my blog (http:// and become a regular contributor to the Active Engagement Movement.




    A. Student Leaders: All Students. In particular upper class students, high profile student athletes, honor students, and those in student government (SGA) positions.

    B. Educational Leaders: School Superintendents, School Principals and Asst.

    C. Instructional Design Leaders: Instructional Designers.

    D. Classroom Teacher Leaders: Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Substitute Teachers Student Teachers, and invited guest speakers.

    E. Extracurricular Activity Leaders: Coaches, Faculty Advisors, Tutors, Mentors, Pre
    School/After School Program Directors and staff.

    F. Support Staff Leaders: Office Staff, Social Workers, Counselors, Officers, School Nurses.

    G. Academic Community Leaders: Colleges of Education Faculty, Educational Organization and Association Members (NAE, AECT), Educational Research Institute/Center Staff (AERA).

    H. Parent Leaders: Parents and Guardians.

    I. Labor/Management Leaders: Prominent Business Owners, Labor and Management Executives who feature education as a corporate respon-sibility agenda item.

    J. Philanthropist Leaders: Foundations, Institutes, Philanthropic Individuals and Anonymous Donors.

    K. Other Vested Interest Leaders: Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA’s), Community Groups, Civic Organizations, Chambers of Commerce, and the Media.

    L. Policy Making Leaders: School Board Members, State and Local Elected Officials, Political Action Committees (PAC’s), U.S.
    Secretary of Education, U.S. Congress, the President of the United States.

    Each leadership individual in each leadership layer will be guided by a strategic active engagement Mission, Vision, and Value Statement. They will also need to develop an understanding of Structure, Process, and Culture that need to be created to define an active engagement environment. The mission dictates the structure, the vision drives the process, and the values define the culture.

    For example: The mission of an actively engaged student is to practice active engagement. Their vision is to adopt active engagement as a personal lifestyle. Their values statement is to believe in active engagement as a path to reach their full potential.

    Leaders in each group will be responsible for creating an active engagement environment in which everyone is expected to perform at every layer.