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26 Keys to Student Engagement

26 Keys to Student Engagement

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Published by Angela Maiers
Engagement Principles in Action
Engagement Principles in Action

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Published by: Angela Maiers on Sep 20, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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26 Keys to Student Engagement
by Angela Maiers
We hear it all the time, "Why do we need to know this stuff? Whenwill I ever use this?"
There is no doubt that successful learning is directly relatedto its relevance, purpose and authenticity. We are moremotivated to learnif wesee a clear connection to the purpose and use. If our desire is for students toengage, the work they do must be significant, valuable, and real.
: The brain is intimately involved in and connected with everythingeducators and students do at school. Any disconnect is a recipe for frustrationand potential disaster. Every school day changes the brain in some way. We caninfluence and ignite that change when weunderstand the way the brain learns,and act accordingly.
Collaborating with others in solving problems or masteringdifficult materials prepares students to deal with the messy, unscripted problemsthey will encounter in life. Students are valuable resources for one another. If they have opportunities to engage and explore topics, assignments, andcontentin a collaborative way, understanding and engagement are natural outcomes.
: Students are sometimes labeled as lazy, unmotivated, off-task,and disrespectful. These behaviors can and often are a direct result of disengagement. When learning involves wondering, dreaming, playing,interacting, communicating, exploring, discovering, questioning, investigating,creating - the disengaged become engaged.
ust as architects create the environments in which we live andwork, we teachers create the place and space that become home to learning.The decisions we make -- from the arrangement of furniture to the feelingstudents experience -- greatly influence conditions of learning.
: Feedback is a powerful force. It can be a stimulating motivator or asuffocating inhibitor.Feedback that is specific, non-threatening, and frequentchanges performance, attitude, and behaviors. So, the next time we say, "good job", we must follow that with, "...and here's why!"
: Learning is about the creation of meaning, value and action on thepart of the learner. Learning is not something you 'absorb', it is something youcreate for yourself - mentally or physically. Generative learning is theactiveprocess of process of linking, sharing, re-creating, and co-creating.Engagementcomes about when we encourage learners to construct and produce knowledgein meaningful ways by providing experiences and learning environments thatpromote active, collaborative learning.
You may have observed that the most successful individuals in lifeare not necessarily the ones who got the best grades in school. Successfulpeople learn to be successful becausethey develop specific attitudes andbehaviors to ensure their successin
aspects of life. We can teach studentsthe specific habits of preparedness, mindfulness, and persistence to use andapply when engaging in any task, challenging or otherwise.
: Einstein said it best: "Imagination is more important thanknowledge." Imagination is key in keeping students motivated to learn andteachers inspired to teach. It is the fuel or creative ideas and innovative thinking; yet it can not be mastered. It must be cultivated,nurtured, and celebrated as weremind our students of what Einstein so wisely demonstrated. Who are we tochallenge such genius?
: Children are learning machines and have untold hours of play and joy...until... they are "educated" - educated to behave otherwise. If we want a better class of thinkers and innovators --
people with explosive curiosity andcreativity, we need to bring FUN back into our classrooms
. We need gigglesand laughter, enthusiasm and excitement. School can become a placeremembered for the love of learning, if for no other reason than it feels joyous!
Kaizen is the
apanese term for "continuous improvement", a conceptwe should take to heart if we want students to achieve their personal andprofessional best. Small changes, if done every day,can make a big impact over time.
By creating an environment of Kaizen, reflection becomes part of the dailywork and conversations. Continuous improvement an only be achieved, withcontinuous reflection. Andwith continuous reflection, students will become moreand more engagedin their growth and learning.
Both learning to listen and listening to learn are critical to literacy inthe 21st century.Listening is a powerful and essential means of developing andmasteringboth old and new literacies. Listening is not only part of theengagement process, it's the first step. In any culture or community, listening firstwill earn the right to be listened to.
Motivation is essential to learningat all ages. Students have theprimary responsibility to own their own learning, yet we have asharedresponsibility in the task.The environments we foster, the cultures we contributeto, even the aura of a classroom, all make a difference.
: One of my mantras is
Students areconnected to friends and family outside the classroom;creating a network insidethe school makes sensetoo: schoolmates can become brain mates. With toolslike blogs, wikis, andYouthTwitter , networking in school can be as easy andengaging for them as doing it at home! In fact, there's reason not to do it.

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