How do you know when students are truly engaged? How do you know when a school community is truly engaged? Partly you “just know” intuitively. When I walk into classrooms it’s pretty evident when students are truly engaged. Leaning in, asking questions, participating, excited, lost in the dialogue and the give and take of the moments. It’s always pretty clear. There’s a sense of purposefulness to what is happening. The art of teaching is truly evident when a teacher orchestrates those moments of full engagement. It’s really special to see, and more importantly, to feel. Engagement is felt. To the contrary, boredom and non-engagement can also be felt. And it’s deadly. I’m lucky. I have many opportunities to visit classrooms. Students at LCS are most often engaged. Sometimes the engagement is about compliance but many times it’s engagement with enthusiasm, with a sense of purpose and excitement. This is high level and with strong meaning. I was watching Grade 11 student presentations the other day in a Global Politics class. They were so knowledgeable, articulate, and confident in their presentations. I was impressed, and the audience of students were equally impressed. It was purposeful and challenging.
But what is the link between engagement and learning? There is some ambiguity around engagement. Students can look completely engaged but is the task really worthy of the intense engagement? Are students merely complying? Continue reading