I am reading Eric Jensen’s latest book from ASCD, “Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind“, and am blown away by the research and strategies I’m finding. In even just the first few pages, he discusses how engagement always shows up as a vital achievement factor in most studies. It isn’t, however, always called “engagement”, that’s just the buzz word of the moment. He references a study by John Hattie where engagement was also found to be called “feedback”, “cooperative learning”, “project learning”, or any kind of “interactive teaching”.
Research shows that for every 2% disengagement rises, pass rates on high stakes tests drop by 1%(Valentine & Collins, 2011) via Mr. Jensen. We can’t afford to not care about engaging our students. We can’t continue to only worry about the material we need to teach, and not those lil’people we are teaching it too. School should be the BEST part of their day. If we can make that happen, attendance rates would soar.
Some of the pushback on providing lessons for students that are “engaging” is that we have a lot of content to impart, and not a lot of time in which to do it. “School is not about always being fun, Amber.” But when you think of those synonyms above…those are the kinds of activities that we SHOULD be seeing in our classrooms. That’s not rocket science! With such a national focus on having students graduate, and attending some form of higher education, we first must KEEP our students in schools. To keep them in school, we need to make it more engaging. Students do not just magically become more interested, we have to do our part to make that happen!
What can you do to make your class more engaging these week? Not more entertaining, but more engaging. Whatever it is, know that it will be worth it.