What is student engagement?
It can be challenging to define student engagement. Although the term has been used widely since the early 90s, the definitions of student engagement vary from one time to another.
Some students describe student involvement as “the interest and enthusiasm of the individual for the school that influences his academic achievements and behavior.”
A better definition
A more specific definition of student involvement is provided in the Glossary of Education Reform, describing the level of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, the passion that students have when they learn or are taught that goes beyond the level of motivation that they need to learn and progress in their education.
Moreover, our understanding of the students’ involvement continues to evolve as the world of education develops. We can learn more about the new facets of the student experience in today’s learning landscape, where training occurs in the classroom, online, and through myriad hybrid arrangements.
Modern days students
Learn how after this one-in-a-lifetime pandemic which we’ve all experienced, teachers will have the responsibility to not only teach, they now have to use tactical methods to engage students sent home to learn remotely or in hybrid classrooms. Read about the strategies to boost student engagement and different and creative ways and methods to get students to perform well, enjoy school, and work hard.
Five strategies to boost student engagement that teachers will be using are:
Commit to educational equality.
Regardless of your child’s age, they are probably aware of the unrest in the world over the past year and a half. However, not understanding makes the turmoil all the more confusing to them.
Therefore, ensuring students early in the school year that everyone in your class will get treated equitably will ease many tensions. Let them know that in your classroom, race, gender, family income, cultural background, religious affiliation, or disability does not matter – everyone will be treated fairly and have equal access to all resources available.
In addition, if you have students who show a need for additional resources or appear withdrawn, display high emotions, or disrupt class, equity includes seeking out help for them.
Build a strong relationship with your students
Building relationships with students is one of the best and easiest ways to boost student engagement. Some easy ways to build relationships are:
- Allow students to show and tell, regardless of age or grade. Show and tell help teachers to build rapport and understand something personal about the students without being invasive.
- Learning students’ names quickly and pronouncing them correctly lets students know that they are essential. If they have nicknames that they prefer, learn their nicknames.
- Post their work and accomplishments around the classroom. Posting their work encourages them to perform their best and are excited to have their work displayed.
- Assign seats and change them often so that students don’t fall into cliques with those around them. Again, this encourages engagement with all of their classmates.
- Listen and connect to what they talk about, even if it isn’t about classroom lessons.
Connect with students families
Do the work to find out about your students’ home life situations. Find out who their caregivers are and build a relationship with them as well. Students who know that their teachers connect or associate with their families are more eager to engage in the classroom.
In addition to boosting student engagement, students learn that if something is happening that they aren’t comfortable discussing with their family, their teacher connects and will contact the family to get to the bottom of the issue. Building a connection with a student’s family is also building trust.
Nurture students mindsets
Building confident and engaging students means nurturing their mindsets. That means not only teaching them, it means encouraging, challenging, and telling them how resilient they are every day. Students crave validation and will perform better for someone who nurtures their mindsets. The proof will be in their changes in performance for teachers who nurture mindsets. The power of your words to students is like food to their souls. Do this by:
- Praising their efforts.
- Show them how to embrace their missteps and failures.
- Encourage them to discuss subject matters deeper.
- Teach them that their brains work like a muscle; repeated practice works.
- Discourage students from negative self-talk.
- Show them that they don’t have to accept the status quo.
Prepare them for the future
Students won’t always be young, nor will they remain students forever. However, enabling them to discover ways to go beyond the surface and make sense of complex issues is a skill they will take forever. Giving students access to learning activities and tools like the python maze game will help students understand and build their sense of agency.
In addition to teaching, boosting engagement in students will be an increasingly complicated task for teachers this coming school year. They will have to incorporate different and creative ways to get students to perform well, enjoy school, and work hard. Some of those strategies are committing to classroom equity, building a solid relationship with their students, connecting with the students’ families, nurturing the student’s mindsets, and preparing students for the future.