By: Kristen Kruk, Manager, Professional Development Content
“Engaged students are curious, interested, and excited by challenges.”
Student engagement is the psychological investment in learning. It is a pervasive feeling in a classroom and a state of being that has the ability to create a buy-in from students. It not only changes the level at which students learn, but the way they feel about that learning.
Engagement takes the students’ perspectives into consideration. Not only does it take into account what students are doing, but it encompasses what they are thinking and how they feel. Engaged students display several key attributes: persistence, involvement, intrinsic motivation, and enjoyment. Emotionally engaged students demonstrate a sense of enjoyment for and belongingness to school.
Developing Emotional Engagement
Teachers have the opportunity to build, create, and foster student emotional engagement leading to positive, balanced relationships. If this relationship isn’t nurtured, students cannot effectively value their learning experiences, and instead see their learning as siloed and not relevant to them.
Feeling Success at School
Student buy-in is directly related to their enjoyment of the subject that leads to value and can even lead to the student searching and hungry to learn more. When planning learning experiences for our students, considering engagement, prepares students for immediate and future success. Engaged students in classrooms have the opportunity to cultivate deep critical thinking skills that permeate both academic and personal avenues.
Influences of Student Engagement
Providing learning experiences that are enjoyable, while at the same time involves student choice, leads to student taking ownership of their own learning experiences. One way to effectively create student emotional engagement is communicate with students using feedback that focuses on utilizing noticing strategies to scaffold the students toward mastery. Another way to create emotional engagement is to build a trusting relationship that shows support and encouragement.
SOS Instructional Strategies
Discovery Education’s Spotlight on Strategies (SOS) series supports emotional engagement by creating learning opportunities that are enjoyable, help them connect with the content, and feel valued as learners in the classroom. SOS provide easy-to-implement, highly engaging strategies that can be paired with Social Studies Techbook resources to maximize student engagement in the classroom. Below are a few examples of strategies that can support students emotional engagement with learning.
- 25 Things You Didn't Know: This strategy provides a structured framework for students to dive deeply into content to identify information not previously discussed or learned. It encourages students to look more closely at their resources beyond confirming what they already know.
- Table Top Texting: By allowing students to “text” each other while investigating Social Studies Techbook resources, they can form strong working relationships. Doing this allows students to become comfortable with communicating their findings, questions, and learning with each other.
- Pin It: Using this strategy supports students in sharing what they have learned by categorizing and connecting it to other students’ learning. Students who feel they are contributing to the learning of the class as a whole feel more invested in those outcomes.