Planning and Teaching Strategies

Engagement – What does that mean then?

This topic contains 1 reply, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Tammie Meehan Tammie Meehan 1 year, 11 months ago.

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  • #448
    Profile photo of Selena Woodward Selena Woodward 

    Engagement is a real buzz word and it’s all over the Australian Standards for Teachers too.  Have you stopped to consider what that word actually means and what it might look like in your classroom?

    cover1What do you think of when you think of engagement?  Is it simply that everyone is on task and getting on? Is it about being busy with work? Is it about the level of fun we’re all having? Something more than that?

    Have a read of this for some inspiration:


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  • #625
    Profile photo of Selena Woodward Selena Woodward 

    Aitsl just posted this: how “on topic”! 🙂

  • #971
    Profile photo of Kyla Casey Kyla Casey 
    Points: 495

    I think of myself when I am really engaged – I am having fun, learning something, focussed, I’ve lost track of time, want to keep doing what I am doing no matter what, thinking deeply, critically and creatively and being an external processor, I probably want to share what I’ve learnt with others. Now, in applying that to students, I think what I want for them/expect of them is similar.

  • #1267
    Profile photo of Adrienne Kajewski Adrienne Kajewski 
    Points: 369

    I think we can get lazy and confuse the use of the word ‘engagement’ with the concept of being on task, busy, quiet, looking at us,paying attention to someone speaking, heads down and pens moving (or fingers flying across the keyboard) etc.
    I think Kayla’s explanation above is closer to what teachers should be aspiring too but be realistic that it is a rare and magical moment when any of us are in that zone, let alone a whole class of students at the same moment. Aim for it, aspire to it but know that it is a rare and often fleeting moment for individuals. AND THAT’s O.K.

    • #1285
      Profile photo of Selena Woodward Selena Woodward 

      I think that you can plan for increased engagement once you have a good understanding of what engagement is. Have you read the Learning Frontiers paper above @mrsski @chantelle? I’d be keen to know what you think 🙂

    • #1304
      Profile photo of Markeeta Roe-Phillips Markeeta Roe-Phillips 
      Points: 2140

      We have a poster in our classroom – I imagine many of you all do too – that says ‘Don’t confuse compliance with engagement’. It’s such an important concept. I’d rather hear heated ‘debate’ (read that as arguing) between my students about why/when/how they’re going to use a particular topic or see them play with the ideas than sit down and quietly ‘do’ a task.

  • #1270
    Profile photo of Chantelle Morrison Chantelle Morrison 
    Points: 218

    I think that someone who is truly engaged is inspired to take action. If they’re just “into it” and don’t want to do anything with the information, it’s “low-bar”.

  • #1308
    Profile photo of Markeeta Roe-Phillips Markeeta Roe-Phillips 
    Points: 2140

    Hmmm… It seems that there are different ideas about the definition of engagement. This study’s version of engagement is not mine – I think that ‘on task’ behaviour is often just compliance. The definition of ‘academic learning’ is what I consider engagement. Having said all of that, I’m interested to see that the academic learning time for individual students varied so greatly, and that part of this is about the face-to-face individual time with the teacher. For me, this is the biggest challenge: making sure that I balance my time fairly, and not neglect anyone. How do others do it?

    On a side note: there’s a line in there that talks about spending more time on an activity not guaranteeing improvement but that there needs to be a focus on guidance, instruction, goal setting and feedback. We talk about this ALL the time. Practise doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent. We know this because repeated practise helps build neural pathways which make an action more automatic. As much as my class lives and breathes this idea, it was a very welcome reaffirmation!

  • #1585
    Profile photo of Tammie Meehan Tammie Meehan 
    Points: 1089

    Engagement to me means that the students have a voice in what they are learning. We listen to what they are interested in, what gives them that sparkle in their eyes when they are talking about it, we give them opportunities to make choices about their learning. We ask them and we walk along beside them to optimise their opportunities to learn about what fires them up. They will be engaged. Don’t forget the role families and communities can play in engaging our kids. The more connections their families or communities make to their learning, the more engaged they will be.

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