Student engagement is the new frontier of student achievement. Of course, it’s always been possible to achieve without being really engaged. Grit, resilience and sheer perseverance can get the most driven students through their courses and exams, and can be useful for some students, some of the time. But these days, in a world rife with distractions, it’s hard to get students to succeed unless you can also get and keep their attention, fire up their passions, and connect with their lives and interests.
But what is engagement, what does it look like, and how do we get more of it once we understand it? Engagement means much more than simply showing up and fixing all eyes on the teacher. Drawing on over 5 years of research in the US and Canada, this book gets to the bottom of what student engagement is and what it isn’t. Sometimes it’s about being relevant to students’ interests, but it can also be about creating new interests. Sometimes, it’s about compelling world issues like climate change, and sometimes it’s all about fantasy novels and fun. You can get engaged with technology but also without it. And not all engagement is fun. Sometimes, getting engaged in a challenge or a problem may be frustrating, involves struggle, and might even occasion sacrifice and suffering from time to time.
Timed to coincide with the launch of his new book with Dennis Shirley on Student Engagement, this keynote will outline what engagement is and isn’t. It will peer into the dark vortex of disengagement, and look at how to recognize it and how to avoid it. And it will introduce tools for engagement in the form of surveys, observation protocols and digital feedback, as well as ways to build better professional understanding of engagement and to give students more voice in their own learning.
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