Student Engagement Strategies

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  • 0:03 Active Engagement
  • 1:23 Teacher-Student Engagement
  • 4:39 Student-Student Engagement
  • 6:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Brian Morris
Students learn information in many different ways, which makes engaging diverse student populations challenging. In this lesson, we will define what it means to be actively engaged and explore several best practice strategies for engaging students.

Active Engagement

No two students are alike, and this often creates a difficult task for teachers with regards to engaging students. Student engagement level has a direct correlation to student outcomes. For the purpose of this lesson, active engagement is defined as both the amount of time that students spend on-task during a lesson and their level of participation during that time. This varies from student to student and lesson to lesson, but there are a number of factors within the teacher's locus of control that can increase opportunities for students to fully engage. Engagement strategies must fulfill the following criteria to ensure the greatest chance for students to process and retain information:

  1. Students must be active participants, as opposed to passively receiving information
  2. Activities must be relevant and meaningful
  3. Some level of critical thinking must be involved

The research efforts of notable educators such as Dr. Robert Marzano, Charlotte Danielson and many others have sought, for decades, tangible methods to create and measure student engagement. The strategies explored in this lesson represent a small sample of those years of educational research and are most common in elementary and middle school settings. Adaptations of the techniques are equally effective for engaging students through college level.

Teacher-Student Engagement

Getting and keeping students' attention leads to accountability in the classroom. Students must believe that they are required to participate, yet they must also feel comfortable taking risks. The following strategies can be used by the teacher to gain and sustain student attention:

Do-Now/Bell Ringer

The tone for class should be set the moment that the bell rings or when students transition to an activity. This can be accomplished using the Do-Now/Bell Ringer strategy. One effective way to create this structure is by having an engaging short assignment (quick write, challenging math problem, controversial question, etc.) that is ready for students to work independently on prior to beginning the lesson. While these assignments are not often graded, the teacher can circulate to check in as a means to make sure students are on task during the activity.

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