What Does Student Engagement Look Like?

Instructor: Derek Hughes
Student engagement is an integral part of learning at any grade level and is something you should strive for with every lesson. This lesson will help you identify what student engagement looks like so you can be sure you're achieving your goal.

Student Engagement

Student engagement is an incredibly important part of any lesson you create for your class. If students are engaged in the work they are doing, they are going to gain more from the lesson and be excited about learning. However, student engagement is an intangible quality that can't be measured on any assessment. The only way to know whether your students are engaged is to be able to identify the attributes of student engagement.

This lesson will explore three key aspects of student engagement that you should be looking for in all of your students. These aspects are focus, curiosity, and excitement. The rest of the lesson will define each of these and provide examples so you know what to look for.


When teaching a lesson to her class about the Civil War, Mrs. Adams decided to have students read directly from the textbook as a class. As students were taking turns reading aloud, Mrs. Adams noticed that several students in her class were flipping through the book, playing with their pencils and erasers, or staring off into space. She wasn't sure what was going on, but Mrs. Adams could tell that her students were not engaged.

What the students in the above example are demonstrating is a lack of focus. Focus is a key aspect of student engagement. Often, when students are not engaged in the work they are doing, they are more likely to drift off and begin paying attention to other things in the classroom. In the example, students were flipping through the book, staring off, or playing with other things around them.

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