Learning is not a spectator sport. It is a lifelong journey. Students do not learn much just sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write reflectively about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives.
Early Student Engagement Studies
Early studies of student engagement often focused on time-on-task behaviors. Students who are engaged show behavioral involvement in the learning process which is accompanied by a positive emotional level. They also show positive responses during any ongoing action. On the other hand, students who are not engaged are disaffected and passive. They do not work hard and give up easily at the time of competition. Student engagement is viewed as motivated behavior. Relationships between students and adults in schools, and among students themselves, are a critical factor of student engagement. Student engagement occurs when students make a psychological investment in learning the things the school offers. It is seen as an indicator of successful classroom instruction.
Why Student Engagement?
Student engagement depicts the willingness of a student to participate in routine school activities. An engaged student is inquisitive, prepared, critical and constructivist. When actively involved in learning, students engage in higher thinking skills and hands-on-activities such as analysis, synthesis, evaluation, manipulating, discussing, experimenting and writing, etc. Engagement is interaction, integration, interdisciplinary, and constructivist. It can take many forms.
- Teacher with Student – Students have more positive perceptions when teachers interact frequently with them on issues related to their courses.
- Student with Student – Collaborative learning is an active learning approach in which students work together in small groups to solve a problem, complete a project, or achieve a common goal.
- Student with Community – Usually carried out within a single organization, often identified by the faculty or school, and is of principal benefit to the student.
Strategies to Build Student Engagement
- Raise your level of expectations. Maintain high expectation levels and not just standards. Always encourage students to do well. Expect the best from them. Appreciate a job well done. Create a belief in students that if they can do well, they will succeed.
- Involve the student. Do not do everything for the student. Teachers should remember to act as a guide, involve students in the planning, and monitor their projects. Be comfortable with students in your own style of interaction.