A Common Understanding of Engagement

Beginning on Thursday March 7, 2019 at 8:30 pm Newfoundland time (8 Atlantic, 7 Eastern), tune in to Essential Conversations on VoicEd Radio for a live discussion on Literacy Essentials with Regie Routman, Allison Tucker and Stephen Hurley.

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When we speak of student engagement, what are we really talking about? What is our shared understanding of “engagement” in the context of school and learning? What is the at the heart of the word “engagement”?

According to Regie Routman, engagement is different from enjoyment.

Years ago, Andy Hargreaves performed a demonstration where he revealed partial images of children to his audience, and we had to vote on whether we thought that child was “engaged” or not. We were quick to change our minds when the rest of the image was revealed to show children doing frivolous but fun “activities” that were unrelated to learning intentions.

“We are really talking about academic engagement, on topics that matter”, states Regie in this podcast.

We need to be able to answer the question, “Where is the learning?”.

Regie Routman – Literacy Essentials – p. 6

Student engagement in learning requires:

  1. Developing trusting environments, including professional trust. If educators don’t know what they are doing, it’s not going to help the kids very much.

Regie Routman – Literacy Essentials – page 9

2. Celebrating Learners

Regie Routman – Literacy Essentials – p. 25

3. Creating a Thriving Learning Environment

Regie Routman – Literacy Essentials – p. 39

4. Teaching with Purpose and Authenticity

Regie Routman – Literacy Essentials – p. 81

I want to highlight this very important quote from the podcast. At 47:11, as Regie is talking about the importance of how we treat each other, Allison shares, “We have to be Gandhi, being the change that we want to see. But I think we also have to embody the attributes that we want to see reflected in the school, so when we treat children with respect, and we honour who they are as people, and we do the same for the adults in the room, suddenly things start to look different because we look for different things in people too.

And this is just it, isn’t it? It all comes back to our view of the learner. The learner as a person, as competent, as capable, as creative and curious.

And are we curious about them?

Featured imaged by frank mckenna on Unsplash

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