Authentic Engagement and Student-Centered Learning
The concept of student engagement has been sharpened and clarified over the years. Gone are the days of lecture-style teaching where engagement meant students were compliant, sitting still, and focused on the teacher. Today, education is moving away from teacher-led instruction to student-centered learning. You will hear buzz words such as levels of engagement, student cognitive load, relevance, and brain-based learning. What does this mean for educators? The state and education standards require teachers to create a learning environment where the students are authentically seeking out knowledge with a high degree of interest, attention, curiosity, and passion. Appraisers are looking to see that the students are actively immersed in activities, discussions, and projects a majority of the lesson cycle. It is imperative that you know the rules before you play the game. As you plan and guide learning, know the following: educator standards, evaluation rubric, and engagement strategies.
In Educator Standard 1 (D), the Commissioner of Education clearly defines the teacher’s role in engaging students. Per the standards, teachers are expected to do the following:
- Teachers ensure that the learning environment features a high degree of student engagement by facilitating discussion and student-centered activities as well as leading direct instruction.
- Teachers validate each student’s comments and questions, utilizing them to advance learning for all students.
- Teachers encourage all students to overcome obstacles and remain persistent in the face of challenges, providing them with support in achieving their goals.
Read the complete Educator Standards here.
T-TESS and Student Engagement
Appraisers are trained to look for certain behaviors when checking for student engagement. Planning Dimension 1.4 in the T-TESS Rubric spells out what appraisers expect to see during classroom observations. Read the expectations here.
Check out a collection of resources that that illustrates strategies used in highly engaged classrooms in the links below.
Rules of Engagement to get students actively learning:
Students’ wish list for engaging classrooms:
Extensive list of engagement strategies for various levels and learning environments: