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Week 2B (Oct. 4-Oct. 10)- Can the parts be influenced?

If we take some of the smaller but important, elements of this idea of "engagement" and we try to influence that portion of the student engagement process, can we improve engagement?  It is clear that many (myself included) believe instructors can influence the engagement of students.  So the question becomes how?  What can we change or do to influence it?  And how will we know if our efforts made a difference? Can we measure any aspect of engagement?

 Activity One-

I suggest we look now at three aspects to engagement: interest, participation, and relationship.  Can we influence these aspects of engagement?  Go to this google document and add your ideas for teacher influence over these characteristics of engagement.  Think about whether the student response (interest, participation, or relationship) could be measured or not, and in what ways.  Add those thoughts to the third column.


Go back to the list created in Week 2B.  Pick other single aspects of engagement to add to the google document and attempt to flush out how it can be influenced and whether the influence could be measured in some way.


Use the comment feature to discuss this idea of taking the parts of engagement and creating changes in the learning environment to address a single aspect of engagement.  Do you think addressing aspects of engagement could be a way to achieve improved student engagement?  Why or why not?

Task Discussion

  • Tasha Martin   Oct. 19, 2011, 2:28 p.m.

    Interest, participation, and relationship are all very important aspects of engagement and for me, it is hard to choose just one to discuss.  However, relationships are needed to build trust.  Once a student trusts their teacher they are more willing to participate and gain an interest in the course.  Building an appropriate repor with students seems to be the baseline of engagement. Relationships are hard to guage and generally can be read several different ways and anyone can interpret relationships different than someone else.  However, if you build respect with a student I believe that can be conveyed on the way the student behaves in the classrom and outside the classroom in your presence and without (such as expected behavior for a sub).

  • AnnetteV   Oct. 12, 2011, 8:42 p.m.

    Perhaps a teaching inquiry approach could be made for researching the effect of aspects of engagement which I, as a teacher, have influence on.  Similar to allergy testing I could look at using one aspect explicitly and recording the effect.  I am guessing that the same aspect will have different effects with each class I teach (different ages of students may have an influence).

    It could be interesting to discuss the whole issue of engagement with the students themselves and involve them in the process of being engaged.  Throwing active learning into the mix.  Nothing wrong with students thinking about thinking (metacognition)!  Could be a good unit of work to do at the beginning of the year.

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Oct. 13, 2011, 11:27 p.m.
    In Reply To:   AnnetteV   Oct. 12, 2011, 8:42 p.m.

    Fascinating idea.  I wonder if we could do a study together.  All of us try one aspect for a day and report back, sort of thing.  It would be interesting to see different aspects across all of our ed experiences, don't you think?

  • Amanda   Oct. 10, 2011, 7:35 p.m.

    Thinking about interest, participation, and relationship either separately or in conjunction definitely affect students' engagement.  Interest is a fairly easy one to gauge.  In my classroom, my students participate in interest surveys at the beginning of the year so that I can tailor my instruction to meet their interests within the units we are required to teach.  This doesn't mean they always get to read what they want.  Usually, if I'm working on a particular skill or reading strategy, I have several articles to choose from so that students may select one based on interest since the content is not the main issue.  

  • Grant   Oct. 3, 2011, 11:35 a.m.

    Of course I think you can achieve improved student engagement by addressing certain aspects of engagement.  If you feel your students are lacking participation for instance, and you feel they would be more engaged if they participated more, then you should incorporate in your lesson some sort of class participation.  You can then measure your outcome by a survey after class on what the student's liked and disliked and so on.  It's just like anything else in life, if you work on it, it will improve. :)

  • Tracy Q   Oct. 19, 2011, 2:55 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Grant   Oct. 3, 2011, 11:35 a.m.

    I agree with your comments and that engagment is not something you figure out and have fixed when creating a course, it depends on the students in the course and being flexible.