Engagement, Passion, Learning

I got up and participated in #satchat this morning. 6:30am CST on a Saturday must mean I wanted to be there, huh?  Glad I was, the discussion on student engagement was empowering.

the first question focused us just right: What does it mean to engage students in learning?

What DOES it mean? My thoughts?

#satchat A1 engagement is personal, all a teacher can do is provide the opportunity to engage— C. S. Stone (@csstone1161) November 8, 2014

the thoughts of others?

 A1 Engaged students don’t want to go to them bathroom during your class #satchat— Kevin Cullen (@RedPenCoffee) November 8, 2014

And on and on it went.

Our school’s PBIS motto is “We Choose Respect, Responsibility, Engagement.” Our Instructional Coach does PD on how to keep the kids engaged in the lesson.  I get reprimanded cus my class is “loud and out of control”.  What does this mean, loud and out of control?  What do you see when you see “Loud and Out of Control?”

I see engagement.  Sitting quietly, listening to the teacher drone on like a Charlie Brown cartoon isn’t engaging, even for me, sitting in PD.  I recognize that depending on the topic, the content, the delivery, yes, quiet focus is necessary. Don’t do it all the time though, people!  Discussing it, arguing about it, look at it, researching it, arguing and discussing a little more, crying loudly that “I STILL DON’T GET IT, MRS. STONE!… THAT’S ENGAGEMENT!

Check out this graphic:


How we present the lesson, determines the level of engagement.  Relating the learning to the daily lives of the students engages the students in the importance of learning the material. Showing passion for the topic, giving examples of how it works for YOU… ensures engagement.

The notion that the WAY we get the students engaged should be regimented (classroom rules, etc.) only forced students to focus on the regimentation, and not the engagement and learning.  Yes, order is needed, but chaos creates new concepts. The assumption that the “way WE do it” is the only and best way is ridiculous. If we talk about how, in the 21st Century, the way our students interact must change, why are we still expecting the engagement to look like something out of the 1800s? Why is the narrow concept of learning and being passionate about wanting to learn so ingrained?

Consider this comment:

 Learning is learning. Are we saying kids in poverty don’t have passions? @bamameghan@ThorneLeslie@WickedDecent@djakes#satchat

Are we saying kids who aren’t just like our kids, SHOULDN’T have passions?  If we are, does that mean, engagement for THEM looks different from engagement for children who have different life circumstances?  Is this narrow notion true for teachers as well? Should our engagement in OUR learning look a particular way? WHY?

Its all too much.  Its never quite enough.

Why does anyone learn anything?  What are teachers preparing students for out there?  How does an engaged student build and nurture a passion for learning and wanting to change the world, even if its just their little corner of it?

Here’s the raw script of the chat. It will be Storified later I’m sure.  Check it out. I’m engaged now. Let me think on this.  You do the same.