When I clicked on Engaged Learning I was promptly confronted with this question. "What are the common characteristics of Constructivism, Collaborative Learning, Independent Learning and Self-directed Learning? Apparently autonomy is the driving force behind these teaching philosophies and how do learners become autonomous? By becoming responsible for and engaged in their own learning processes. Thus the question is how do we get students engaged seeing as disengagement seems to be a school wide pandemic? One of the key dangers of this pandemic is dropping out of school (Bridgeland et al., 2006).
So, how can we keep students in school and not only that, keep them enthusiastic about learning? The traditional ‘stand and deliver’ teaching methods, in which students are simply ‘passive vessels to be filled’ just doesn’t work anymore! The way to go is by using discussion based group work. So through their feedback from these discussions you assess what and how much pupils are learning finally understanding if they are engaged. Research shows that when pupils are in an environment where they feel accepted and supported by their peers, academic achievement is more likely (Wentzel & Watkins, 2010). Of course in a classroom with collaborative work encourages a climate of open discourse due to the fact that opinions that are shared are relied upon by others, thus the intrinsic motivator becomes extrinsic (Himmele & Himmele, 2011).
Support and acceptance from teachers is also key in engagement- research (Wentzel, 2002) highlights that aspects of effective parenting (high expectations, rule setting, and fairness), when mirrored in teaching, leads to high class interest. Important to note in this research, is that interest in class did not have a significant effect on academic outcome. However, positive feedback from teachers leads to students being socially responsible (doing what is expected of them), which is a strong predictor of high achievement.So why do these methods work? Why does active participation and discussion during class, in a supportive teacher and peer environment, contribute to engagement? Well, Zenke (2010) found that when students felt they were able to complete a task, their self- efficacy was high, leading to high levels of engagement. Discussion between pupils highlights gaps in knowledge, which teachers can fill, so pupils feel they can complete tasks.
How to promote self- efficacy? Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1997) proposes that the most effective way of building self -efficacy is through mastery experiences. So, in the classroom, it is important to provide students with many opportunities to succeed. This can be achieved through effective instruction, and learning from peers- another related effective way of building self-efficacy.To keep an audience engaged- ensure for lots of peer learning opportunities. This can be achieved by breaking off into groups to discuss material, or facilitating debate if possible. Encourage your listeners to construct meaning from the material themselves, applying it to their own lives or the real world. Finally show enthusiasm and interest in what you are speaking about, it will facilitate student engagement. (Himmele & Himmele,2011).
Thus the way to get students