We all know the importance of engaging students in their learning. Students who are engaged demonstrate increased focus and attention and are motivated to practise higher level critical thinking skills and deepen their learning.

We also know many teaching programs and units of work are not designed to engage learners. The recent Osiris Global Learning Survey, one of the largest surveys of student learning (N=29,000) asked students to describe their learning. The world cloud analysis reported “boring” as the overwhelming response. However, there are well proven strategies that teachers can incorporate every day into every lesson to improve student engagement.

John Almarode describes 8 features of classroom activities and tasks that are associated with sustained engagement. These 8 features were observed by Antonetti and Garver in their book  17,000 Classroom Visits Can’t Be Wrong which reported on data from 17,000 classroom walk-throughs.

Research by John Antonetti shows that when 3 of these features are incorporated into every classroom activity, students demonstrate sustained cognitive engagement 84-86% of the time. When only 2 are used, this drops to about 16%. It drops to less than 4% when only one is used.

  1.       Personalisation– Does the activity, strategy, task, or idea allow for the student to personalise his or her response? Can they bring their life experiences into the activity and make it their own?
  2.       Expectations-Are there clear and modelled expectations for students?
  3.       Audience /Value Is there a sense of audience above and beyond the teacher and the test? Does the activity have value to someone else?
  4.       Social Interaction-Do students have an opportunity to talk about the learning and interact?
  5.       Emotional Safety-Is there a culture of emotional safety? Are mistakes valued because they are an opportunity to learn?
  6.       Choice– Do students have opportunities to choose within the activity?
  7.       Authenticity– Is it an authentic activity? This doesn’t mean it always must connect directly to the student’s world, but it should connect to reality.
  8.       Novelty– Is the task new and novel? If kids are bored, it’s hard to see engagement

Edudicio’s innovative curriculum platform takes the hard work out of designing rich inquiry units that engage students with authentic problems and design solutions that allow them to become responsible change agents for the world.