Week 2A (Oct. 4-Oct. 10)- Breaking it Down


Engagement is BIG and BROAD and you have probably noticed that writers are all over the place when they are talking about student engagement.  What if a teacher wants to address and improve the engagement of their students?  How does that teacher begin?  Isn't it like some sort of complete overhaul? Is there a science to it?  Or is it more likely that teachers either have the "engagement" gene or don't?

I believe at times educators and educational writers and researchers can fall into a pattern of using a single word to mean too many things without specifying what is really meant. What I would like us to explore this week are individual elements that go into this BIG thing called "engagement."

Activity 1- I will list below the elements I intend to promote as pieces in the "engagement" puzzle, but welcome you to add to my list by using the edit feature on this study page:

 

Discussion- Pick one or more of the numbers below and respond to it in the comments section.  Be sure to include/explain your thinking in your response.  Respond to other folks in order to add to, discuss, or debate their ideas.

1. Which of the words above, or sets of words above, go together as a subset? Do any? 

2. Which of these words are synonymous with engagement (if any)?

3. Do you wonder about the meaning of any of these words? or how they relate to the idea of engagement? (Share so we may discuss...)

4. Are all of these words smaller steps in the path toward the big idea of engagement?  Or are some related in other ways?

5. If you had to prioritize these ideas in an effort to quantify what is most important to engagement, which do you think would be the top three and why?

6.  Should any words be removed from this list? Which ones and why?

7.  Did you add any words?  Which one (s) and why?

任务讨论


  • AnnetteV   十月 12, 2011, 6:07 p.m.

    Question 1:  I believe we could create the following subsets from the words Bonita has provided:

    Intrinsic Motivation: Interest, curiosity, enthusiasm, effort (the perfectionist vs the coaster), persistence  - of the individual student

    Extrinsic Motivation: inspiration, encouragement, enthusiasm of the teacher; goal/gain for student; rapport of peers and teacher; classroom environment (peers/teacher/room)

    Question 2: Which of these words are synonymous with engagement (if any)?
    I believe all of the words of the list can be linked engagement in varying ways and contexts.  I am realising that student engagement, as Bonita has pointed out, is huge and made up of many factors. I feel a mindmap coming......!!

    7.  Did you add any words?  Which one (s) and why?

    Classroom Environment:    Where  a synergy of sorts is created between teacher and students as a whole – everyone 'works' or 'jells'. This is created by developing the rapport, trust, participation and co-operation of each individual in the room.  We could also look at the physical environment – climate, walls (informative and motivational posters, individual work creating an ownership of space), lighting, desk layouts).   

    Task Choices (Learning Styles):  Where students have the choice of tasks, which cater for individual learning styles (listening, kinaesthetic, viewing, individual, group etc) , that lead to the same goal/aim.  If the student is given the choice to do a task that she/he feels comfortable and enjoys doing this may lead to engagement.   This could expand to subject/topic matter (where applicable) as in Research Projects where students can explore an area of interest.   Acknowledging quickly, as teachers, we  would want students to challenge themselves as well, to develop the areas of learning styles they are not so good at.

    Self-efficacy    If a student has high self efficacy or belief in his/her abilities to learn she/he will be more likely to be engaged.   Bandura states that  "people with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided."  (http://des.emory.edu/mfp/BanEncy.html)  

  • Tasha Martin   十月 10, 2011, 11:11 p.m.

    First, I would like to say thank you for allowing us to add to the list.  I had to add body language to the list.  After attending many trainings, seminars, and other similar events the one characteristic I have noticed of an audience that you can visually check quickly about how interested they are in the topic is the body language. 

    Body language is something people unconciously display that leave people clues as to what they are feeling or how they are reacting to a situation.  If someone is leaning or angling away from the presenter they may be less interested than the person who is leaning forwards and towards the presenter. Body language is often the first clue how an audience is percieving information or receiving a presenter.

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   十月 11, 2011, 11 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tasha Martin   十月 10, 2011, 11:11 p.m.

    You are welcome.  In fact, most of the course is designed like a "wiki" so that many tasks can be added to and edited for a group learning experience.  I like that you used that feature and agree with you about body language and its importance.  I do think it can sometimes be unreliable.

  • Jessica Powell   十月 10, 2011, 11 p.m.

    (Question #4: Are all of these words smaller steps in the path toward the big idea of engagement?  Or are some related in other ways?)

    One of the biggest problems with figuring out student engagement is that it *IS* such a broad topic. As teachers, we need as many “tools” to encourage student engagement as possible. Some work well together. Some work well alone. It all depends on the situation, and more importantly – the student. It’s hard to narrow down what engagement is due to its importance. You cannot build a house with materials alone. You need the right tools and skilled workers to build a competent home. It is the same with student engagement. If you want to have good student engagement, then you need to have multiple “tools” to get the job done. It’s hard to say that any of these are synonyms, but what is listed are more or less the important tools used depending on the type of engagement wanted. Sometimes they are useful, some are not. For example, while it is great to have good student rapport, sometimes students will not work as hard or be as engaged because they feel that their closeness to the teacher will allow them to get away with things. On the other hand, some students will go above and beyond because they do not want to let their teacher down. Students who find it difficult to create may close down during these tasks, yet they may thrive in more structured settings where they can absorb the information. And still other students will blossom when given the chance to create (and so on and so forth with the other listed words).

    Student engagement is a hard thing to define because the best formula for student engagement changes between each student and each situation.

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   十月 11, 2011, 11:02 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jessica Powell   十月 10, 2011, 11 p.m.

    Jessica,

    It is a hard thing to pin down!  I think many folks talk about it as if it is one solid thing that we can all recognize, but I do not believe that to be true.  I think we recognize parts, aspects.  I think we can influence parts, aspects.  Do you agree?

     

    Bonita

  • Jessica Powell   十月 16, 2011, 11:59 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   十月 11, 2011, 11:02 p.m.

    Sorry about the late reply to this! I realized that I didn't have my notification set to allow me to see the replies to my posts.

    Yes, I definitely do think that we can influence aspects of engagement by really getting a feel for the situation. In other words, we can influence the situation only by breaking it down into these parts. In a sense, it's more important for us to identify these specific parts because then it will help us figure out how to address the bigger picture. By seeing the trees we can figure out what type of forest we are walking through. ;)

  • Tracy Q   十月 7, 2011, 3:17 p.m.
    • participation
    • enthusiasm
    • creating
    • persistence
    • time on task
    • effort

    I picked a few words to describe for this week and answer the questions.  The ones I feel are most similar to "engagement" for me are listed above-my top 6 list so to speak.

     

    One that I have had several discussions with staff members about over the years is effort.  Should a student earn a better grade for a lower quality project if you know that it took much more effort on the part of the student?  this is the discussion we are currently have in our online setting. It does at times take students more effort to be online learners and technology can have glitches that they have to get through to even get to the assignments.

     

    Interesting conversations all week-thanks folks

  • Amanda   十月 10, 2011, 7:39 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tracy Q   十月 7, 2011, 3:17 p.m.

    Tracy,

    I've been having a similar discussion surrounding the idea of effort/grading with my colleagues.  Many of our students come to us with A/B grades from the previous years, but they are not on grade levels with skills.  These students are often diligent workers, but still not on grade level.  Our current thought is that the grading system should be altered with one mark for effort and one for skill level.  We've been trying to think of a way to "rewrite" our report cards so that they could reflect this.  So far, we're not receiving much support from the higher ups, but hopefully soon!

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   十月 11, 2011, 11:04 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tracy Q   十月 7, 2011, 3:17 p.m.

    I agree, Tracy Q, love the conversation. Effort is an interesting thing to me because in some subjects and areas of study a person could be putting in loads of effort but no one would know because it is all in "thinking" whereas another could put in time in terms of making something, but without much thought.  Have you noticed that?

     

    Bonita

  • Amanda   十月 7, 2011, 2:32 p.m.

    So, I mixed up the list slightly.  Eye contact is one way to determine engagement, but I moved it to the bottom of the list because there are so many cultural considerations and learning environments (asynchronous, individual, online, etc).  Also, just because someone is looking at you does not constitute brain activity.  

    Pondering and wondering requires thinking about a topic from various angles.  You must be pretty engaged to extend an activity/lesson beyond the information given to you.  When I consider questions posed or concepts suggested, I am most engaged when I can mentally break them down, analyze, and think through them.  

    I also shifted creating down a few notches.  This is key to being engaged in any topic, but students must be engaged prior in the material for them to be able to create a product.  Since it is not the first step in the process, I felt it needed to be slightly lower.

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   十月 7, 2011, 8:14 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Amanda   十月 7, 2011, 2:32 p.m.

    FUN!  A brave soul has stepped into editing the course.  Good for you (and us) Amanda!  I hope more people will jump in and edit, add, and change so the course becomes OURS.

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   十月 5, 2011, 8:32 a.m.

    Hey folks, this task can be edited like a wiki!  Feel free to step up, be brave, and add words to the list or rearrange the words that are there!  Let's get messy with this!

  • Mireille   十月 3, 2011, 3:01 p.m.

    1. Which of the words above, or sets of words above, go together as a subset? Do any? 

    interest | curiosity | intrinsic motivation| persistence | effort | flow | enthusiasm | pondering/working through | time on task | in the zone of proximal development| inspiration

    external motivation | pondering/working through | time on task | enthusiasm | pondering/working through | time on task |  in the zone of proximal development| inspiration | rapport |eye contact| participation

     I don’t understand what agency means in this context. 

    2.   Which of these words are synonymous with engagement (if any)?

    I would think most of them because you need interest, curiosity, intrinsic motivation, persistence, effort, enthusiasm, flow, etc to be engaged.  Eye contact is important because you are showing you are engaged in the listening process of another person.

     3. Do you wonder about the meaning of any of these words? or how they relate to the idea of engagement? (Share so we may discuss...)

    The word “agency” 

    4.  Are all of these words smaller steps in the path toward the big idea of engagement?  Or are some related in other ways?

    Being curious is a beginning.  Yes I would say all of these words are connected 

    5.   If you had to prioritize these ideas in an effort to quantify what is most important to engagement, which do you think would be the top three and why?

    intrinsic motivationI think is about being interested, curious, persistent, enthusiasm and persistent

    in the zone of proximal developmentsimilar to rapport pondering/working through and participation

    time one task -

    6.  Should any words be removed from this list? Which ones and why?

    I question the word agency because I don’t understand where it fit in the context of student engagement 

    7.  Did you add any words?  Which one (s) and why
    collaboration, listening, asking questions, experimenting, exploring options.

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   十月 5, 2011, 8:31 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Mireille   十月 3, 2011, 3:01 p.m.

    Ah, agency.  Yes.  I threw that one in there to stir up some shared thinking.

    A book I love called Choice Words, by Johnston, talks about a teacher's ability to build agency in children merely through the words teachers use when giving feedback.  Agency thus being a student's initiative,efficacy, and self-leadership in the learning process.   The ways that Johnston noted in his study of highly effective teachers were related to word choice.  So if a teacher said, "Great work, Emily!" That would lead to less agency, whereas saying, "This part about the mom arguing with the son really got me laughing, how did you make that so funny?  I think it was this word here that did it for me."  Something like that, would lead to agency.  I have searched and search online for more regarding this book, but all I could find was podcasts at Stenhouse, which I include in a later lesson.  The podcast does not get into the idea of agency enough, in my opinion.  I will try to reread passages from the book and share with you all throughout the course.  I am a relative beginner in this area of study of agency, but plan to do much more.

    :)Bonita

  • Abdoulaye DIOUF   十月 3, 2011, 11:53 a.m.

    The four top words can be  a good definition to engagement. Engaged students  are mostly interested in what the teacher does in class in order to satisfy their curiosity, which motivates their learning. 

    Eye contact can be a discouraging factor because culturally speaking, in Africa, teenagers avoid it as much as they can. It is somehow disrespect. Even teachers look at students' forehead or simply slightly above their head.

  • Grant   十月 3, 2011, 10:11 a.m.

    In response to question 1, I believe that interest and intrinsic motivation definitely belong together.  Intrinsic motivation in my eyes has the word interest in its definition.  When a student is intrinsically motivated to learn they have an interest in whatever it is that is being learned otherwise it wouldn't be intrinsic motivation.  Also, the student is enjoying the task at hand when they are intrinsically motivated.  These students are usually the easiest to teach because the topic itself is engaging so no outside gimmicks are necessary.  However, anything extra can only help these students learn. :)

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   十月 5, 2011, 8:24 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Grant   十月 3, 2011, 10:11 a.m.

    Excellent match, I am thinking, intrinsic to interest!  I have always felt there is not much as a teacher I can do to improve a student's intrinsic ideas about learning, but I can definitely try to address their interests! Thank you for making that connection for me.

  • Amanda   十月 7, 2011, 2:16 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Grant   十月 3, 2011, 10:11 a.m.

    I agree that intrinsic and interest are often naturally linked, but I don't see them as synonymous.  There are many areas where people are intrinsically motivated to be successful, but they may not have any interest in a certain step of the process.  For example,  I am very motivated to be healthy-eat right, exercise, etc.  Every time I choose a salad rather than a delicious hamburger, I do it for me.  No one is holding a carrot (literally:) in front of my nose.  I have no interest in eating the salad, but I am motivated to be healthy.  I make that choice.  

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   十月 7, 2011, 8:11 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Amanda   十月 7, 2011, 2:16 p.m.

    Ah. Nice example, Amanda.I will think on that.

  • Tracy Q   十月 1, 2011, 11:15 a.m.

    Responding to question #6 I wonder about the "eye contact" addition to the list.  As an online educator only a small portion of our classes involve video chat where eye contact can and will occur.  Also are some student just shy and engaging in another modality and enjoy taking notes and writing out thoughts to process information instead of looking straight ahead at a teacher.  Still pondering these thoughts...

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   十月 1, 2011, 11:28 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tracy Q   十月 1, 2011, 11:15 a.m.

    Me too.  I actually watched a lesson once where a student turned sideways to the teacher and the board and looked out the window the entire time. I thought he was off in daydream land, but when the learning activity started, he was the one in his group reminding all the other students what the teacher said and what they should be doing. A highly auditory learner, so much so that he needed to NOT look. Rare, but how do we take these students into account?

  • Grant   十月 3, 2011, 10:14 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tracy Q   十月 1, 2011, 11:15 a.m.

    I also teach online, and we currently do not have any video chat.  Some of the student's do have the webcams and do connect while we are teaching a lesson.  These students do seem to be watching ever intently, however that is probably because they are following our screen. :)

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   十月 5, 2011, 8:22 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Grant   十月 3, 2011, 10:14 a.m.

    I would think with online education, the first feedback that students are engaged is that they watch the lessons!  It is a much more difficult format, I believe, in many ways.  Not so much because online is less engaging (for many learners I think it meets so many requirements of engagement: choice, autonomy, relevance, pacing, technology bells and whistles, easy reference material, etc.).  Mainly I think online engagement is more difficult for instructors to gauge. Perhaps someone comes on a course, learns a bunch, is talking about it incessantly at home, and loves the learning, but the instructor only sees their profile and an occasional posting.  What are some ways to increase feedback for online instructors?