What is engagement? Engagement is a precise combination of curiosity, agency, and skills. For your lesson to be engaging it must have a percentage of each of these qualities. Engagement doesn’t look like one thing, so the percentages of these qualities will vary, but they have to be there. Think of it like a cookie. There are many types of cookies, but in each there are usually a few key ingredients. Curiosity, agency, and skills are like the flour, sugar, and butter of a well-crafted lesson. Beware of engagement imitators. Activity is not engagement, it’s just activity or, even worse, simply compliance. Entertainment is not engagement, it’s just fun. I would never say that fun is something to avoid in the classroom, but, for all its cheer causing, fist pumping, flash and awe, Kahoot is still just a multiple choice test.
Engagement is more. Engagement in more than holding attention; it is a mental propulsion system that manifest itself in perpetual asking and answering of questions. Engagement is not something that is done, but how the classroom operates. And for a room to operate engagedly (It’s a word. Look it up.) teachers need to understand how curiosity, agency, and skills relate to their classroom, their content, and their students. Ask yourself the questions below. Look at a lesson. How can you craft some of these “engagement makers” into your teaching? The best thing about engagement is that it’s not content specific. These proofs of engagement can be used in all classes at all levels. Give it a try. See what results you can find.
Your thoughts are welcomed and encouraged,