Wednesday / May 22

10 Tips for Increasing Student Engagement

One of our themes for March is Student Engagement. Here we’ve collected some of the best advice on increasing student engagement from Corwin authors and other experts!

  1. Study the data.

The Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations (QISA) has done extensive research in what motivates students through their Student Voice Surveys. Students are asked about the 8 conditions identified by Russ Quaglia in Student Voice: Belonging, Heroes, Sense of Accomplishment, Fun & Excitement, Curiosity & Creativity, Spirit of Adventure, Leadership & Responsibility, and Confidence to Take Action. Read the 2014 Report.

  1. Collect your own data.

If you want to take it one step farther, distribute the Student Voice Survey at your own school. You may be shocked or pleasantly surprised to find out what your students are really thinking!

  1. Put yourself in your students’ shoes.

Pernille Ripp writes about 5 Rules We Impose on Students That Would Make Adults Revolt. Don’t forget that students are kids! Are you expecting them to act better behaved than even adults? Make sure you’re giving them the same respect you would give adults, and give them the freedom to just be kids.

  1. Use games to make learning relevant.

“Games and simulations are rich in scenarios and have an amazing ability to embed information into their storylines or gameplay.” Moreover, games can help students think about how to apply information to their lives immediately. In a recent blog post, Ryan Schaaf gives five strategies for using digital games in the classroom.

  1. Appeal to students’ values.

In this great post on Edutopia, Heidi A. Olinger discusses the power of listening to your students and openly talking about things we would normally dismiss—things that are incredibly important to students: social fads, pop culture, crushes.

  1. Laugh together.

As John Spencer points out, humor is a powerful strategy for engaging learners. Laughing together creates a sense of community and makes class a more rewarding place for students to be.

  1. Let students pursue their passions.

“Schools mistake passion for an emotion, as something kids like to do in their spare time. Those are hobbies. Passion is what you must do, even if you have to suffer to do it. Passion is the genius of all geniuses.” – Angela Maiers

Read more about how to Close the Passion Gap.

  1. Remove distractions.

A class where students are engaged can be noisy and chaotic—but the quality of the noise and chaos matters. If students are too distracted, learning is impeded, not increased. Mark Barnes shares 3 Ways to De-Clutter Students’ Brains.

  1. Rethink your grades.

If students are brought into the discussion about their progress, they are more invested in the outcome. SE2R is a feedback system designed by Mark Barnes (Assessment 3.0) that gives students and teachers a common vocabulary for assessment: Summarize, Explain, Redirect, and Resubmit.

  1. Take the Classroom Cribs Challenge to redesign your classroom.

The physical environment of a classroom has a great effect on student engagement and learning. Erin Klein is a classroom teacher who studied interior design and writes on the importance of creative spaces that allow for deeper collaboration and creativity.

Written by

Ariel is the Acquisitions Editor for Technology and General Methods at Corwin, and editor of Corwin Connect. When not working, you can usually find Ariel doing yoga at the beach, reading with a glass of wine, or writing a book review on her blog, One Little Library.

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