Engagement. We all say that this is what we’re striving for when our students are in the classroom. We want our students to be engaged in whatever’s happening in our classroom. Normally that means getting your students excited about whatever it is that your class is studying.
But as we think about what it takes for any of us to learn something new, being engaged in the activities doesn’t guarantee learning. I can guarantee that in the next few days I will be engaged in hours of watching NCAA Basketball. The likelihood of any kind of deep learning happening in that time is not very high.
To get students to that deeper understanding, the learning needs to be meaningful. Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) says “Kids need to be empowered NOT engaged.” So how do we get there? Ferriter goes on to say that “Empowering students means giving kids the knowledge and skills to pursue their: Passions, Interests, Future.”
One of the things I believe in education is that we have great power to help our kids be excited about learning. The more student choice and voice we give, the more authentic and relevant approaches we take, the more we shift our students from engagement to empowerment.