Engaged Learning

Classmates and teacher
Engage in Learning!

What is student engagement? 

Student engagement is any learning strategy that requires the students to DO the learning; to actively engage in building understanding

Why does student engagement matter?

Student engagement is essential to lasting learning. The empirical evidence from studies of active, or engaged, learning is powerful. John Hattie and his team at Auckland University completed a meta-analysis of 253 studies about active learning. According to their findings, students in “active learning” environments performed a grade and a half better than those placed in control group environments of traditional, teacher-centered instruction.

How do I engage students in their learning?

1.) More student talk; Less teacher talk

Stop being the Sage on the Stage – it doesn’t work! Students in traditional, lecture style instruction retain about 5% of the information they hear. Students that are required to apply knowledge to in-depth processing by teaching others retain as much as 90% of learned material. When using large group instruction, be sure to “pass the pen” (or chalk, dry erase maker, or mouse). Allow students to share the spotlight (and their understanding) throughout the lesson.

2.) Super Signals for Inquiry of Understanding

On some occasions, it is most appropriate to offer teacher led instruction. In those instances, make sure to employ techniques for signaling understanding. Students can utilize poker chips or Solo cups (red, yellow, and green) on desks to signal teachers. These signals not only communicate information to teachers, they allow students to monitor their own understanding of new material. Teachers can also simply ask students to use a thumbs up/ thumbs down/ thumbs to the side signal.

3.) Student-Led Instruction

Whenever possible, encourage students to guide their own learning experiences. Utilize jigsaw methods, small group discussions, problem-based learning, and centers to promote student engagement in the learning experience. Brain science informs these instructional techniques. Increased use of the active learning strategies such as these enhance brain activity, neural connections, and lasting learning. And they are FUN! Students like learning when they are moving, talking, and sharing ideas.

4.) Reflection Rituals

Deep learning occurs when we THINK about what we have learned. Reflection is critical to the learning experience. Use the following strategies to engage students in reflective practice.

One-word SPLASH- write a one-word summary of the lesson

Exit Ticket – To leave class, students must answer a question regarding instruction

Journal Entries – Students write about their understanding

Quick Draw of Learning- an artistic HOTS summary

Collaboration Circles – In teams, students can share their takeaways from the lesson


Most importantly, be ENGAGED with your students! Know where they are in the learning process so that you can help them to move to the next level. When you have relationships with your students, you can vary engaged learning strategies in order to meet the needs of your varied students.


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