Education & Family

Reimagining student engagement as a continuum of learning behaviors

This kind of engagement is characterised by college students’ compliant conduct and willingness to do what the trainer has asked them to do. Behaviors related to this sort of engagement embody being on job, being targeted, paying attention, doing work, and responding to trainer questions. In relation to partaking with friends, that is restricted to working in teams or pairs when directed to take action by the trainer. When expectations for engagement sit at this stage, the main focus is on listening to the trainer, following the trainer’s directions, and finishing the duties which have been assigned by the trainer.


“Students who are engaged ask a lot of questions, are keen and curious, want to know more, and think actively about what they are working on.”

When college students transfer from passive compliance to this extra energetic kind of engagement, we see indicators that they’re personally invested in and discovering worth in what they’re learning. Behaviors embody exhibiting curiosity and curiosity, displaying indicators they’re having fun with learning, asking questions on what they’re learning, partaking in discussions concerning the learning, and considering extra deeply about what they’re learning. This contains eager to share their questions, concepts, and experiences with friends throughout the learning expertise, both as half of a whole-class dialogue or throughout small-group actions. When expectations for engagement sit at this stage, the main focus is on deeper considering, extra energetic involvement in learning, and college students feeling that what they’re learning is each attention-grabbing and significant.


“That was necessary to them. That was the main focus that was driving them, and each thought they’d was what they wished to do. They saved asking, ‘When are we having time to plan?’”

In this most energetic kind of engagement, college students are striving towards a objective they’ve set for themselves, one that’s personally significant to them and includes a sure stage of problem. We typically check with this sort of problem as “hard fun.” Behaviors related to driving embody setting targets for learning; partaking in self-reflection, self-assessment, and self-evaluation; looking for suggestions to assist them enhance; and in search of methods to increase their learning. At this stage, engagement with friends can also be at its highest stage. This can embody actively collaborating with others to study collectively and actively looking for out friends as a useful supply of suggestions and assist throughout learning. When expectations for engagement are at this stage, the main focus is on wanting college students to efficiently “drive” their very own learning, both individually or collaboratively, and make use of out there assets (together with friends) to assist enhancements in learning.

When college students are driving, they’re changing into masters of their very own learning and fascinating in behaviors attribute of self-regulated learning. This contains setting targets for bettering, making a plan for enchancment, taking actions and utilizing methods to attain that objective, monitoring and evaluating progress towards the objective, and utilizing suggestions to information enchancment.

Three kinds describe college students disengaging from the deliberate learning exercise; they vary from passive withdrawal by way of actively making an attempt to disrupt the learning surroundings.


“They’ve just pulled the blinds down; you can see them automatically glaze over, and it doesn’t matter what you’re saying — you’ve lost them.”

Students who’re passively disengaged within the learning expertise are sometimes described as “flying under the radar.” They are usually not attempting to name attention to themselves or trigger any disruption, however they’re additionally not taking part within the deliberate learning expertise. Behaviors which are related to this kind of disengagement embody showing distracted, not making eye contact, daydreaming, bodily withdrawing from the group, staring out the window, and missing participation or effort. In this passive kind of disengaging from the learning expertise, college students are solely partaking with friends when directed to take action by the trainer. This could contain sitting with a group as half of a group exercise however not interacting with others throughout the exercise.

Some college students actively have interaction in not being seen to the trainer, hoping by no means to be asked questions at school, and seeming like they’re there however not. While this will appear to be a innocent kind of disengaging, the influence of passive disengagement on learning is just as serious as the more active forms of disengaging.


“They find excuses to go out of the room a lot, or go to their bag a lot. They sit on the computer and find other things to do instead of staying on task.”

Students at this stage of disengagement are sometimes described as being off job and actively seeking to keep away from partaking within the deliberate learning expertise. Unlike the withdrawing kind, college students are usually not as involved with going unnoticed, and they’re actively looking for out different issues to do quite than passively disengaging. Behaviors related to this kind of disengagement embody shifting across the room unnecessarily, being off job, asking to depart the room, and being unprepared. In relation to partaking with friends, college students could have interaction in off-task conduct like speaking or taking part in with supplies with different college students who’re additionally seeking to keep away from partaking within the deliberate learning exercise.


“They go around to someone else’s desk and start an argument about something — goofing around, being loud, and causing a bit of trouble.”

In this kind of disengagement, college students are actively disrupting the learning surroundings or explicitly refusing to take part within the deliberate learning expertise. Behaviors embody arguing with the trainer or friends, being noncompliant, attempting to distract others, and shifting across the room in a method that causes a disruption to learning (e.g., running round, rolling round on chairs). In relation to partaking with friends, college students at this stage would possibly get into arguments with friends or attempt to distract them by making an attempt to draw their attention away from the deliberate learning exercise. They might be actively engaged in being disruptive, and reprimands can reinforce these behaviors by exhibiting the disruptive college students and their friends how profitable they are often of their disrupting function.

This continuum presents a further vantage level from which we are able to take into consideration student engagement, this time from the perspective of the trainer, and an expanded vocabulary for discussing engagement throughout the context of classroom learning.

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