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Breaking: Report reveals alarming trend

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Brett Henebery | 07 Feb 2017, 10:00 AM Agree 0
A new report shows student engagement is in bad shape. The Educator speaks with the report’s author to see how principals can help
  • Susan Hyde | 07 Feb 2017, 01:04 PM Agree 0
    The students at the www.asms.sa.edu.au where engagement levels are high, talk about being able to make choices as a key to their engagement. This points to a curriculum design where a range of opportunities are designed for students to enter the desired learning. If the learning design has different ways of connecting to the desired learning outcome then students can decide how they will approach the learning. The issue also talks to the context for the learning. If they cant see the connection they may not engage. Interdisciplinary themes are very useful for learning design as they can offer more entry connections. The issue also goes to the mix of students. Larger classes of cross aged groups with more that one teacher can create more resources for the students and encourage them to work collaboratively. Schools could create larger spaces to accommodate a collaborative learning space. Students like to help each other, they like to share what they know, they might feel less self-conscious if they aren't sure of something.
  • Steve Francis | 07 Feb 2017, 05:29 PM Agree 0
    Engaging students is challenging for a number of reasons. The attention spans of students appear to have shrunk in recent years through access to digital technology. Respect for authority and the status of teaching have both fallen in recent times. These declines are accompanied by an outsourcing of parenting as many parents struggle to make ends meet and juggle competing demands and roles.
    The report highlights the importance of providing practical support to teachers in implementing effective classroom management strategies and provide engaging learning experiences.

    Part of the process should include seeking formative feedback from students about what is working in the classroom and what isn’t. If the teacher’s approach is not working for the majority of students in the class then, as a professional that teacher has a responsibility to reflect on their practices and make the changes necessary. “What is taught and the way it is taught are crucial. But creating a good learning environment in the classroom is necessary too”.

    Great teachers already seek feedback from their students on a regular basis and use this to reflect on their practice. A number of schools are experiencing great success using instruments such as www.SurveyMyClass.com.au
    However, many teachers fear and are not open to the feedback from their students. Many of the teachers who are dismissive of the student’s feedback are the ones who need to hear it most.

    Teachers who fail to engage their students and are not open to reflecting on why this is the case and what they can do to make the learning experience more engaging for their students do the teaching profession and their colleagues a disservice.
  • Dr Brian Annan | 08 Feb 2017, 09:45 AM Agree 0
    The media report and Susan Hyde make excellent points about what teachers and school leaders can do for students to become more engaged. No point repeating those - agree with them all and schooling systems world-wide are working hard on curriculum design and classroom pedagogies to reduce disengagement. Those educator-led curriculum and pedagogy developments need to be balanced with students taking more responsibility to engage themselves in their learning. Students can map out and analyse their learning situations and identify their level of engagement and then make decisions about how they could take more responsibility. Last year, we thoroughly enjoyed talking about that balance with Henry and Deborah Grossek's teachers in Melbourne. They were introduced to Infinity Learning Maps - http://infinitylearn.org/ as a way of replacing passive and contientious compliance with active and more connected ways of learning. The gamebreaker is to position students as decisions makers to improve the way they are learning-how-to-learn. Energy levels and excitement went up as students, with support from teachers and parents, focused on improving aspects of positive engagement in learning, as distinct from teachers and parents stamping out disengagement by doing more things for students.
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