Blogs on Student Engagement

Blogs on Student EngagementRSS
Abbie KopfFebruary 14, 2014

Editor's note:This post was coauthored by Philomena Jones, a Big Thought Fellow with a focus on literacy development and arts education. Her background is business writing, recruiting and K-college public and private education.

Bookworms everywhere mourned the state of our country when Pew released a poll that found 23 percent of Americans didn't read a single book in the previous year. Things aren't looking particularly encouraging for future generations, either. Experts estimate that only 1/3 of parents regularly read to their children, even though reading plays an immense role in cognitive development.

Read More
Terry HeickFebruary 14, 2014

Learning is a culture.

It starts as a culture with the students as human beings needing to understand their environment. And it ends as a culture with students taking what we give them and using it in those physical and digital environments they call home.

Even the practices that promote or undermine the learning process itself are first and foremost human and cultural artifacts. Literacy, curiosity, self-efficacy, ambition and other important agents of learning are born in the native environments of students' homes.

Further, learning is ongoing, perishable and alive -- just like culture.

Read More
Bob LenzFebruary 13, 2014

Good news for students and schools: A new study, released last week by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE), looks closely at four schools that are achieving positive outcomes for low-income students of color. The Stanford findings provide independent evidence that deeper learning strategies and student-centered practices increase academic achievement.

Read More
Donna Wilson, Ph.D.February 11, 2014

Editor's note: This post is co-authored by Marcus Conyers who, with Donna Wilson, is co-developer of the M.S. and Ed.S. Brain-Based Teaching degree programs at Nova Southeastern University. They have written several books, including Five Big Ideas for Effective Teaching: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education Research to Classroom Practice.

Enhancing Student Commitment

Explicitly teaching students about neuroplasticity can have a transformative impact in the classroom. A central facet of our work as teacher educators is teaching about how the brain changes during learning. Many teachers have told us that these findings have had a positive effect on their expectations for their students and on students' perceptions of their own abilities.

Read More
Joshua BlockFebruary 10, 2014

When collaboration goes wrong, it can be toxic for learning and classroom culture. We are all familiar with the scene: a group of students that is supposed to be completing a collaborative project has splintered off into dysfunctional factions. Maybe it's one student who has sullenly separated her- or himself from the rest of the group, or maybe the group has become two non-communicative teams with separate visions. Sometimes these conflicts lead to resentments that have the potential for long-term damage to the classroom community.

Read More
Joe HirschFebruary 6, 2014

Worried about the shrinking presence of empathy in our schools? I know how you feel.

With classrooms operating more like grade factories, it's hard to make the case for school-driven empathy. Faced with an endless cycle of memorize, drill, spit back and test, teachers have become the wardens of a new educational reality that pits the head against the heart. Even if educators manage to skate past the dizzying array of standards and value-added evaluations, they must still contend with this fundamental divide: academic rigor, with its unflinching emphasis on measurable success, seems strangely at odds with emotional intelligence, a soufflé of moods and feelings. Which leaves many to wonder -- can empathy feel its way back into the classroom?

Read More
Sarah Wike LoyolaFebruary 5, 2014

Feeling outdated, not connected, or even totally lost in the digital age? Well, let me assure you, droning on and on about grammatical structures is a surefire way to quickly lose student interest in the world language classroom. Instead, embrace something which truly interests the millennial student: social media. Utilizing it in the classroom will give your students practical, engaging ways to communicate in the language you teach. The 21st century learner is not wired to memorize; instead, her or she is inclined to create, connect and collaborate. Social media is the perfect medium for us, their teachers, to reach them.

Read More
Lori DesautelsJanuary 29, 2014

Feeling Felt

Over the past few weeks, I have learned deeply. My students were paramount teachers as I was privileged to share a part of their interior worlds, their "private logic" that is a culmination of accumulated beliefs, experiences, values, thoughts and feelings. This inner world is often kept tucked away unless an environment is created that allows for feelings of safety and an untainted sense of belonging. When any child or adult enters into a space that accepts, inspires and affirms their "ever-changing personhood," we have finally found the key that unlocks the door to extravagant learning! What is that key? That golden key is connection, nothing more.

Read More
Todd FinleyJanuary 28, 2014

Since the 1990s, I’ve mothballed the lecture -- "where the teacher talks and hopefully the students listen" -- with other scorned practices: popcorn reading, multiple-choice quizzes, test-prep drills, lower-level "recitation" questions, crossword puzzles and the like. But the fact is that few practices are completely bad or good given the infinite variety of students, curriculum choices and instructional strengths. Besides, making teachers wrong for professional choices blunts their power. I'll come back to that idea.

Read More
Ainissa RamirezJanuary 28, 2014

Science role models were key to my journey. A pinnacle moment was when I watched a show on PBS called 3-2-1 Contact, which featured a segment with a teenaged black girl solving problems. When I saw her doing science, I was irrevocably hooked.

Read More