We often hear that students or engaged in learning, classes are engaged in learning, that a particular task is engaging or that particular strategies such as games based learning or project based learning are engaging but how do you know they are engage students in learning?
Some have argued that engagment is one of the most misused term in education. There is a difference between a student being on task and in task. A student who is on task may not be engaged they are “doing” the task but they may be cognitively disconnected from the task and not emotional commected to the task.
To be explicit I will follow the definition used in the Fair Go project that suggests student engagement operates at three levels:
- cognititive – thinking (head)
- affective – feeling (heat)
- operative – doing (hands)
So how do you know if a student is engaged (in task) that is they have their engaged their head, heart and hands in the task? Is engagement too difficult to measure within a classroom?
Do measures of enagement include:
- the number of questions a students asks? Especially those the teacher does not know the answer?
- the time the student spends on the task outside normal classroom times?
- the discussions on the topic?
What are your measures of student engagement in the classroom?