By Evie Wiseman
We hear the phrase “student engagement” a lot, and for good reason. Education professionals and advocates are quickly realizing that even with well-developed curriculums, actionable assessment tools and innovative resources, capturing students’ interest and motivating them to take ownership of their learning experiences are key levers to successful educational outcomes.
While the research is evolving, agreed upon drivers of student engagement include providing welcoming and culturally relevant classroom environments, establishing high-expectations and creating individualized pathways to success. Armed with this information, our nation’s most skilled teachers are addressing student engagement during lesson planning and instruction.
Teachers are employing innovative education strategies such as increasing “Wait Time,” creating inclusive classroom environments and implementing individualized learning. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, educators are using different methods to address the unique needs of each classroom and each student.
The benefits of this model can be seen not only in improved student achievement, but also in students’ stories as they recall the moments their teachers and school leaders invested in their success. Rather than a one-time task, these educators are engaging in ongoing dialogues and continually working to make learning a valuable experience.
Consider a lesson that organizations and district leaders can learn from these teachers: Thoughtful investment, not mandates, yield sustainable outcomes towards our goals. A top-down leadership style is often met with resistance, which can breed a culture of distrust. But, as demonstrated by our most successful students, true achievement only happens when leaders invest the time and energy to engage stakeholders in fulfilling the vision and mission of the organization.