Engaging Students, what does that mean to you?  Does it mean the purchase of technology (new computers, or tablets)?  Does it mean the use of new instrumentation (cell phones in the classroom, 3-D images, or whiteboards)? Does it mean new curriculum?  Does it mean stepping into the 21st Century (Which we have been in for 11 years.)?

This has been a topic of discussion among many educators and as time goes by it will continue to be a big concern.  What is being done in our classrooms?  Is there one magical way to engage?

It is interesting what Phillip Schlechty states in his book, Engaging Students: The Next Level of Working on the Work.  He talks about students not learning from teacher’s performances but from their own performances. Some of the ideas that Schlechty shares in his book consist of having the teacher be more of a guide through the learning process.  The teacher would lead students through discussions and action planning.  Letting students take control of their learning, and use the school as a network, would definitely be a step in a different direction.  He also mentions that relationships, and the work assigned directly impacts student’s performance.  This proves true both in a learning environment as well as a working environment.  If you don’t have a connection/relationship with those you are working with, a person generally doesn’t have the passion to succeed or go above and beyond what is needed.  Could you image students going beyond a book report and doing outside research on a topic or inspiring others to learn more about a certain subject, just because their teacher connected with them and got them excited about learning?

Youtube has a video, Do you Teach or Do you Educate?, that coincides with what Schlechty talks about with teachers being more of a guide in education.   Another video done by students in Birmingham primary school, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZokqjjIy77Y&feature=related), reflects some of the ways students would be more engaged in their classroom, to include some of the tools they could use in their path of learning.

Do you think Schlechty is right in the ways of engaging our students?  Are there other ideas we should try when trying to engage our students? What are you doing in your classrooms?

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