I was fortunate today to undertake some professional development facilitated by Dan Haesler. The focus of the day was student well being and engagement. Dan shared current data on aspects which can affect student well being and led us in meaningful discussion on these issues.
We then looked at student engagement, we discussed what engagement truly means. Can you have a class full of students all working on the task at hand and not be engaged? Yes! We discussed students who are compliant or conform to expectation but may not be necessarily engaged. I have spoken with colleagues, as I'm sure you all have, about lessons that have gone well, where your students were engaged. Were they? Is it as easy to judge as seeing a harmonious classroom with everyone doing the set work? It's hard, as a teacher, to think that it might not be the case, but if we don't challenge these conceptions then how do we begin to create engaging experiences for our students. I am always looking for ways to increase engagement for my students, and I have to admit it is not as easy as you think. What you think is relevant or interesting to a teenager isn't always the case, but I keep trying.
We discussed the use of technology, because we all know it is engaging. I think Dan put it the best way when he said "boring stuff on the iPad is still boring". Technology opens up a huge opportunity for engagement, but I think we still only have the door ajar. I can't wait until we are all brave enough to let the door swing wide open.