Engagement- what is it? After 22 years of teaching, I sometimes struggle with defining it, but I know it when I see it.
As a middle school teacher, I have had the opportunity to work closely with 3 other content areas. I get to watch the students work intently on science labs- engaged. I hear them discuss the Gold Medal problems in math- challenged and engaged. I watched and heard their rap practices for American Cultures- engaged. And last week, I had the students write in response to an article about fame and its connection to crazy behavior. They wrote one and half pages, and when it was time to share/ discuss almost every hand went up. I saw and hear engagement.
From these four scenarios, I can conclude that activities that meaningful, relevant, challenging, and social contain some of the key parts to engagement. Once you experience this, once you see your students truly engaged , you want more. What was really interesting was that technology was not a part of any of those tasks. This was a refreshing reminder- good teaching and student engagement are not dependent upon technology.
Renee Owens, mother of two, teaches 8th grade Communication Arts (1-1) at Hershey Middle School in Chocolatetown, PA. PA Keystone Tech. Integrator/ Mentor, Glogster Ambassador and a DEN STAR. A fanatic Steelers and Penguins fan, a loyal Pirates fan, a lover of reading, writing, teaching, technology and learning – always learning. Follow her on Twitter @rowens1.