A Student Engagement Checklist

All of us strive for our students to be highly engaged in class.  As most of you have probably experienced, though, it can be hard to achieve.  That’s because true engagement is the result of a strong lesson happening in a classroom with a strong culture.  Here is a sort of checklist you can use to see which ingredients for engagement are natural strengths in your lessons and what components you may need to work on:

Strong Lesson

There’s a clear purpose or goal that the students understand. Keep in mind that just because you state the objective or have it on the board, that doesn’t always mean your students are with you on what the goal is.

The lesson is relevant to the students in some way.  It could be personally relevant, related to a goal they’re invested in, or relevant to college.  As with the purpose, just because we think it should be relevant and we relate it so something, if they don’t feel like it’s relevant, you may have to take a different tack or work on investing them in the larger goals for your class.

The lesson is brain-friendlythis will be the focus of our next blog!

The lesson has smooth procedures.  If they can’t get into a good ‘work-flow’ and dig deep into the material, they can’t be engaged, so make sure the procedures are simple and/or easy to explain and that they allow for plenty of work time for the kids.

Strong classroom culture

Students know and trust you and the expectations for your class.

Students feel comfortable and secure in your classroom.

It can be hard to make sure all of these components come together every day, so start by relying on your strengths.  If you’re great at building classroom culture, that can carry you through a less-than-perfect lesson while you’re working on your lesson planning skills.

If you are stronger at lesson planning, focus on maximizing those strengths while also taking small steps every day to improve your classroom culture.  Here are two resources that might help – Leading with Positivity and Building Relationships with All Students.

6 Ways to Step up the Sense of Urgency in Your Classroom may also help with engagement and culture.

Are you a school leader? Check out this resource if you have teachers struggling with classroom culture.

Previously published on February 14, 2014

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