I’ve been doing a lot of work (and writing) lately on engagement. Student Engagement is seen by most educators as the holy grail to improving student achievement – learning can’t really happen without it.
Whilst the past decade has seen an overall improvement in standards, more recently the upwards performance trend has stalled. And it’s widely felt that the tough accountability framework, which has been at the centre of all UK policy initiatives, has largely served to exacerbate disengagement. Whilst the current ‘template’ approach to teaching and learning (3-stage lesson plans et al) works well for some students, for others it has made lessons predictable and boring. Increasing numbers are voting with their feet, becoming truants and NEETs (not in Employment, Education or Training). Today’s student is also acutely aware of the contrast between the learning environment of the classroom (where copying from the board is still the most regularly reported task, according to students1) and their media-rich, socially-networked learning lives outside school.
I’m currently writing a pamphlet on Engagement for the Learning Futures programme – it should be out early in the New Year. You can get hold of it by going to the Learning Futures website and signing up for the newsletter.
1Ipsos MORI Survey of Secondary School Pupils, 2007