Saturday, October 26, 2013

Reaction to Planning For Engagement: 6 Strategies for the Year

     I am currently hosting a student teacher, and this experience has done much to confirm my hypothesis; many teachers don't really have "classroom management" problems, rather, they have "engagement" problems. When students aren't invested in the work they are performing, there will, of course, be an increase in disruptive behaviors. And so, when sorting through my feedly account, I came across an article highlighting just that-ways to increase engagement in the classroom.
    Of the strategies discussed by Joshua Block in the blog post, providing authentic assignments and allowing students to present and perform, I think, are the most powerful. Firstly, I feel that students need to see that their work can be connected to real-world tasks- therefore, I often engage them in tasks that real historians will do. I don't necessarily teach the American Revolution through textbooks, instead- a rich variety of primary sources offers the the details I am hoping for students to acquire. By analyzing these primary sources as historians do/did, students gain a much deeper understanding of the topic than what a textbook might provide.
     I am also a fan of allowing students to present their work to people other than just...me. When possible and appropriate, my students engage in gallery walks to provide both affirming and adjusting feedback on the work of their peers. Knowing that their peers will evaluate them often pushes students to succeed at the task- they don't want to be the student that receives only adjusting feedback! Both strategies, I think, are key to increasing student engagement.

References: J Block (2013, October 1). Planning for engagement: 6 strategies for the year. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/planning-for-engagement-6-strategies-joshua-block