The Differences Between Engagement and Compliance
Engagement is a significant part of learning. It’s not just a one-dimensional notion. Not only does it concern the student’s ability to pay attention in class, but he or she should be actively engaging as well. When students are actively engaged, they learn how to think independently.
However, far too often, schools mistake compliance with engagement.
The compliant learner does what’s expected. They follow directions, complete assignments, and get good grades, with just the right amount of participation, but their hearts aren’t truly in it. Just because a student is “behaving” and complying to the academic standards, if he or she isn’t actively making meaning out of the information, then active engagement still hasn’t been achieved. Engaged students focus on the learning and share their thoughts without being prodded.
While it’s easy to run a more compliant classroom, it doesn’t help students apply the effort they need to overcome challenging benchmarks, and in return, apply it to their lives.
Here are a few ways to ensure students are actively engaged:
Each student learns differently. Some interpret information much faster than others, so it is your job as the educator to make sure students are actually receiving the information, instead of just memorizing it. Additionally, what you are teaching should connect to a clear learning goal. Ask yourself, “what’s the point of learning this?” When students think beyond the lesson, and connect dots to the bigger question, then they are actively engaged.
Teach relevant context
Most students show up to class because that’s what they’re told to do. And, in doing so, often don’t understand the significance of the information taught. Students need to know that the work they’re being asked to do is important to them now. Therefore, educators must construct a curriculum designed for students beyond the teacher. Once they understand the importance of the subject, students have a much greater understanding of what they learn.
Create a supportive environment
Instead of criticizing a student’s work, or just handing out low grades, seek to understand why. The student may be struggling to understand the material, or perhaps there’s a disconnect with new concepts. Students get discouraged easily and become disengaged when their work is disparaged. Therefore, providing individual support goes a long way in keeping the student engaged.
In the days of Google and smartphone technology, teachers need to give assignments that extend beyond simple searchable answers. Moreover, assignments ought to provoke students to frame ideas, questions, or predictions. Lessons should also enable them to solve complex, real-world problems. And, this requires a deeper level of thinking.
What are some ways you keep your students actively engaged? Comment below.