How Can We Build Student Engagement and an Educational Community?


Research worldwide tells us that this is important because it’s associated with a wide number of life outcomes. Students who are not engaged with their learning are likely to learn at a slower pace and, of course, achieve worse. That’s research from 2004. John Hattie, whose meta-study of effective teaching methods is well known, points out that motivation and engagement in schools have a higher effect on student achievement than numerous other in-school factors. In other words, it’s a kind of golden key.

Research also shows that engagement in learning at school decreases with age. The longer students are in school, the more disengaged they get. And we know that disengagement is a far bigger problem for the most disadvantaged children. Numerous studies from across the world have shown that. So if you’re poor, if you’re from a one-parent family, if you’re from an ethnic minority your levels of engagement with schooling are very likely to be much lower. However, I want to pose the question of what we really mean by engagement. I want to distinguish between engagement in learning and engagement in schooling: we don’t think that they are the same thing.

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