Students of all ages have the best academic outcomes when learning by doing, rather than sitting through lectures or watching videos. The science of student engagement shows our students are most engaged when actively participating in their learning, as opposed to viewing knowledge and skills from the outside looking in. The value of engagement is highlighted in an abundance of scientific studies on effective pedagogy.
Further, these are unique times, and educators worldwide are faced with a momentous challenge: catching up millions of students after the pandemic disruptions. Sadly, the consensus among the latest research is that students missed out on anywhere from one half to one full school year of math learning during 2020-2021.
There are so many reasons for educators to find effective ways to fill the pandemic learning gaps, but one data point is particularly compelling. An analysis by McKinsey and Company estimates that unless steps are taken to address 2020’s learning gaps, today’s students may earn $49,000 to $61,000 less over their lifetime owing to the impact of the pandemic on their schooling. It’s definitely not too late to recover what was lost, especially considering the excellent tools available today.
So where do we go from here? Teachers can’t afford to lose the attention and motivation of students at what could very likely become the most critical moment of their education. Educators are placing a renewed focus on the power of student engagement.
The Engaged Learning Mindset
Classroom teachers and academics alike understand the value of engaged learning. The Project for Educational Research that Scales (PERTS) is an innovative non-profit with the goal of discovering science-backed educational strategies that can be applied to any classroom setting. Their Mindset Kit project has identified three mindsets that research shows are linked to better student engagement:
- Purpose and relevance
- Growth mindset
- Sense of belonging
Students immediately perk up and give their attention when they care about what they’re learning. As teachers, we are responsible for empowering students with the knowledge and skills to connect the dots to see the relevance of school, and giving that nudge to emphasize real-world connections in the curricula. But when it clicks, purpose and relevance can do wonders in the classroom. Research shows that teachers make the greatest difference when they put in the extra effort to show students beforehand the relevance of the material to their lives. Sure, it’s another responsibility on the already-full plate teachers have, but conveying relevance pays off massively in the long run. Excellent educators seek genuine buy-in from our students, and purpose and relevance promote engagement in ways that few other strategies can.
Engagement Feeds the Growth Mindset
Learning is a process, one that is different for every individual student. Even the highest achieving students will encounter challenges and impediments along the way. How one responds to these roadblocks can determine the future of their academic journey. There’s immense value in fostering a growth mindset among all students. It’s okay to make mistakes and stumble, as long as we learn from our missteps, assess what went wrong and give it another try.
Promoting a sense of belonging is key. When possible, provide students with personalized feedback. Copy and paste just doesn’t inspire buy-in and engagement like genuine teacher feedback does. Students know they matter in your class when you provide them with real, tangible feedback addressed to their unique needs and accomplishments.
How can students remain engaged in learning with all-day access to technology? There’s a science to engagement. Teachers know how to put together a slideshow or print out worksheets, but with technology at hand during school, there’s a sense of urgency with regards to engagement. If students are bored and out of focus, they have the world of the internet at their fingertips. Engagement is a critical strength of Boardworks classroom supplements. Lessons and activities are interactive from day one, giving students opportunities to apply what they’ve learned while demonstrating growth.
Improving resource consistency is a research-backed strategy that opens up opportunities for long-term, cross-curricular student engagement. Boardworks presents a turnkey solution for addressing consistency across courses and grade levels. Having students navigate from one Boardworks lesson to the next is a seamless transition. There’s no need for passwords or complicated logins. Ease of access and consistency across grade levels and subjects promotes enriched learning and discourages distraction. Imagine a classroom of students who know exactly how to navigate engaging curriculum supplements from day one.
Ready to Give It a Try?
Boardworks offers a multi-faceted solution to common obstacles facing 1:1 school districts. Interactivity, customization, consistency and ease of access are just some of the many strengths of Boardworks classroom resources. Schedule a personalized demo to experience how Boardworks turn-key curriculum supports provide refreshing, aligned and customizable content that ensures success in a 1:1 learning environment.