Our whole school Teaching and Learning focus this year is based around engagement and motivation. How do we encourage our learners to be as active, engaged and reflective as possible?
The sub-types of emotional engagement and agentic engagement suit our context and our students best if we want our work to lead to a change of teaching practice and a change in student learning behaviour. Johnmarshall Reeve’s article, ‘A Self-determination Theory Perspective on Student Engagement’, made for interesting reading.(1)
Thursday briefings need to support this work. With the slogan ‘Making the Ordinary Extraordinary’, a box full of ordinary everyday objects and a pedestal with a glitter covered lid (allowing for the big reveal) this term’s T&L briefings have their format.
Each week an ordinary object is hidden on top of a pedestal beneath the glitter covered lid and is won by a department. The department must work during the week to make the best use of the resource in the classroom. The resources have been chosen in order to provide an opportunity to increase emotional engagement through creating an element of curiosity. Several of the motivational triggers – suggested by Andy Griffiths and Mark Burns in ‘Engaging Learners’ – imagination, challenge, choice and fun also come into play. Agentic engagement can also be encouraged as students offer suggestions as to how the resources might be best used in the lesson.
The first week saw 750 flexible drinking straws revealed. Our Comms department made good use of these to: groups students, create food webs, develop roleplays dealing with the subject of bullying and for creating models in a sex-ed lesson.
This week the PE department have won 200 foam dice. And the ordinary objects will keep coming. Some of them you will have already used this morning even before coming to work.
1. Reeves in ‘Handbook of Research on Student Engagement’, ed. Christenson, Reschly and Wylie, Springer 2013