When I think of learner engagement, I find it helpful to think about engaging in learning and engaging because the learner knows he is important and cared about (belonging or connecting with your learners). Both will improve student achievement.
Many RPS schools are in process of administering the TTFM survey. The last leadership meeting focused on reading and dialogue regarding student engagement. As a result an RPS principal asked staff to read about student engagement and as reflective practitioners, they were also asked to share one idea they would use in the coming week to engage the learners in their classroom. One staff member wrote about what she was going to do and shared two documents with ideas about engaging learners. Another teacher wrote about putting more emphasis on student interest.
I am a fan of sticky notes. I was struck by this piece written by one of the teachers.
“One thing I got while reading the article was taking the time to let all my kids know that I care about them. My plan for the morning was to put a post it note on the inside of each of their lockers telling them something I really like about each of them. I found this weekend using communication through Igo that they really like that one on one written communication from me and I also wanted to let them know something I find special about them. In line with our focus on respect this month it is respect for each other and respect for ourselves. I want to keep the warm fuzzy post it notes going in the room and hopefully with the addition of a pack of post it notes in each of their lockers at the end of the week they will feel the need to start using them in the manner I am.”
Imagine the impact of us letting our kids know that we care about them every day. All it takes is a bit of time, modelling and a pack of sticky notes. Eventually they will be doing this for one another and demonstrating care, kindness and respect.