Engagement by teachers for students and parents

Engagement is an interesting term to which Hattie, in the release of his second book, the Sequel to Visible Learning (2008), adds a new layer of understanding. His research over 40 years, drawing from more than 130,000 studies involving more than 400 million students worldwide, concludes that the number one factor that impacts student learning in the classroom is engaging teaching.

Engagement in the traditional sense of marriage is a commitment. In business, it is thought that an engaged employee is one who is involved and invested in their job and hence less likely to leave the company. Some say that engagement requires all aspects of a person, from psychological and cognitive to emotional and behavioral.

In an interview with Brett Henebery for The Educator on 27 Feb 2023

 Hattie suggests that engagement involves less of the doing as schools are very busy places, always doing assignments, assessments, and completing activities – and more about what learning is taking place. Engagement, he suggests, turns into the challenge of learning. Hattie gives the example of when we are engaged in playing video games. The gamer is committed and strives to reach one level so that they can progress to the next level. The reward for the person playing the game is even more challenging goals and investing in the love of learning. To do this, the teacher needs to be aware of how much challenge is suitable for each student and differentiate the task accordingly while welcoming failure as part of the learning process.

Like when playing video games, being clear about what success means, providing feedback to move students from where they are to where they need to be, rewarding the attainment of success with even more challenging goals, and investing in the love of learning. “ Quoted in Henebery, The Educator 27 Feb 2023

Now is a good time, as we wind up the first term of schooling in Australia, to assess where students are and where they need to be. It is usually a time of providing feedback to students and parents in some form, whether it be in individual interviews or formal reports.

A suggestion is that as teachers write the report or conduct the interview note on your class list

  • Who were you able to connect with, and who didn’t turn up?
  • Where is each student in the learning pit, and what evidenced-based high-probability intervention will work with this child in your context?
  • Who achieved one term of progress for one term of input?
  • What was your impact as a teacher on your student’s learning?
  • What more challenging goals do you have for each student to reward their attainment of success this term?
  • What role can parents play in encouraging students through the failures they will experience in learning?

 For more on the six most effective strategies for teachers to encourage parents in the home to assist their child go to www.cathyquinn.com.