Nowadays, educators use a great variety of methods to motivate students, foster their interest, and encourage enthusiasm for learning. It is possible to say that different components of engaged instruction may significantly facilitate class management because they allow teachers to improve communication with students, establish healthy relationships with them, understand learners’ needs and interests, and, consequently, achieve better academic outcomes.
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Engaging students in education process may be challenging because the concept of engaged learning implies a holistic and effective approach. Nevertheless, engaged learning worth all the intellectual and psychological teachers’ efforts in increasing student motivation as it is observed that engaged instruction give a chance to gain multiple benefits. As mentioned by Hryniuk-Adamov (2010), when students are motivated to learn, they show a keen interest in voluntary searching for knowledge, and accomplishments; gaining intellectual, emotional, and spiritual experiences.
In this way, engaged learning is strongly associated with the increased student autonomy and determination to accomplish even the most difficult tasks. In the traditional class management models, the education process is primarily driven by teachers, and, in such class environment, it may be difficult to keep all students engaged in learning because it is almost impossible to take into account the interests of all learners during lesson planning. As a result, a teacher may find it difficult to manage the class and achieve the desired academic results in all students. However, by allowing autonomy and encouraging students to be more responsible for own work, a teacher delivers greater student engagement in the learning process.
To increase students’ enthusiasm and accountability to education, researchers suggest various differentiation techniques, thematic engagement, appropriate class structuring, and learning models. For example, it is possible to implement flipped classroom model in which the lecture part of the class, that is usually provided by a teacher during the lesson, is given to students outside of class (e.g., online) while the learning practices which are normally assigned to learners as homework are accomplished during the lesson (Enfield, 2016).
This method is associated with many advantages as it implies student independence and allows them to select the pace of work they find convenient. Additionally, it considered that flipped instructional model provides an opportunity to use class time in a more efficient and creative way by fostering the supportive environment for the application and practice of new skills and competencies, as well as deeper discussion of lesson content which increases better comprehension of material by students (Enfield, 2016). Flipped instruction helps teachers to remain more flexible and responsive to student needs, and these features are essential to engaged learning.
Student engagement is directly related to the quality of instruction. Along with being flexible and cohesive, it should be diversified, deliberate, and intensive (Seo, Brownell, Bishop, & Dingle, 2008). It is observed that when a teacher has a strong sense of purpose, he or she becomes able to engage students in the learning process more quickly (Seo et al., 2008). Students should not guess what their instructor tries to accomplish and should understand what to do. To ensure that learners are not bored, teachers may use such instructional strategies as asking engaging and challenging questions about students’ experiences to involve them in the discussion, or using different instructional materials, and activities. By diversifying instructional components according to particular students’ needs and promoting class collaboration, an educator may achieve better outcomes in practicing target skills without losing students’ attention.
The positive classroom environment is regarded as one of the key elements of engaged learning by many researchers. The classroom is a social environment, and teacher-student and peer interactions within any academic context significantly impact the course of children’s development (Ratcliff et al., 2011). Students’ misbehavior in this micro-social environment represents a great problem because it may create barriers to the establishment of trustful relations between students and teachers and may deteriorate the overall climate in the classroom. In this way, learning process may be affected in a negative way. However, an open, caring, and supportive attitude of a teacher help to smoothen the educational process by minimizing the risks of misbehavior.
According to Seo et al. (2008), to increase student engagement, teachers should treat learners with respect and encourage them to do the same in the interactions with both teachers and peers. A supportive environment is correlated with students’ willingness to participate in class activities (Seo et al., 2008). Therefore, teachers need to build good relationships with their students and show interest in their lives by asking personal questions. Additionally, an educator may use the knowledge about each student to develop an individualized approach to instruction and create connections between lesson content and individual social backgrounds of students. Thus, learning becomes more meaningful to students.
As it is observed by Hryniuk-Adamov (2010), a learner’s brain always searches for meaning, and looks for meaningful patterns and connections between constructs in throughout the process of education. It means that people tend to evaluate information through “personal lenses” and pay greater attention to the things they find personally significant (Hryniuk-Adamov, 2010, p. 350). Therefore, awareness of students’ interests, characters, and multicultural backgrounds; collaborative and supportive environment; development of the positive perception of self, abilities, and curriculum content in students can help teachers to add more meaning to the learning process and engage learners for participation in instructional activities. The holistic approach to instruction and stimulation of student engagement by multiple constructive means also help to avoid negative emotions in the classroom and to maintain productive and positive student behavior.
Enfield, J. (2016). The value of using an E-text in a flipped course. TechTrends,60(5), 449-455. Web.
Hryniuk-Adamov, C. (2010). Engaged learning. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(4), 349-352.
Ratcliff, N. J., Jones, C. R., Costner, R. H., Savage-David, E., & Hunt, G. H. (2011). The impact of misbehavior on classroom climate. The Education Digest, 77(2), 16-20.
Seo, S., Brownell, M. T., Bishop, A. G., & Dingle, M. (2008). Beginning special education teachers’ classroom reading instruction: Practices that engage elementary students with learning disabilities. Exceptional Children, 75(1), 97-122.