Day 147 (of 184) Inquiry continued with engagement
Today I had the opportunity to talk more with a like-minded group of educators about Inquiry…specifically an inquiry themed around ‘engagement and technology’ – a topic I have championed since first booting up an Apple II.
Beyond just looking at students, one of the key points that has also come up is engaging teachers as learners…..engagement – one of the key words that keeps popping up in education.
How to engage the members of the learning community that are ‘not engaged in what is happening as learning? In particular raising awareness of ‘engagement’ does not look the same from person to person and how ‘body cues’ do not always reflect the same thing for different people: some people look out the window to distract themselves because they’ve disengaged, others use it as a method of reflection/connection because they are so engaged. I know I sometimes get a glassy look in my eyes when I am doing deep thinking (this is usually when my superintendent gets nervous…!) but I am still VERY engaged in what is happening….
Later I found this comment on twitter via Craig Kemp aka @mrkempnz: “70% of students pretend to concentrate in the class so that their teacher doesn’t ask them a question”
Is this misengagement?
And how many adults are doing the same- pacing quickly with a clipboard pretending to be ‘focused’…?
And my bigger question, how much of this engagement/disengagement murkiness is connected to ‘task completion methodologies’ – because I know that when I, my kids at home, and my students at school are connected to ‘learning’ the engagement is there. When the focus is on completing a task for a checklist (or to have enough data for a gradebook) the focus shifts to ‘just getting it done’.
In fact (speaking of serendipitous moments) I had a chat with a parent/teacher on the soccer pitch about homework and the frustration of her son with the amount of work he needed to complete – to the extent that he was essentially ‘just wanting to finish it’ – the concept of learning had stopped, and completing a checklist was paramount.
I don’t want my learning community to ever ‘go through the motions’ to look like they are engaged and motivated. I want the focus to be on the learning even if that means the ‘projects representing learning’ whatever they be (my bias is less worksheet completion) are fewer in number if they are richer in scope.
I don’t care about the quantity of work being done; I care about the quality of learning that is taking place.