Day 108 (of 188) Engagement vs “Just on task” inspired by @justintarte

Day 108 (of 188) Engagement vs “Just on task” inspired by @justintarte

I have been chatting a lot about Learning vs Task Completion – aka “the game of school”.

Today a picture tweeted by Dr Justin Tarte anchored it nicely:


Because it’s not always easy to “see engagement”. Quiet seat work does not = engagement; and only being worried about whether or not something needs to be memorized for a test ain’t Learning.

My oldest girl plays the game of school well. She is intrinsically motivated and completes all tasks to the best of her abilities……or at least completes a task to meet the expectations of her teacher….

Her brother (scary-smart is how she describes him) doesn’t play the game well. He doesn’t do the worksheets well. His General Anxiety often makes it look like his behaviours are those of a disengaged learner (and even tonight he confided that much of the day he just wants to step outside the class and keep on going) – but his teacher describes him as a sponge. So much so that he was working with his younger sister on French – helping with pronounciations – but he hasn’t officially taken French. That’s been his usual Learning Assistance block or time where he is working on ‘other work’ – but dang if he didn’t learn some stuff …. via ….. osmosis? Or at least partial engagement!

What is engagement? I think it’s where good questions are asked by Al, in the process of a feedback loop; not necessarily getting to answers but always asking good questions (not yes/no or single-response questions). Today I got the sense my learners were engaged when a) we were all surprised by the bell and b) one girl asked if we could do geniushour a second time each week….!

Engagement… it what you think it is? I know I reflect on it often….even when I think ‘we got it’.

About technolandy

Educator in BCs Sunny Shuswap Pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Utilizing ePortfolios & Descriptive Feedback
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