In a study of over 750 hours of classroom time in 30 high schools, 70 percent of high school students reported that they are bored at school every day, according to Harvard Graduate School of Education associate professor and researcher Jal Mehta.
Creating meaningful learning for students is a process involving many factors and the professional educator needs multiple tools to increase student engagement and motivation, while facilitating deeper learning. Dr. Mehta and his team interviewed parents, students and teachers about instruction and learning. He explains that deeper learning involves the coming together of identity, mastery and creativity.
Dr. Mehta's researchers said that learning deeply involves more than mastering a subject. "Students in deep-learning classrooms are able to explain why they are learning something, and to apply what they've learned." Students are asked to think critically, make connections and raise questions.
Some of the tools educators need to implement meaningful curriculum include:
Data Use and Goal Setting - Identifying the relevant data about your student population is a basic step in developing a curriculum. Knowing students' abilities is key to effective goal setting. Finding the relevant data sources that can improve student learning involves research. Evaluating, analyzing, prioritizing and integrating these data sources helps to set goals and create a meaningful curriculum.
Feedback and Analysis - Learning how to provide quality feedback to students is important in the improvement of student achievement and performance. Providing scores or grades is not enough feedback for students to understand what they are achieving (or not achieving). In addition to understanding how the things they are learning are relevant to their daily lives, students also need to be involved in the setting of goals.
Student Engagement - Students who are engaged generally do not cause discipline problems for teachers. This makes classroom management easier, which results in more time spent learning. According to school principal Jon Konen, keeping students engaged is arguably the most important aspect of teaching today. "Effective instruction can cure a rowdy behavior-ridden bunch of students. Through relationship building and a toolbox chock full of engagement strategies, a teacher can successfully turn a classroom around."
Dr. Maryellen Weimer, professor emerita of teaching and learning at Penn State Berks, says that student engagement is a multidimensional construct, composed primarily of three aspects: behavioral engagement, emotional engagement and cognitive engagement. Dr. Weimer discusses what student engagement looks like and how it includes more than classroom participation. Student engagement is "not all that cut and dried, not the automatic outcome of student interaction, and not an aspect of learning that works in isolation."
Become a Curriculum and Instruction Expert
Northwest Missouri State University offers a fully online program for educators who want to earn a Master of Science in Education (MSEd.) in Curriculum and Instruction. In this program, you'll focus on engagement, learning and achievement.
The focus of this online MSEd. program is to provide the best instructional strategies for student success. Courses emphasize technology, change management and student engagement. Specific courses target topics including data literacy and assessment for schools, feedback and goal setting, and culture and student engagement.
This 30-hour program is flexible, with multiple start dates and accelerated coursework that you can complete in as few as 12 months while continuing to work.
Learn more about Northwest's MSEd. in Curriculum and Instruction online program.
Sources:University of California, Merced: What Does Student Engagement Look Like?
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