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Learner Engagement in Teacher Education  

Kay K. Seo and Scott Gibbons

In teacher education, learner engagement is an important instructional consideration. When students are physically, cognitively, and socially involved in the learning process, they can achieve high levels of productivity and develop a meaningful learning experience. In addition, learner engagement is closely associated with student retention and degree completion. To engage education students more meaningfully in the learning process, it is important to teach them in student-centered, technology-enriched environments. Education students should also become more engaged with the community and with other educators in order to build upon their pedagogy. Furthermore, it is important to offer them professional experiences, including student teaching practicum and teacher preparation programs, so that they can transform those experiences into their own teaching practices.

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Creating Engaging Classrooms for All Learners  

Diane Myers, Brandi Simonsen, and George Sugai

Actively engaging learners in the classroom has been associated with increases in learners’ academic and behavioral performance. Multiple empirically supported strategies exist for actively engaging learners, including increasing opportunities for learners to respond and planning highly engaging lessons. In support of these engagement strategies, educators also systematically implement empirically supported classroom management strategies to increase the likelihood of appropriate behaviors and decrease the likelihood of inappropriate behaviors. These classroom management strategies include: (a) maximizing structure, which includes both the physical (e.g., desk arrangement) and embedded (e.g., classroom routines) aspects of structure; (b) establishing, operationally defining, teaching, prompting, and monitoring students’ expected classroom behaviors; (c) developing a continuum of acknowledgment strategies to reinforce (i.e., increase the future likelihood of) those expected behaviors; and (d) establishing a continuum of responses for behaviors that do not meet expectations. In addition, educators collect relevant data to evaluate if learners are engaged and meeting academic and behavioral expectations. Finally, to create a classroom environment conducive to engaging all learners, academic and behavioral instruction and support must be: (a) contextually and culturally relevant for learners, and (b) differentiated to meet the diverse learning and behavioral needs within the classroom. If educators explicitly and routinely implement empirically supported academic and behavioral instruction and support for all learners, the majority of learners will engage in instruction and demonstrate behaviors that meet expectations, reducing the number of learners who require additional levels of support. Meanwhile, effective educators review academic and behavioral data to determine if learners require more intensive support at a group or individual learner level.