If someone walked into your classroom at any given moment and took a picture, what would it look like? Would there be 20 sets of eyes on you as you taught a lesson at the front? Would your students be working in groups on a particular task? Or would (eek!) your entire classroom be in chaos with kids doing anything (and everything) but learning?
Creating an engaged learning environment
The truth is that there isn’t one right way to create an engaged learning environment. Great teachers—the ones who are able to inspire learning from each and every student—use a variety of methods and strategies to help their students stay engaged—and create a variety of activities and lessons to get to that end. At WeAreTeachers, we want to help you be a great teacher, so we’ve put together a list of resources—everything from teaching ideas to podcasts—that will help you to contemplate engaged learning and strategize how to make it work in your classroom. To learn more, click over to our “Caution: Classroom at Work Hot Topics Page” and start learning.
But, before you do, we wanted to give you a picture of what engaged learning looks like—so we polled educators everywhere to find out what they would expect to see in a fully engaged classroom. Here are their answers—read, learn and be inspired to make the goal of an engaged classroom a reality.
Real teachers on engaged learning
“To me, engaged learning means that if I ask a question, I could call on any student in the classroom and know they would be able to answer the question correctly.” –Jessica, 1st grade teacher, San Fransisco, CA
“Engaged learning means that every single student’s learning needs are being met through a lesson—so the students who are visual learners are given visual cues while the students who crave hands-on activity are given the chance to do something hands-on.” – Carmen, 5th grade teacher, Miami, FL
“Every student would be doing something—whether it was writing in a journal, working in the lab, using a computer or listening to the teacher. I wouldn’t see a single student doodling, talking or playing with their cell phone because each student would be so focused at the task on hand that disruption simple wouldn’t be an option.” — Jeremy, 9th grade teacher, Portland, OR
“ Engaged learning is that imaginary light bulb over a student’s head, and the voluntary participation that comes from true learning.” — Julia, Austin, TX
“I think in an engaged classroom, students are doing most of the teaching. I envision a place where every question—and every answer—is student driven, student answered and student focused.” — Heather, 3rd grade teacher, Seattle, WA
“To me, engaged learning is where students are so focused on finding the solution to a problem that they jump when the bell rings and then groan because class is over. ” Jessi, 10th grade teacher, Chicago, IL
“Focused students that are interested and absorbed in what they are learning. They have become invested in what they are being taught and take ownership in their learning of it.” —Cami, WeAreTeachers Community Manager, Austin, TX
Engaged learning is every student actively involved in the activity, whether it’s participating in class discussion, chattering productively during group work, or being on task with independent assignments.– Hildi, 3rdgrade teacher, Leander, TX