Five Actions That Can Help Improve Student Engagement

Vol. 15 No. 6

advancement eletter Vol16 No6 classroomaction

One of your primary duties as an academic leader is to support your faculty and help them connect with their students. However, most seasoned leaders will tell you that perfecting the art of student engagement varies greatly, depending on the students’ ages and your overall school culture.

Regardless of these factors, consistent and persistent professional development is the key to building and maintaining a student-engagement approach in your school. It is essential that professional development be mission-focused, intentional, and individualized. When using the lens of student engagement as the drive for professional development, consider the following actions.

Determine where each teacher is on the “engagement” scale. Do this on an individual basis by observing each teacher in the classroom, as well as in group activities. See how he or she works with students and how students respond. Also have conversations with your teachers to assess where they feel their strengths and weaknesses lie when it comes to engaging students.

Have your exemplary faculty serve as leaders. Have your top “engagers” lead faculty meetings regarding student engagement, its benefits, and its challenges. Many teachers respond positively to hearing from fellow educators, knowing they’re all working in the classroom each day to benefit their students. Have those who have mastered student engagement share their strategies and open the floor for dialogue. Allow everyone to share what’s working, what’s frustrating, and what needs improvement.

Include student engagement as part of teachers’ annual improvement plan. While it is nearly impossible to measure student engagement in concrete terms for evaluation, include engagement as part of every teacher’s overall plan. Give teachers the opportunity to try new strategies or learn skills to achieve this goal.

Provide professional development opportunities focusing on student engagement. These opportunities should be individualized to help teachers grow where they see fit. Some may prefer to attend conferences or workshops while others may want to take online courses or pursue a certification program. Whatever they choose, ensure it aligns with the goal of encouraging student engagement and the school’s mission.

Encourage teachers to visit each other to see various practices in action. It’s one thing to discuss student engagement during a meeting—it’s another to see it in action. Provide teachers the opportunity to sit in as others teach or conduct student meetings, or allow teachers to teach in tandem. This way, they can learn new strategies and see how they play out when working with students.

Any professional development activity for faculty should focus on building student performance, enthusiasm, and satisfaction. As teachers learn to use various skills to increase student engagement, they also gain greater satisfaction with their own professional journey as they see their students become more enthusiastic, effective, and successful.

Additional ISM Resources:
The Source for Academic Leadership Vol. 15 No. 2 5 Strategies for Your Professional Development Initiatives
The Source for Private School News Vol. 16 No. 5 Keep Your Professional Development Initiatives Fresh This Summer

Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
Vol. 41 No. 12 A Renewed Perspective for Professional Development
Vol. 41 No. 16 Professional Development: Five Worst Practices

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