Inspired by some recent professional development on engaging students who school online, I’ve been thinking a lot about engagement. It is a buzz word that has stayed buzzing for a few years now in education. “How are you engaging your students?” “How are you personalizing each student’s learning?” And my favorite, “How are you fostering a Growth Mindset?”
I’m not a fan of buzz words and latest trends. I am a fan of figuring out what will get a student excited. What can I do to help them find their passion and use it in their learning? What am I doing to encourage, to excite a love of learning and discovery? Do I recognize when I am discouraging them and reach out to fix it? What am I doing that is showing my students how to take care of themselves in this world, while at the same time holding the bar high so they bring out their best game?
I’ve tried a lot of different crazy things and I don’t get a lot of feedback, but when I do, I listen. One family says they wait for my weekly email and sit around the computer to share the dumb joke I always open with. Another student said that her younger siblings love my “videos from the farm,” and: “Especially the cows, Mrs. G!” Another student designed his travel brochure assignment using my mini-hiking vacation and capturing some of the images in the video I sent after I got back.
Does it bring them all in? No, not by a long shot. But it brings some and one-at-a-time, that has to count.