PIDP 3250 Reflective Writing 2

Reflective Writing
PDIP 3250 Instructional Strategies
Assignment 4 #2
Peter Robertson
April 22nd 2017

Peter Robertson                                                 2 | P a g e

PIDP 3250 Instructional Strategies – Reflective Writing

Engagement and Active Learning
Angelo and Cross who wrote “Classroom Assessment Techniques”– “Learning can – and often does – occur without teaching but teaching cannot occur without learning: teaching without learning is just talking1”.
I like this quote as this is so important to have learners who are actively engaged in active learning. It is often discussed – active learning means that the mind is engaged and its defining characteristics are that students are dynamic participants in their learning and that they are reflecting on and monitoring both the processes and the results of their learning. An engaged student actively examines, questions and relates new ideas to old, thereby achieving the kind of deep learning that lasts1. It is important to develop the engagement as dropout rates usually relate to lack of engagement and according to a source are as high as 50% in the United States.
“Since the U.S. college dropout rate for first-time-in college degree-seeking students is nearly 50%. It is increasingly seen as an indicator of successful classroom instruction, and as a valued outcome of school reform. The phrase was identified in 1996 as “the latest buzzword in education circles.” Students are engaged when they are involved in their work, persist despite challenges and obstacles, and take visible delight in accomplishing their work. Student engagement also refers to a “student’s willingness, need, desire and compulsion to participate in, and be successful in, the learning process promoting higher level thinking for enduring understanding.” Student engagement is also a usefully ambiguous term that can be used to recognize the complexity of ‘engagement’ beyond the fragmented domains of cognition, behaviour, emotion or affect, and in doing so encompass the historically situated individual within their contextual variables (such as personal and familial circumstances) that at every moment influence how engaged an individual (or group) is in their learning5”.
Engaged students really care about what they’re learning; they want to learn or “When students are engaged, they exceed expectations and go beyond what is required” or “the words that describe student engagement to me are passion and excitement………. The second way many teachers describe student engagement is with statements like engaged students are trying to make meaning of what they are learning or engaged students are involved in the academic task at hand and are using higher-order thinking skills such as analyzing information or solving problems1

The discussion described student engagement from a two-dimensional approach: motivation and active learning. The author mentioned that students are engaged in their learning when they care about what they are learning and they want to learn. When students are engaged, then they exceed expectation. I understand the relationship: students care about their learning → engaged students → students
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perform at a high level. The question that pops up in my mind as I was reading this was how does an educator get the students to care about their learning and want to learn so that they will be engaged? That’s the more important question.

The second description of student engagement looked at the end product or outcome of what student engagement would lead to. When students are engaged, they will perform better because they use higher order thinking skills to think analytically and critically. The description also stated that “engaged students are trying to make meaning of what they are learning”.  They are trying to derive value from their learning.

The answer to the question presented early is explained in Chapter 2. In the value-expectancy model, students become motivated and engaged when they see value in what they are learning and they expect to succeed. As an educator, we need to draw and present the connection of what we are teaching and how does it relate to the students. We need to show our students the things that they are learning are practical and will affect their future work and life, thus creating intrinsic value for the students. Once the students can connect the dots and see this connection, they will see value in their learning.

As for expectancy, there are classroom management issues (setting the correct expectations of the students; giving regular and useful feedback about their performance etc.) and course planning (the course outline, deliverables, teaching strategies etc.). When students value the tasks and they expect to succeed, they will “engage in the task, eager and happy to focus on developing knowledge and skills by seeking to discover meanings, grasping new insights and generating integrative interpretations”.

………teaching without learning is just talking.
Teaching is more like providing knowledge to the students, while learning is more of a two-way channels. In a learning community, the “overarching goal is learning, but this learning is best achieved in environments where students feel a sense of belonging and where they feel comfortable responding to questions even when they are unsure of the answer and seeking help from the teacher or from their peers when they don’t understand1”
I think that this quote is excellent to remember as we move later into discussions of the brain and learning.

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1. Barkley, Elizabeth F., Student Engagement Techniques – A Handbook for College Faculty Jossey Bass 2010 – John Wiley and Sons P. 16,  17,  18
2. Communication, Affect and Learning in the Classroom – Web Site –
3. Student Motivation, Engagement, and Achievement – Web Site –,-Engagement,-andAchievement.aspx
4. Active Learning – Web Site –
5. Student Engagement – Web Site –