I was at my Learning Plus workshop this afternoon and “Engaging the Mind” was the topic for the module.
We watched the same video “A Vision of Students Today” that Alec Couros had us watch the first week of classes for EC&I 831. Once again the discussion led to whether or not we are engaging our students. We are now being challenged more than ever to reflect on our teaching practices and the learning environment we provide for our students. The definitions of engagement change from educator to educator. In my room I look around and see students reading the newspaper, talking about an interesting article with another student, blogging, reading other student blogs, commenting to other students, watching a youtube video about Balto the dog that was important in the first Iditarod in Alaska and ask myself “Are they engaged?” I say yes. They may be doing different things but they are all interacting with their environment and each other. My students are reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing and representing all within the first forty five minutes of school. My students start the school day engaged in the cornerstones of the provincial language arts curriculum. Granted, another teacher may look into my classroom and see that my students are not all sitting in their desks, there isn’t a teacher standing at the front of the room teaching and the students are working on different tasks. I look around and see engagement where another teacher may look around and see no structure. I think that engaging our students’ minds mean that we need to shift how we work in our classrooms and become less teachers and more facilitators of learning opportunities.