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Student engagement fosters effective learning

Engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus, motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills, and promotes meaningful learning experiences. In the teaching learning process it is considered as an indicator of success.
Masum Billah
Student engagement fosters effective learning

According to educational neuroscience expert Dr. David Sousa, student engagement can be defined as “the amount of attention, interest, curiosity, and positive emotional connections that students have when they are learning, whether in the classroom or on their own”.

Student engagement is broadly seen as one of the key requirements and indicators of high-quality teaching, but finding a simple one-line definition is challenging, as it is influenced by a number of different factors and made up of a number of different components. Student engagement goes with successful teaching learning environment where students represent good behavior and this is called behavioral engagement.
Their positive feelings mean emotional engagement and their thinking represents cognitive engagement. When students display high levels of behavioural, emotional, and cognitive engagement, they are more likely to excel academically. They also form a stronger sense of connection with their educational institutions, and have a more positive sense of social-emotional well-being. In the light of these facts, it is suggested to select and introduce such kind of activities in the classroom that engage the learners behaviourally, emotionally, and cognitively. When that is ensured by a teacher, learning takes place effectively.
Engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus, motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills, and promotes meaningful learning experiences. In the teaching learning process it is considered as an indicator of success. Achieving a high level of student engagement is essential for academic success and teaching excellence. When students see that the lessons are interesting, entertaining, meaningful, important and useful for them, they concentrate on them and that concentration means they are engaged.
Today’s classroom requires the use of both the right student engagement strategies and the right student engagement activities and a skilled teacher can do both. Students also form a stronger sense of connection. No one wants to look out into a classroom of students whose eyes are either glued to the clock or looking outside without giving importance to the class. So, it must be the aim of every active teacher to make their students engaged.
It has been revealed through education research if students do not consider a learning activity worthy of their time and effort, they might not engage in a satisfactory way, or may even disengage entirely in response.  They think it meaningful when the activities of the class they can connect with previous knowledge and experiences. Researchers have found that effectively performing an activity can positively impact subsequent engagement.
When teachers relinquish control without losing power to the students, rather than promoting compliance with directives and commands, student engagement levels are likely to increase as a result. Collaborative learning is another powerful facilitator of engagement in learning activities. When students work effectively with others, their engagement may be amplified as a result, mostly due to experiencing a sense of connection to others during the activities. High-quality teacher-student relationships are another critical factor in determining student engagement, especially in the case of difficult students and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
When students form close and caring relationships with their teachers, they are fulfilling their developmental need for a connection with others and a sense of belonging in society. Caring about students' social and emotional needs, displaying positive attitudes and enthusiasm, increasing one-on-one time with students, treating students fairly, avoiding deception or promise-breaking, foster student-teacher relations. One survey shows that 98% of respondents believe a good teacher can change the course of a student’s life.
When students form close and caring relationships with their teachers, they are fulfilling their developmental need for a connection with others and a sense of belonging in society, “Connections between students and teachers inspire students and create a positive environment. In this sort of environment, students are motivated and encouraged to participate and grow. If a student is not reasonably challenged by the work in the classroom or does not find it stimulating, he/she will not be engaged. In order for classroom lessons and activities to garner engagement, students need to view them as meaningful.
Research shows that when students are given choice, they experience an increase in intrinsic motivation. Effort, performance and learning all grow with choices. The benefits cited above occur when a teacher, “creates choices that are robust enough for students to feel that their decision has an impact on their learning,” When students are empowered to make choices in the classroom and school setting, it fosters a sense of ownership over their learning.
When students have made choices and their voice is heard, the responsibility shifts to them. When students are engaged, they are motivated and learning happens there more easily. Being in a school building and classroom where students are engaged is inspiring for both the students and educators. Therefore, it is imperative for educators to do everything they can to foster student engagement. If learners are engaged they have more motivation to participate in class, enjoy achieving their learning goals, are more likely to persist through challenges in learning and feel intrinsically motivated to gain new and deeper understanding.
Student engagement is vital to meaningful education and retention of knowledge. The Corona Generation of students has lost many months of learning due to the pandemic. Engagement will play a key role in efforts to recover this lost learning. Student engagement also builds better relationships with other students, staff, and faculty and helps the students understand governance within the institution’s education system. As a result, it improves student personality and enhances their skills that are necessary for driving change.

The writer, president of English Teachers’ Association of Bangladesh, works as an education expert in BRAC Education Program. Email:[email protected]

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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