In general, a student is engaged when:
- Engage in academic, social, and extracurricular activities at all levels in the school (behavioural engagement)
- Participates in school activities and feels like a member of the school (emotional engagement)
- Engaged learners take ownership of their learning and are personally invested in it (cognitive engagement).
When a child or young person does not demonstrate any of these characteristics, they are disengaged. For example, they may not be enrolled or attend school regularly.
To foster meaningful relationships and learning opportunities for the coming school year, educators can utilize these three simple practices.
Find out why students are disengaged
What do you know about your students’ lives and how can you position them to succeed? Is there a sibling? Do they live in safe, stable environments with supportive caregivers? How did they experience learning in a remote or hybrid environment (at least before they disengaged)?
Students can be surveyed about their lived experiences, the relationships they have formed at school, and what high-quality learning experiences they view as important. Understanding how students perceive their learning environments can help you identify students who are chronically absent and find ways to reestablish and maintain their engagement.
Develop a network of engagement support
Your school culture and classroom curriculum should meet the academic, social-emotional, and behavioral needs of your students. For the upcoming school year, teachers and leaders may want to adopt intentional and system-wide practices that can prevent students from becoming disenchanted.
Take the time to show them you care
Educators’ empathy and warmth positively influence students’ behavior, motivation, and achievement. How does this work in practice? Engage students by moving away from teacher-centered learning activities and developing ones that allow them to take ownership of their work. By fostering student-adult partnerships that are defined by student’s voice and shared decision-making, kids can feel connected and motivated to attend school, creating a classroom culture of meaningful interactions.