Behavior, Education, Motivation, Philosophy, Teaching Tools

Alphabet of Engagement

photo credit: Leo Reynolds via photopin cc
photo credit: Leo Reynolds via photopin cc

Considering the title of my blog, you would think that I might have thought of this.  However, “26 Keys to Student Engagement” comes from the wonderful speaker, writer, and motivator, Angela Maiers – and it was written long before I even imagined this blog into being.

I took my students to visit our local Toyota plant last year, so I was happy to see “Kaizen”, the Japanese term for “continuous improvement” was included on the list.  I refer to this a lot in my classroom – and it is something that I also seek in my own efforts as a teacher.

I was curious to see what Angela listed for “Z.”  As soon as I saw “Zeal”, I knew it was the perfect conclusion to this alphabet of engagement.  Zeal, I agree, is essential in the classroom.  When the students see that we are passionate about the topic, then they become interested, as well.

One item in the alphabet that I always struggle with is to give the students a feeling of “Self-Efficacy.”  According to Angela, “Self efficacy is commonly defined as the belief in one’s capabilities to achieve a goal or an outcome.”  This is the precipice I teeter on every day with my gifted students – to challenge them enough to feel that self-efficacy when they complete their assignment, but not so much that they become discouraged and give up.  At the same time, I am challenging myself so I can also achieve that sense of self-efficacy.  If you are a teacher, you understand how rare it can be to ever feel like you have achieved a goal!

Which key is essential to you?  Is there one that presents a difficulty for you?



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