There has been a lot of talk lately on how we might improve student learning and student engagement. One widely accepted notion is that improving student engagement is likely to result in improved student learning. But there hasn’t been nearly as much conversation—if any—about teacherengagement. Now, what do we mean by teacher engagement? A handful of scholars and researchers have begun to draw attention to this very notion. Cathie West (2013), for example, in her book The 6 Keys to Teacher Engagement asks…
What does teacher engagement look like? Highly engaged teachers demonstrate best practice teaching, use data to verify instructional effectiveness, make changes in their teaching approach when student performance falters, and dialogue openly about their successes and failures. These highly engaged teachers are professionally on fire and get solid results.
If I am understanding this correctly, that means that teachers who sit attentively at meetings and complete their reports on time may not be highly engaged professionally. Instead, we would all do well to look at other indicators demonstrated by teachers—their conversations, actions, results, commitment to students, and intense desire to improve their practice (McEwan, 2005). I recently had a chance to visit with Dr. Jim Parson’s of the University of Alberta. Dr. Parson’s has authored a number of articles…and over 20 books on learning and engagement. He was also the director of the School Improvement Initiative in Alberta. His latest research focuses on this emerging idea of improving student outcomes and engagement by focusing instead on the teacher…and…on teacher engagement…
McEwan, E. K. (Ed.). (2005). How to deal with teachers who are angry, troubled, exhausted, or just plain confused. SAGE.
West, C. (2013). The 6 Keys to Teacher Engagement: Unlocking the Doors to Top Teacher Performance. Routledge.
Be sure to subscribe to receive an email of future podcasts.