“What Are We Doing at School Today?”
This is the question we asked ourselves at Greystone and what we should expect to see as we walk into classrooms. As we continued to develop our students’ skills in inquiry and strong instructional practices with our teachers, we still felt we needed to see more active intellectual engagement by our students. Using our Professional Development Days, our staff worked collaboratively to help define what intellectual engagement is. There were many discussions such as, what are the students’ actions within the classroom that help define it and what are the strategies and practices that teachers should be doing with the class to help foster and develop intellectual engagement within our students.
As we continued our work around student engagement, we continued to revisit the big question:
“What do we believe about Learner Engagement and what is the evidence we are getting it right for our learners?”
As teachers shared specific projects, experiences and practices that exemplified successful engagement, we then collectively put the ideas into words and processes which would guide our practices. This is what we came up with:
Risk Taking: Learners are persevering to grow outside their boundaries.
Creating: Learners are thinking, acting, and engaging with ideas to discover possibilities.
Collaborating: Learners are open-minded to different perspectives in order to build an interdependent learning community.
Questioning: Learners’ natural curiosity is leading them to explore deeper learning.
Ensuring Authentic Learning: Learners are emotionally and intellectually invested in work that is personally relevant and deeply connected to the world in which they live.
Providing Evidence: Learners are an active part of the assessment and feedback process and therefore move their learning forward.
For each of the six components, examples were given of how students and teachers would demonstrate them and what it would look like within the classroom. As learning coach, this document is helping me guide my work with teachers in terms of providing criteria for planning and reflective feedback, common language and examples, and moving our staff’s learning forward in a similar direction.