Engaging with the Engagement Issue

Credit: iStock.com/quavondo
Credit: iStock.com/quavondo
There’s no shortage of materials pertaining to student engagement in higher ed. I’ve attended teaching conferences where anywhere between one-third and one-half of the sessions could be slotted under the engagement rubric. I’ve further found, while conducting teaching observations, reviewing course syllabi, and reading teaching philosophy statements, that the engagement issue looms large. Although it’s sometimes marshalled effectively to attain learning goals, engagement can too easily become an end unto itself instead of a means to an end. It seems to have become an article of faith that if students are visibly engaged, the learning inevitably follows.

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