Student Engagement: Trade-offs and Payoffs

Credit: iStock.com/skynesher
Credit: iStock.com/skynesher
I dread the moments when I look out into a classroom and see a collection of blank stares or thumbs clicking on tiny keypads: a pool of disengaged students, despite what I thought was a student-centered activity. Recently, I have been considering how teachers (me specifically) undermine our own efforts to engage students.We do that by putting certain educational goals above getting and keeping students involved. If I sense a lack of energy and involvement on the part of students, right then, I may need to adjust my teaching methods, even if that means sacrificing some other laudable goals. Here are some examples that illustrate what I mean.

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