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Engagement Pedagogy

For CLASSROOM TEACHERS of all subjects, department chairs, and academic administrators

Learn practical tools and strategies to make academic learning a source of meaning, vitality, and community in students’ lives.

All sessions are 2 hours long. Sessions and can stand alone or be combined into a series.

Designing Instruction So Students Connect with the Content, Their Work, and Each Other

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Authentic engagement means building a fulfilling relationship with someone or something important. For students, authentic engagement means building relationships with the content, their work and each other. During this workshop, we’ll learn practical tools and strategies that help teachers design instruction that invites and enables students to connect authentically with the content and their work so school becomes a source of meaning and vitality in their lives.

A workshop on engagement means participants themselves engage, so teachers should come prepared to do some reflective writing, have small group discussions, and share in the larger group. By experiencing some of what authentic engagement looks and feels like, participants will be better prepared to design learning environments that empower students to engage.

All sessions are 2 hours long. Any session can be a standalone, any two or three sessions can be combined into a longer workshop, and all four sessions can form a multi-day series.

Session 1: Fostering Engagement with the Content Using Connective Prompts. In the first part of this session, we will collaboratively define “authentic engagement” and explore a model for engagement pedagogy. We’ll do this work using connective prompts, which are verbal cues that help learners engage authentically with the content by relating it to themselves or themselves to it. Then, we’ll look at how connective prompts were used in the first part of the session to help us connect with its content, and we’ll learn how to write our own connective prompts to help our students connect with the content of our classes.

Session 2: Fostering Engagement with Their Work Using Affirming Assignments. During this session, we’ll explore what it means for students to connect with the content, their work, and each other. We’ll then learn tools and strategies for individually and collaboratively designing assignments that not only serve as assessment evidence but also have students create things that matter—to them personally and in the world.

Session 3: Fostering Engagement with Each Other Using Collaboration Protocols. Doing meaningful work together is an ideal context for students to develop meaningful relationships. However, giving a collaborative task doesn’t guarantee that students will listen and communicate skillfully, build on each other’s strengths, or create better work than they could have created alone. In this session, we’ll discuss how to maximize the benefits and minimize the drawbacks of a collaborative task. We’ll distinguish two types of collaboration—collaborative projects and collaborative inquiry—and practice using protocols that help students succeed at both.

Session 4: Structuring Units for Authentic Engagement. This session is about how to design units that implement engagement pedagogy. We’ll learn to articulate a unit’s goal—exploring an essential question, developing a skill, or creating a product—and select instructional strategies that help students find meaning, vitality, and community in the process of achieving that goal.

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