La División de Educación General, a través del Programa Inglés Abre Puertas (PIAP), promueve y apoya el funcionamiento de las Redes de Docentes de Inglés (RDI), que trabajan activamente en todas las regiones del país desde el año 2003.
Bajo este marco y considerando el escenario actual de enseñanza y aprendizaje remota e híbrida, producto de la emergencia sanitaria COVID 19, el PIAP ha realizado ajustes a su iniciativa de Proyectos de Innovación Pedagógica (PIP) e invita a las RDI a postular y desarrollar proyectos que atiendan a las necesidades de los/las docentes y estudiantes en sus respectivos contextos educativos.
Este año se continuará y profundizará en el ámbito trabajado el año pasado:
“Estrategias de enseñanza y aprendizaje innovadoras en contexto remoto e híbrido”.
Esta iniciativa tiene como finalidad “Potenciar las habilidades comunicativas en inglés de los estudiantes mediante estrategias de enseñanza y aprendizaje, recursos y herramientas innovadoras, implementadas por los docentes, que incrementen su motivación, interacción y aprendizaje socioemocional en contexto remoto y/o híbrido”.
¿Quiénes pueden postular?
Docentes pertenecientes a una Red de Docentes de Inglés activa en los registros del PIAP, que cuente con su resolución exenta o haya iniciado la tramitación oficial de conformación antes del 31 de mayo del 2021 y cuyos docentes postulantes estén dispuestos a implementar un proyecto de innovación enfocado en el ámbito mencionado anteriormente.
Para que una red sea considerada activa debe cumplir con los siguientes requisitos presentados en las bases para la postulación.
Foreign language (FL) aptitude is a complex theoretical construct that encompasses a number of factors contributing to foreign language learning success, namely cognitive abilities, personality, motivation, learning experience, and learning environment.
Thus, the purpose of this chapter is to critically examine various research related issues dealing with FL aptitude(s) changeability in children.
Language aptitude is most often defined in terms of a purely cognitive factor, which constitutes a ceiling on ultimate attainment (Doughty, 2018).
FL aptitude, conceived as comprising other cognitive abilities, has been traditionally presented as a stable, and, consequently, as an untrainable inborn capacity.
Nevertheless, the discussion of trainability and instability of FL aptitude(s) has been recently high on the agenda of second language acquisition (SLA) research (Biedroń & Birdsong, 2019; Doughty, 2018; Rogers et al., 2017).
A major concern is, then, whether the learning of languages contributes to a possible increase in FL aptitude. Unfortunately, research into children’s FL aptitude is scarce and, consequently, our understanding of this problem is rather limited.
For one thing, linguistic abilities in children have to be approached differently from the way it is done in adults largely due to the cognitive differences between these groups.
One of those differences, for instance, deals with cognitive aptitudes for explicit versus implicit learning. Aptitude for explicit learning predicts ultimate attainment for adults, yet not for children, whereas aptitude for implicit learning predicts learning for both children and adults (DeKeyser, 2019; Granena, 2015).
Another factor is developmental dynamics: aptitude in young children cannot be thought of as a fixed quality as it changes over time as children grow older and develop cognitively (Suárez & Muñoz, 2011).
Moreover, early bilingualism enhances cognitive abilities and the resulting benefits persist throughout the individual’s lifespan.
This chapter focuses on the following problems related to language aptitude pliability in children: definitional issues of FL aptitude, FL aptitude dynamics, differences in cognitive abilities between children and adults, the effects of the critical period on language aptitude, the relationship between cognitive abilities and bilingualism in children, trainability of language aptitude, the role of working memory and intelligence in language aptitude, and research into cognitive factors in immigrant children.
Children Foreign language aptitude trainability Cognitive factors
This work was supported by the Chilean National Research Agency Fondecyt, Project number 11170031.
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CrossMark Cite this chapter as: Biedroń A., Véliz-Campos M. (2021) Trainability of Foreign Language Aptitudes in Children. In: Rokita-Jaśkow J., Wolanin A. (eds) Facing Diversity in Child Foreign Language Education. Second Language Learning and Teaching. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-66022-2_3
Out next week, from @orionbooks… Thursday coming is the release date for ‘And It Was Beautiful…’ – massively grateful to those of you who have pre-ordered. Copies (including signed copies) – available here:
Packed with anecdote and heart-in-mouth drama, Hay’s account of Leeds United’s renaissance under the command of Marcelo Bielsa reveals a driven manager with a singular regime who has transformed his club’s city both in sporting and cultural terms.
When Marcelo Bielsa was appointed head coach of Leeds United in the summer of 2018, the club had just finished 13th in the Championship – their 15th consecutive season outside the top flight – and were defined as much by their excesses and disasters off the pitch as their lack of success on it. Bielsa changed everything.
In guiding Leeds back to the promised land of the Premier League, he has transformed the club into a vastly more dynamic, entertaining and professional outfit, fully endearing himself to the Leeds faithful and capturing the imaginations of football fans around the world.
With his unique tactical approach, strict diet and body fat controls and a gruelling training schedule – including his infamous ‘murderball’ sessions – Bielsa has shaped a gang of Championship misfits and journeymen into a team that plays breathtakingly relentless attacking football and is more than capable of going toe-to-toe with the game’s established heavyweights.
In And it was Beautiful, Phil Hay documents the fortunes of Leeds United under Marcelo Bielsa during their return to the Premier League for the 2020/21 season.
By weaving in stories of crises from the club’s purgatory in the English Football League, he presents a comprehensive and compelling portrait of an enigmatic manager whose values are the antithesis of everything that has previously gone wrong at Leeds during the dark days of Ken Bates, Massimo Cellino and GFH.
The book will pull back the curtain on Bielsa’s innovative tactical methods, his unconventional yet highly productive relationship with owner Andrea Radrizzani and Director of Football Victor Orta, his intensely loyal backroom team and the extraordinary cultural impact Bielsa has had on the city of Leeds – from murals and songs to cult fanbases in the provinces of Argentina.
The result is a unique and beautiful love affair that has made dreams come true.
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co ISBN: 9781841885438 Number of pages: 304 Dimensions: 240 x 156 mm
“I Live in Chile” by Thomas Jerome Baker could be called “I Love Chile“, because that emotion oozes from the first page to the last in this beautiful and engaging book about Chile.” – Christoph Fischer (Amazon Top 500 Reviewer)
“I couldn’t keep from laughing and enjoying Thomas Baker’s account of learning to live in Chile. As much as it is entertaining, it’s educational.” – Dennis Waller (Amazon Top 500 Reviewer)
“What starts off deceptively as a travel book quickly becomes a beguiling, very personal, and highly entertaining look at a unique culture…” – Bob Rector
““I Live In Chile” is another wonderful read by Thomas Jerome Baker. Time and again, I’ve said that I love to learn about different cultures. In the case of this book, I received all that I crave and then some.” – Janice Ross
“I don’t think anyone can read this book and not want to book a flight there immediately. His effervescence and love of Chile are evident on every page. This is far superior to your normal travel guide.” – Dianne Harmann
“Although he talks about the day-to-day lives of Chileans, the beautiful landscapes, the people, music, food, dance, customs, holidays and traditions, this is no travel guide. Rather, it is an extraordinary and passionate look into the heart of a man who has fallen in love with Chile. This book will provide insights that are not found in regular travel guides about Chile.” – Henry Summon ** I Live in Chile. ¡Viva Chile! I am fascinated with, and deeply in love with Chile (encantado & enamorado). That will be the main aim of this book, namely, to share my life in, and my love for, this beautiful country, my beloved Chile. I hope you enjoy the way in which I share the story of what is important for me about my life in Chile. – Author Thomas Jerome Baker
Every month, Amazon First Reads offers a collection of titles available a month early to readers. This August, you can select one new pre-release Kindle book for $1.99 or one free if you’re a Prime member. This month’s selections offer something for everyone: a thrilling sci-fi story of clones and murder, a biography of celebrity and scandal, historical fiction that will delight fans of The Vanishing Half, a novel that S. A. Cosby describes as a “master class in tension and suspense,” and so much more. Here are some of our favorites, but be sure to check out the complete Amazon First Reads list.
Constance by Matthew FitzSimmons 4.3 out of 5 stars. 1202 reviews. (1202)
Matthew FitzSimmons, the author of the best-selling books The Short Drop and Poisonfeather, returns with a new protagonist and a new set of thrilling complications. Living sometime in the near future, Constance is a musician and not terribly concerned with her legacy. But when her wealthy aunt gives her a clone of herself and she wakes up 18 months later as the clone, with the original Constance dead, she must piece together how she died. If her original was killed, is she the next victim? VIEW BOOK DETAILS >
For fans of The Vanishing Half and historical fiction, Trisha R. Thomas’ novel explores identity, race, relationships, and loyalty in 1850s America. Born a slave, Dahlia has the chance to reinvent herself when an Englishman mistakes her for white and begins to set his sights on making her his bride. Passing as white, Dahlia abandons her family, and steps into the role of the wife of an aspiring politician. But when a childhood friend comes back into her life, Dahlia must decide if she’s willing to risk exposing her true identity to stay loyal to her past. VIEW BOOK DETAILS >
Lina Henry imagines herself as a paper doll—she appears to have the perfect husband, the perfect kids, the perfect house, and everything fits just so. But the reality is far from the truth and her world is being ripped apart by a controlling and abusive husband. As she battles the demons inside her home, a new relationship develops that has the potential to piece her back together but also shred everything she knows. VIEW BOOK DETAILS >
In this biography, Morató delves into the life of one of the first self-made celebrities, Lola Montez. Fleeing a bad marriage, Lola remade herself as a strong, independent woman with a shocking disregard for propriety. As a dancer, she enchanted all those that watched her “Spider Dance” and counted Alexandre Dumas, George Sand, and kings as her fans. Refusing to conform to 1820s societal norms, she chose a life of adventure, sex, celebrity, and drama. Across Europe and eventually to California and then New York, Lola would continually make a name for herself; as the song goes, “whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.” VIEW BOOK DETAILS >
For those who regularly read the Amazon Book Review, you know we are huge fans of S. A. Cosby’s thrilling novels Blacktop Wasteland (which we named a Best Book of the Year) and Razorblade Tears (a Best Book of the July), so when he raves about a book, we listen. This is what he had to say about These Toxic Things: “Rachel Howzell Hall continues to shatter the boundaries of crime fiction through the sheer force of her indomitable talent. These Toxic Things is a master class in tension and suspense. You think you are ready for it. But. You. Are. Not.” Need we say more? VIEW BOOK DETAILS >
Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011).
He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago 2012 & Edcamp Chile 2013, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago.
Thomas is also a past member of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as the HETL Ambassador for Chile. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.
El Minuto | Un Grupo pionero en nuestro país, está realizando un nuevo proyecto educativo con apoyo internacional patrocinado por Sofofa, ONU Medio Ambiente y Universidad de Finlandia, se trata de “Aulas Sostenibles, Educadores para el Futuro”.
Esta iniciativa busca entregar apoyo a colegios y en una primera etapa considera la capacitación de un grupo de profesores, bajo el modelo finlandés de educación, para que incorporen métodos y herramientas que luego puedan aplicar en sus clases y así empoderar a los jóvenes en el diseño e implementación de proyectos ambientales.
“Aulas Sostenibles, Educadores para el Futuro”, es un programa liderado por SOFOFA, a través de su Centro de Medio Ambiente y Energía, y en la que se encuentran involucradas ONU Medio Ambiente, la Embajada de Finlandia en Chile y la Universidad de Ciencias de Tamperecon la finalidad de contribuir a la calidad de la educación chilena para promover conductas ambientalmente sostenibles.
Capacitación y Perfeccionamiento
El proyecto busca entregar apoyo a establecimientos educacionales, prioritariamente de sectores vulnerables, a través de la capacitación y perfeccionamiento de profesores en materia de sustentabilidad y resiliencia, en línea con los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS) de Naciones Unidas, y que tiene como referente al exitoso modelo finlandés.
En una primera etapa, académicos de la Universidad de Ciencias Aplicadas de Tampere (TAMK) de ese país, capacitarán a 20 profesores de 10 colegios las comunas de Lampa, Padre Hurtado, Llay Llay, Puchuncaví, Maitencillo, Horcón y Ventanas, quienes participarán de esta iniciativa de carácter piloto inédita en el país.
Uno de los colegios participantes es el Liceo bicentenario complejo educacional de lampa, cuyo Director Simón Álvarez Ponce señala: “Me es muy gratificante contar con la participación de cinco de nuestros docentes en la iniciativa que permite que nuestros docentes sean parte de la educación del futuro”
Otras empresas que patrocinan la actividad en su primera fase (Aceros Aza, Arauco, Cementos Bío Bío, Cristal Chile, Colbún, Enel X, Engie, Falabella, Polpaico y Volcán, destacaron la importancia de ser parte de esta iniciativa y se refirieron al valor del vínculo con las comunidades
Jorge Cáceres Director del Centro de Medioambiente y energía de SOFOFA señala: “nos hemos propuesto desde el inicio del Centro contribuir a la sostenibilidad en el país, desde un marco de colaboración público-privada, único camino que conduce a superar los desafíos ambientales de distinto alcance, tal como se observa en países desarrollados.
Hoy nos convoca esta iniciativa que tiene como objetivo contribuir a dar un salto en la calidad de la educación en el país con la participación de expertos de Finlandia”
“I Live in Chile” by Thomas Jerome Baker could be called “I Love Chile”, because that emotion oozes from the first page to the last in this beautiful and engaging book about Chile.” – Christoph Fischer (Amazon Top 500 Reviewer)
“I couldn’t keep from laughing and enjoying Thomas Baker’s account of learning to live in Chile. As much as it is entertaining, it’s educational.” – Dennis Waller (Amazon Top 500 Reviewer)
“What starts off deceptively as a travel book quickly becomes a beguiling, very personal, and highly entertaining look at a unique culture…” – Bob Rector
““I Live In Chile” is another wonderful read by Thomas Jerome Baker. Time and again, I’ve said that I love to learn about different cultures. In the case of Thomas’ newest release, I received all that I crave and then some.” – Janice Ross
“I don’t think anyone can read this book and not want to book a flight there immediately. His effervescence and love of Chile are evident on every page. This is far superior to your normal travel guide.” – Dianne Harmann
“Although he talks about the day-to-day lives of Chileans, the beautiful landscapes, the people, music, food, dance, customs, holidays and traditions, this is no travel guide. Rather, it is an extraordinary and passionate look into the heart of a man who has fallen in love with Chile. This book will provide insights that are not found in regular travel guides about Chile.” – Henry Summon
** I Live in Chile. ¡Viva Chile! I am fascinated with, and deeply in love with Chile (encantado & enamorado). That will be the main aim of this book, namely, to share my life in, and my love for, this beautiful country, my beloved Chile. I hope you enjoy the way in which I share the story of what is important for me about my life in Chile. – Author Thomas Jerome Baker
Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago 2012 & Edcamp Chile 2013, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers.
EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago.
Thomas is also a past member of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as the HETL Ambassador for Chile.
The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.
A “growth mindset,” or a belief that intelligence and ability can be improved with hard work, may encourage students to work harder and persevere through challenge, leading to improved learning and later life outcomes.
Researchers evaluated the impact of a low-cost computer-based intervention providing information about the brain’s potential to change and grow on students’ beliefs in their abilities to learn and their subsequent effort in school.
Results showed that providing this information improved students’ perseverance and academic performance, driven largely by impacts among the lowest achieving students.
Non-cognitive skills, such as self-control and perseverance, are important predictors of success for educational and employment outcomes, including higher secondary school and college graduation rates, higher wages, and better health.1 Previous research has shown that these skills are malleable in children and adolescents; improving them may also improve learning and later life outcomes.2
One way to improve non-cognitive skills such as perseverance may be to change students’ beliefs in their ability to learn.
Students with a “fixed mindset”, who believe that intelligence and ability are fixed, unchangeable traits, might avoid academic challenges and lack resilience against setbacks.
But a “growth mindset”, or a belief that these traits can be improved with effort, may encourage students to work harder and persevere through challenges.
Emerging research in the United States suggests that mindsets can thus improve students’ non-cognitive skills and impact learning outcomes. To contribute to the evidence base, researchers in Norway evaluated the impact of conveying information about “growth mindsets” through a computer program on students’ perseverance in math.
Context of the evaluation
In Norway, students start high school around the age of 16, and can apply to attend the school of their choosing. During this application process, students must choose whether to enroll in a vocational track, which leads directly to employment after graduation, or an academic track, which prepares students to attend college. Admission into one track or another depends on students’ academic achievement in middle school.
Norwegian high school lasts between three to four years, but only 70 percent of students complete school within the first five years.
This completion rate is even lower among vocational track students, among whom only 55 percent complete within five years.
Among the participants in this study, vocational track students and students with lower GPAs were from the outset less likely to have a growth mindset than their peers in the academic track or with higher GPAs.
This study was conducted in spring 2016 and focused on first year high school students at a public school in rural Norway.
Researchers conducted a randomized evaluation to measure the impact of an online computer program designed to encourage a growth mindset on high school students’ non-cognitive skills and subsequent academic achievement.
At a large public high school in Rogaland County, Norway, 385 first-year students were randomly assigned to either the treatment group, which received the growth mindset program, or to a comparison group which did not receive the intervention.
Both groups took part in two 45-minute sessions of a computer program during school hours, two weeks apart, which comprised online reading and writing exercises.
Over the two sessions, students in the treatment group were given cognitive exercises and information highlighting the latest neuroscience research on the brain’s ability to grow and change, and the malleability of intelligence.
Students in the comparison group also received exercises and information about the brain, but the content only focused on basic brain functions.
During the second session, all students were asked to create their own math worksheet, choosing math questions of various difficulty levels, to work on during a final session.
Three weeks later, in the final session, students were administered two random questions from their own math worksheets, followed by a timed algebra quiz consisting of 34 multiple-choice questions.
Algebra was not part of the curriculum at the time of the intervention and students were not informed that they would receive the algebra test in the final session so that they would not be able to prepare in advance.
The questions were designed to be challenging, and many students were unable to answer all of them.
To measure the impact of the intervention on students’ mindsets, students were given survey questions during each session.
Researchers also tracked and collected data on students’ interactions with the computer programs and subsequent tests to measure impacts on test scores and student effort.
Results and policy lessons
Overall, students who received the growth mindset computer program were more likely to have a growth mindset, and subsequently exerted more academic effort and performed better.
These impacts were largely driven by students with fixed mindsets or who were lower-achieving before the intervention.
Impact on mindset: Students in the treatment group were more likely to believe that intellectual ability is malleable. Relative to students in the comparison group who did not receive the growth mindset program, these students scored 0.55 standard deviations higher on an index measuring students’ growth mindset beliefs.
Impact on effort: Students in the treatment group were more likely to seek challenges, as measured by the number of “very hard” questions they chose for their math worksheets.
These students’ challenge-seeking behavior increased by 0.29 standard deviations relative to comparison students.
Impact on test scores: Treatment students performed significantly better on the first ten questions of the algebra test administered in the last session, scoring 0.19 standard deviations higher than those in the comparison group.
But most students did not complete all 34 questions, and there was no difference in performance overall among treatment and comparison students on the first twenty or all 34 questions.
Impact on lower-achieving students: These impacts on students’ effort and achievement were driven largely by significant improvements among students who initially had fixed mindsets.
Treatment students with initially fixed mindsets improved their scores on the algebra test consistently across the first ten, twenty, and all 34 questions by 0.35, 0.34, and 0.29 standard deviations respectively, suggesting both improved achievement and persistence.
Students in the vocational track and low GPAs similarly improved their test scores.
However, students in the academic track and with higher GPAs showed no significant improvement.
These results suggest that students’ perseverance can be shaped by their beliefs in their ability to learn.
Helping students change their mindsets about their own intellectual abilities could be a cost-effective way to improve student learning outcomes.
However, this study focused on the short-time changes produced in students’ mindsets over a period of five weeks.
Promising areas for future research include examining whether these changes can persist over a longer period of time and the potential impacts on later life outcomes.
Bettinger, Eric, Sten Ludvigsen, Mari Reg, Ingeborg F.Solli, and David Yeager. 2018. “Increasing Perseverance in Math: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Norway.” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 146:1-15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2017.11.032
Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University and a leading researcher in the field of motivation, examines the mindsets people use to understand themselves, guide their behavior and affect their achievement.
Carol S. Dweck is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton professor of psychology at Stanford University. She has previously worked at Columbia and Harvard universities, and at the University of Illinois. Her research examines the origins of people’s self-conceptions, their role in motivation and self-regulation, and their impact on achievement. Her theory of the “growth mindset” has been influential in schools on both sides of the Atlantic. In September, she won the inaugural Yidan Prize for Education Research, worth $4 million (£3 million), which is split between cash and research funding.
Where and when were you born? New York City, October 1946.
How has this shaped you? I was born during a period of great hope for the future – great faith in progress and in the American Dream. I didn’t realise until later that not everyone was included in that dream. For example, as a female, I was expected to benefit from the dream, but not to be an architect of it. I was exceedingly lucky that, as I grew up, the hope of the 1950s was combined with the growing empowerment of the 1960s and 1970s.
You recently won the inaugural Yidan Prize for your research on the “growth mindset”. Can you tell us more about this theory? And is this something that universities can use to help their students? Some students, those in a fixed mindset, believe that their intellectual abilities are simply fixed; however, those in a growth mindset believe that they can grow their abilities, for example, through hard work, good strategies and lots of mentoring. Decades of research show that a growth mindset can lead to greater challenge-seeking and persistence. This includes pursuing a more challenging curriculum, persisting in higher education, or earning higher grades. Arizona State University was transformed by its current president, based, in part, on growth mindset principles. Further, research by Mary Murphy at Indiana University is showing how STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] professors’ mindsets can affect whether their students continue in STEM.
How will you use the prize money to further this research? There is a firm foundation for mindset theory, but our real-world implementation is in its infancy. We need to create workshops and interventions that are effective for a greater range of students and we need to create teacher training curricula so educators can create growth mindset cultures in schools.
What is the biggest misconception about your field of study? There are many. Here are just three misconceptions:
That mindset is a simple concept. It’s not – it’s embedded in a whole theory about the psychology of challenge-seeking and persistence.
That it’s easy to implement. It isn’t. It’s really hard to pass a growth mindset on to others and create a growth mindset culture. It’s not about educators giving a mindset lecture or putting up a poster – it’s about embodying it in all their practices.
That a growth mindset denies the importance of talent. It doesn’t. A growth mindset is simply the belief that talents and abilities can be developed.
What has changed most in higher education in the past five to 10 years? What is exciting is that more and more universities around the world are recognising the importance of students’ mindsets and learning skills. They are facing the fact that they must prepare students for an unknown world, in which much of today’s knowledge will be obsolete and in which students may face a succession of careers (some of which they may have to invent). We in higher education must create environments that change students from people who just get high grades and test scores into people with tremendous initiative, who love challenges and learn from failures.
If you weren’t an academic, what do you think you’d be doing? I can’t imagine being anything else. I love thinking, experimenting, and learning, coming up with new ideas and challenging them or putting ideas together in new ways. I love thinking about how research can help people in their lives. No career seems more exciting and fulfilling to me.
What advice do you give to your students? I teach them about the bathtub test. In every field there are topics that are fascinating or meaningful to you, and there are topics that aren’t. I tell my students that if they don’t think about their topic in the bathtub (or shower, as the case may be), perhaps it’s not for them. That’s not to say that they should always be thinking about work, but simply that their topic should be of great personal interest.
What one thing would improve your working week? I don’t really have a working week and a non-working week. I work most of the time (I have a hugely supportive husband). So I would like the impossible. I would like a nine-day week, that is, a week with two weekends – one for work and one for leisure activities. Dream on, you say?
What keeps you awake at night? I am a big-league, Olympic-type sleeper. When people say, “What did you think of that huge thunder and lightning storm last night?” I say, “What storm?” I might have some waking moments worrying that I won’t have enough time to complete all that I would like to accomplish, but I have so many incredible students and colleagues to carry on the research that I soon doze off again. It is truly sleep-inspiring to know that there are all these young researchers who share my passion and will pursue it with more energy than I ever had.
Blank stares. Eyes focused on cell phones. A lack of participation. For instructors, it’s clear when students are not engaged during class.
In an era where technology permeates virtually every aspect of our lives, distractions are an ever-present concern. And this means that engagement strategies for students are becoming even more essential in modern college courses. So how do instructors build learning environments that are engaging, lively and motivated?
They have to incorporate strategies to build community, connection and a love of learning.
Engaged students are typically more curious about a subject—perhaps even more passionate about it. Increasing engagement can help improve student motivation and, in turn, boost student progress and achievement as well.
Here, we provide 31 strategies to bring creativity, collaboration and participation to your classroom.
Create better in-person learning experiences than ever before
How student engagement strategies can fit in your classroom
In a classroom where engagement is emphasized, students are asked to participate more rigorously in the learning process and sometimes even in course design. Lectures still exist, but they now incorporate multimedia, technology and class participation.
Student engagement is closely linked to student achievement.
Numerous studies have found that when instructors use strategies that are explicitly designed to get students’ attention—and to actively engage them in the learning process—test scores and graduation rates increase, and learning objectives are more likely to be met.
What are student engagement strategies?
Student engagement strategies are activities, tactics and approaches educators can leverage during and after class to keep students invested in their learning. They can be used to increase active learning, participation and collaboration in the classroom—and can be everything from simple changes made in your next class to a complete revamp of your curriculum, course delivery and assessment methodology.
Here are some creative ways to engage students—ranging from small changes to more substantial pedagogical shifts.
Student engagement strategies for your teaching
1. Active learning: Create a teaching and learning environment primed for student participation, such as calling on students to answer a question, individual reflection and group problem-solving.
2. Participatory teaching: This student-centered approach to pedagogy accounts for the different skills, backgrounds and learning styles of students. The focus of participatory teaching is on self-regulation and self-reflection; specific strategies include using different teaching methods and varying means of assessment.
3. Flip the classroom: Flip the traditional lecture-homework relationship. Students study the subject matter independently and outside class through tools such as pre-recorded videos. Class is then spent on student-centered learning such as working through problems, debating or group work.
4. Technology in the classroom: Students expect to be constantly connected and want immediate feedback. Online and mobile technology can be used to provide active learning activities and to keep students engaged outside the classroom.
5. Classroom management strategies: Classroom strategies help instructors build a distraction-free environment. As an instructor, you can build in student engagement by asking learners to help shape classroom rules. As an activity in the first week of classes, decide on a set of shared values and create a set of guidelines, like active listening, what respectful disagreements look like and how to create a safe space for questions.
5. Writing: Exercises such as journaling and one-minute papers can help keep students engaged in class as well as improve thinking skills.
6. Inquiry-based learning: This strategy emphasizes the student’s role in the learning process. Rather than the teacher telling students what they need to know, students are encouraged to explore the material, ask questions and share ideas through small-group discussion and guided learning.
Student engagement strategies based on your curriculum
7. Set expectations: At the beginning of a course, ask students what they expect from you and then try to meet those expectations. Students are more engaged when they have a good relationship with the instructor.
8. Integrated curriculum: Combine disciplines rather than compartmentalizing subjects. Some medical schools, for example, have moved away from teaching subjects in isolation such as physiology and anatomy, and moved toward studying organ systems where students learn the physiology and anatomy associated with that system.
9. Think-pair-share: Think-pair-share encourages students to work together to solve problems. Students take a few moments of individual reflection to gather their thoughts on a given topic. Then, have them discuss their thoughts with a peer. Next, have the pair of students form a group with another pair and encourage the group of four to inquire about one another’s opinions.
10. Make the course relevant: Students want courses to be relevant and meaningful. Use real-world examples to teach; where the course is relevant to a specific occupation, ensure it’s aligned with the current needs of the occupation.
11. Cooperative learning: Arrange students in partners or small groups to help them achieve learning goals. Group work can include assignments, discussions, reviews and lab experiments—even having students discuss a lesson with their peers.
12. Authentic learning experiences: Students tackle real-world problems and attempt to come up with a solution through methods such as inquiry and experimentation. Ideally, the solution will benefit others or the community. Experiential learning—when students learn from reflecting on their real-world learning experience—is a further development of this, and is an effective teaching strategy.
13. Social media: Potential uses for social media include sharing relevant content, posting instructional videos on YouTube and facilitating ongoing discussion groups. However, strict guidelines for use must be put in place and enforced.
14. Quick writes: During each lesson, ask students to write down their questions, thoughts and points of clarification. This is an easy-to-implement way to encourage students to think critically and analytically about the course content.
Student engagement strategies for assessments
15. Prepare for class before class: Students get more out of class time if they’re familiar with the material before they arrive. Exercises such as pre-class quizzes ensure they’re knowledgeable enough to contribute.
16. Assess early and often: Frequent quizzes for formative assessment (for “fun”) work well alongside traditional midterm and final exams. Frequent testing reduces the temptation for students to cram and forces them to space out their learning, which leads to better retention. Having the first test within the first few classes also helps prevent students from falling behind—boosting student achievement early.
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17. Assess attendance: Student attendance can improve grades as well as engagement. Consider making attendance part of their overall assessment. Many learners enter university without proper study skills, and first-year students can benefit from the structure of mandatory attendance.
18. Problem-based/project-based learning: Students are tasked with solving a problem or completing a project, but the focus is on the end product, allowing students to determine what resources are needed to solve the problem or complete the project.
Student engagement strategies using your presentation skills
19. Use visual representations: Engage students with animations, 3D representations and concept maps, all of which can help them visualize complex subjects.
20. Inquiry-based learning: To answer questions posed by the instructor or by the students themselves, a learner undertakes his or her own research to arrive at an answer. Inquiry-based learningcan be as simple as watching video lectures, or more involvement could come from designing and performing an experiment.
21. Use simulations: Games or role-playing place students in an imaginary setting defined by the instructor, providing for an interactive, participatory learning experience.
22. Tell stories: Wherever possible, tell stories to illustrate concepts when giving lectures.
Student engagement strategies to encourage collaboration
21. Snowball discussions: Randomly assign students in pairs with a discussion question. After a few minutes, combine the pairs to form groups of four. After another five minutes, combine groups of four to form a group of eight—and so on. Continue combining groups until the class is back together.
22. Philosophical chairs Read a statement that has two possible answers —agree or disagree—out loud to your class. Ask students to move to one side of the room or the other, depending on whether they agree or disagree with the statement. Once all participants have selected a side, encourage students on either side to argue in favor of their position. This way, students can visualize where their peers’ opinions lie, compared to their own.
23. Affinity mapping: Place students in small groups and pose a general question or problem to them that has many possible answers, such as “How would the history of the United States be different without Teddy Roosevelt” or “How would society be different if the Internet was never invented?” Then, have students write their ideas on small index cards or on an online discussion thread. After ten minutes, ask students to group their similar ideas into categories, then label the different groupings and discuss how each idea fits. You can also suggest that students consider how the categories are related. This allows students to participate in critical thinking by analyzing ideas and organizing them in relation to one another.
24. Concentric circles: Ask students to form two circles: an inner circle and an outer circle. Each student on the inside is paired with a student on the outside. Have them sit facing each other. Pose a question to the broader group and ask the pairs to discuss their responses. Have students on the outside circle move one space over after five minutes so they’re standing in front of a different peer. Repeat the process for a few rounds, asking a new question each time and exposing students to their peers’ different perspectives.
25. Make it personal: After a lecture unit or lesson concludes, arrange learners into discussion groups or online breakout rooms. To encourage students to reflect on their personal connections to the material they are learning, ask them questions like “How did this change your initial understanding of the concept” or “Describe your initial reaction to this idea.”
26. Socratic seminar: To prepare for a discussion, ask students to review a textbook chapter or a separate reading and develop higher-order thinking questions to pose to their peers. During class, ask an open-ended question to introduce the activity. Then, have students continue the conversation, encouraging their peers to use evidence-based claims, based on course concepts or texts. Students are encouraged to share the floor with their peers, however, there doesn’t need to be a specific order for speaking.
Student engagement strategies to build communication skills
27. Brainwriting: To build rapport and respect in your classroom, give students time to reflect on their learnings in writing, following a challenging course concept. Using guided prompts or leaving it open to your students’ interpretation, have them share their thoughts and questions in a conversation with peers during class time or through an online discussion thread
28. Concept mapping: Collaborative concept mapping is a way of visually organizing concepts and ideas, in order to better understand how they are related. This is a great way for students to gain a better understanding of others’ experiences and perspectives. In small groups, students can use this exercise to go over past work or to brainstorm ideas for future assignments and projects. For face-to-face classes, have students place sticky notes and chart paper on the classroom walls. For online classes, the digital whiteboard feature in Zoom allows students to map out ideas and connect concepts.
29. Debate: Pose an issue or topic to your class. Then, place students into groups according to the position they hold on the topic. Ask each group to develop some arguments or examples to support their opinion. Next, put each group’s idea on a virtual whiteboard or piece of chart paper, to be a starting point for a classwide discussion. To conclude, encourage students to debate the strengths and weaknesses of each group’s argument, to help students improve their higher-order thinking and analysis skills.
Use Remote Teaching Strategies to Engage Your Students In Person
30. Compare and contrast: Place students into groups and ask them to focus on a specific chapter in their textbook. Encourage them to find similarities and differences between ideas that can be found in course readings and external sources, like articles and videos they may find. This way, students benefit from sharing resources and learning from one another’s perspectives.
31. Assess/diagnose/act: This activity helps strengthen students’ problem-solving abilities and can spur more dynamic discussions. Propose a topic or controversial statement, then follow the steps below to start a discussion.
With funding from The Lyndhurst Foundation, the Public Education Foundation has been studying ninety-two elementary and middle school teachers identified as highly effective in Hamilton County, Tennessee.
The teachers all had three-year average student scores in the top 25 percent of all teachers in the county on the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS) or, if they did not have a three-year TVAAS history, were nominated as highly effective based on other appropriate measures.
The teachers were interviewed, surveyed, and observed over the course of a year.
Although the teachers differed in their ages, backgrounds, and personalities, the researchers found that the teachers “offered a remarkably similar picture” of effective teaching—one that reflects many of the elements of teaching.
For example: Expectations for the students were clearly stated and exemplars of previous year’s assignments were shown to students as models of what to produce. Student work could be found everywhere: inside the classroom, out the door, and down the hall.
The teachers did not stand still and lecture; they covered every part of the room and monitored every activity that took place.
Multiple small group activities were often found, while the traditional arrangement of desks in rows was practically nonexistent.
There were high levels of “instructional discourse”: Students were encouraged to ask questions, discuss ideas, and comment on statements made by teachers and other students.
The organization of the rooms and the lessons was clearly evident. Materials were easily accessible when needed, and no class time was wasted from lack of preparation.