I’m fascinated by the recent Gallup Poll Report on Student Engagement that shows students gradually become less engaged as they progress in school: 8 out of 10 are engaged in elementary school compared to 4 out of 10 by the time they are in high school.
It isn’t that I’m surprised by the results, even when I look at the survey questions that got at the degree to which students were engaged (Liker-Scale on the degree for which the student agrees) and it is easy to say “these don’t tell the entire story of engagement’.
- I have a best friend at school.
- I feel safe in this school.
- My teachers make me feel my schoolwork is important.
- At this school, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
- In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good schoolwork.
- My school is committed to building the strengths of each student.
- In the last month, I volunteered my time to help others.
But this poll with these questions give us another indicator on this umbrella concept of engagement. More importantly, it tells us what other surveys have and continue to tell us: a good percentage of students in high school are not engaged and many more that seem engaged but are merely compliant.
Connected Learning Connection
It is easy to see that part of this problem is that the more time in school, the more disconnected it gets from how we learn. This is where Connected Learning really strikes home for me. As Mimi Ito states in a recent Huffington Post piece, “Connected learning is when you’re pursuing knowledge and expertise around something you care deeply about, and you’re supported by friends and institutions who share and recognize this common passion or purpose.”
Imagine what high school students would say about their level of engagement if they spent four years in this type of learning environment compared to the current reality for far too many.
And I think that is why I’m fascinated: a) we know what we should be doing but we aren’t doing it. b) it isn’t easy to close the knowing-doing gap so how the heck do we it.