As school districts across the country continue using distance and hybrid learning strategies, it is sometimes challenging to maintain comparable levels of student engagement and excitement found in traditional settings. In our recently published white paper, “Hybrid Learning in a Time of Uncertainty,” we explore why it’s so important to keep children motivated in these new learning settings, and we unpack ways teachers can use the latest research to help them thrive in this uncertain environment.
We invite you to read an excerpt from this white paper and encourage you to read the document in its entirety by downloading it for free on our website.
Understanding the Importance of Student Engagement
An engaged student is one who is interested, curious and passionate about what they’re learning. Unsurprisingly, engagement not only makes school more enjoyable but also leads to improved academic outcomes. A recent Gallup study including 128 schools and more than 110,000 students confirms this, finding schools that scored in the top quartile of student engagement “had significantly more students exceeding and meeting proficiency requirements than schools in the bottom quartile of engagement.”
Increased student engagement has also been shown to drastically lower incidents of negative student behavior, and a 2018 Gallup study found that schools with higher student engagement have 65% fewer student suspensions, 93.75% fewer student expulsions and 52.3% fewer chronically absent students as compared to schools that scored in the bottom engagement quartile.
Throughout their careers, teachers have developed excellent ways to keep their students both interested and motivated in the classroom, from encouraging collaborative group work to incorporating hands-on activities that demonstrate academic subjects in accessible ways. Unfortunately, strategies that work in an in-person setting do not always translate virtually.
In fact, in spring 2020, when many schools around the country transitioned to online learning, many teachers reported the troubling fact that their students were not showing up for their virtual lessons. In an article published by Education Week, former K-5 public school principal and education consultant Peter DeWitt categorized many of the common reasons for these absences.
Common Reasons for Lack of Virtual Learning Participation
Lack of internet access — Not all students have reliable internet access or a computer to successfully complete assignments. Simply put, without access to online classes, children are unable to participate.
Financial constraints — To support their families, some older students have started working. Additionally, parents might have work schedules that prevent them from helping younger students access virtual lessons.
Lack of personal space — In a home environment, not all students have bedrooms or quiet workspaces to themselves. Without a specific place to focus, it is difficult for students to engage with their instructors or classmates in a virtual setting.
Weak student-teacher connection — For students who did not have a strong personal connection with their teachers in a physical classroom, some feel like they won’t be missed in a virtual one.
Read the Full White Paper Today!
To read the full white paper, “Hybrid Learning in a Time of Uncertainty,” we encourage you to visit our website.