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As teachers begin teaching within the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) framework they will quickly recognize an even greater emphasis needs to be placed on student engagement. There is widespread recognition that teachers are tasked with creating favorable learning conditions for a diverse population of learners. Teaching within the CCSS framework requires teachers to create equity of outcomes as well as equity of access to learning. In order for teachers to move deeper into teaching within the CCSS it is important that they develop a solid understanding of the underlying principles of the CCSS and how maximizing student engagement is an essential part of teaching effectively within the Common Core State Standards.
To maximize engagement for all learners, teachers will learn the importance of recognizing the achievement gap is widened by an engagement gap at the individual student level. Course participants will learn that teachers and learners may view engagement through the lens of different enduring questions. When answering the enduring questions of learners, teachers will learn how to avoid various engagement traps. An important aspect of maximization will be to assess students with regard to their own orientation toward growth as learners. The negative implications of students holding a fixed view of their own potential as learners will be juxtaposed against a learning mindset that helps increase student willingness to take risks. The connection between students embracing an expandable view of their ability followed by teacher use of prescriptive teacher feedback will be made.
Throughout the course teachers will have opportunities to reflect on their own cycle of inquiry and demonstrate an impact on the achievement of students through engagement. In doing this, a number of factors will be considered including how universal design for learning principles can help address barriers within the learning conditions. The rationale for personalization through a continuous cycle of re-engagement for teachers and students will be provided. Teacher reflection strategies to guide interpretation of both overt and covert student disengagement will provide teachers an opportunity to implement what they are learning.
This course has been designed with the goal of (1) providing a framework which operationally defines engagement and promotes the value of maximizing engagement for all learners; (2) providing research-based principles in which teachers can anchor their practices; and (3) introducing the characteristics of engagement-minded practices which both teachers and students will find motivating to implement and that will leverage the efforts of both teacher-students. The educational literature increasingly underscores the importance of professionals understanding, anticipating and responding to the needs of students so that quality engagement is the predominant experience of students.
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