September 5, 2014 by

Engaged And Inspired: Learn To Motivate And Challenge Each Learner

By Andrew Miller

ASCD is excited to offer a new Professional Development Institute (PDI) on student engagement. This PDI, which uses a new model of learning, will help to unpack what student engagement really is and provide practical tools that can be used immediately in the classroom to increase student participation and achievement. Through materials from a variety of highly acclaimed authors and guidance from an expert ASCD Faculty member, participants will learn how to decide when to implement certain strategies in order to successfully engage students and ultimately increase their own effectiveness.

A New PDI Modelandrew institute

As mentioned, this PDI will use a new, more engaging model—the blended learning model. With this model, participants will learn about student engagement through both digital and on-site activities. Initially, participants will read online materials, watch webinars, and collaborate digitally with other participants. Next, they will come on-site to reflect on what they have learned and dive deeper into specific strategies for student engagement. Together, participants will determine how to implement the strategies they learned in their classrooms to meet the specific needs of their students. Finally, participants will get the opportunity to implement their ideas in their classrooms. They will use digital tools to continue to collaborate and share how their implementation went. This blended learning model seeks to practice what it preaches—that is, to allow participants to experience first-hand the elements of and strategies for student engagement.

Intentional Practical Strategies

Through this PDI, participants will not only learn practical strategies to increase student engagement, but they will learn how to determine when to use which strategies. We all know that some strategies work better for different circumstances—some work better for text comprehension, while others work better for reflection or independent application. Participants will discover how to align specific strategies to cognitive objectives so that they are using the right engagement strategy, not just any engagement strategy. In addition, participants will use new rigorous standards as a guide for determining what cognitive objectives and strategies will be needed for a lesson, and then they will design that lesson for their class.

Educator Effectiveness

Student engagement is one of the topics educators talk about most when it comes to professional development needs. Educators everywhere constantly express concerns about student engagement, and they want specific advice and feedback to help them better engage their students. Because student engagement is such an important part of classroom instruction, it is also becoming an important part of new teacher evaluation frameworks. Essentially, student engagement is a quality indicator of teacher effectiveness.

We hope that this new PDI, using a unique blended learning approach, will encourage participants to not only learn about student engagement issues but also to collaborate with one another as they try to determine the best strategies to implement in their classrooms and ultimately become more effective educators.

Learn more about this ASCD institute.

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Andrew K. Miller (@betamiller on Twitter) is on the National Faculty for the Buck Institute for Education, an organization specializing in 21st century project-based learning, and provides expertise to ASCD in a variety of professional development needs. He is also a regular blogger for Edutopia.