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Finding the Link Between Student Engagement and Teacher Excellence. Stephanie Juillerat Laurie Schreiner Azusa Pacific University IDEA User’s Conference November 1, 2009. Why Worry About Student Engagement?.

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Finding the link between student engagement and teacher excellence

Finding the Link Between Student Engagement and Teacher Excellence

Stephanie Juillerat

Laurie Schreiner

Azusa Pacific University

IDEA User’s Conference

November 1, 2009

Why worry about student engagement
Why Worry About Student Engagement? Excellence

  • After all, isn’t it the student’s job to find meaning in the content I deliver?

  • My job is to teach; it’s my student’s job to learn; if they’re bored, they must not care about learning

Student engagement is important because
Student Engagement is Important Because….. Excellence

  • It enhances the learning process

  • It creates positive emotions—which lead to greater creativity and complex problem-solving

  • An engaged classroom is more enjoyable for everyone 

  • It impacts IDEA scores!

The link between idea and student engagement
The Link Between IDEA and Student Engagement Excellence

  • Students rate the amount of learning, the excellence of a course, and the excellence of the teacher based on their classroom experiences

  • Certain teaching behaviors have been correlated with high scores on these 3 items

    • When students believe that these teaching behaviors are happening frequently in the classroom, IDEA scores are high

  • Our main focus today: overall excellence of the teacher

An excellent teacher
An Excellent Teacher Excellence

  • An adjective or phrase that describes a teacher’s behavior that made them excellent

  • Go to a corner of the room that reflects your adjective or phrase

    • Relationships

    • Motivation/intellectual stimulation

    • How they designed the course

    • Other

3 components related to teaching excellence
3 Components Related to Teaching Excellence Excellence

  • Establishing Rapport

    (Educator as Facilitator)

  • Stimulating Student Interest

    (Educator as Motivator)

  • Structuring Classroom Experiences

    (Educator as Designer)

  • A teacher who can accomplish these 3 things should have a successful classroom experience with fully engaged students

How do i do those things
How Do I Do Those Things? Excellence

  • Today’s workshop will be structured around these 3 teaching components

  • We hope to share principles and strategies that faculty can use so that students are fully engaged in the learning process

One size doesn t fit all
One Size Doesn’t Fit All Excellence

  • “There is no single tip, technique, or strategy that offers a magic formula or blueprint for student engagement. What works for one student doesn’t work for another; a technique that is a guaranteed winner for one teacher falls miserably flat when tried by a colleague….”

    Barkley (2010) Student Engagement Techniques

The ingredients of engagement
The Ingredients of Engagement Excellence

  • Interest

  • Challenge

  • Value

  • Expectancy

  • Choice

  • Relationships

Engaged learning
Engaged Learning Excellence

Positive energy invested in the learning process

  • Meaningful processing

  • Focused attention

  • Active involvement in learning activities

  • (Schreiner & Louis, 2006)

An effective educator
An Effective Educator Excellence




Educator as facilitator

Establishing Rapport Excellence

Help students answer their own questions

Display a personal interest in students and their learning

Explain the reasons for criticisms of students’ academic performance

Encourage student-faculty interaction outside of class

Educator as Facilitator

Basic principle know your students and how they learn
Basic Principle: Know Your Students and How They Learn Excellence

  • Talent Development Approach: All students can learn under the right conditions

  • Developing Effective Educational Practices project – strong commitment to knowing their students, where they came from, their preferred learning styles, their talents, and when and where they need help (Kuh et al., 2005)

Finding the link between student engagement and teacher excellence
HOW? Excellence

  • Group resume for learning teams

  • Letter to the professor the first day of class

  • Learning styles assessments


Find ways to help students answer their own questions
Find Ways to Help Students Excellence Answer Their Own Questions

  • Examples:

    • Designing their own research questions

    • Class research projects where each class member contributes questions and searches for answers

    • Adding space in the syllabus for students to write in their own learning objective for the class

Type of feedback given
Type of Feedback Given Excellence

  • Feedback is such an important issue that it is reflected in two different areas of IDEA:

    • Explaining the reasons for criticisms of students’ academic performance (Establishing Rapport)

    • Providing timely and frequent feedback on tests, reports, projects, etc. to help students improve (Structuring Classroom Experiences)

How to give feedback
How to Give Feedback Excellence

  • Major purpose of feedback is to be instructive: what should the student do differently next time?

  • Connect to the students’ goals

  • “I messages” work in feedback

  • Not personal or judgmental, but supportive and specific

Encourage contact outside of class
Encourage Contact ExcellenceOutside of Class


  • Cues you send about your approachability

  • Responsiveness is the key!

  • E-mail and texting as well as in person

Educator as motivator

Stimulating Students’ Interest Excellence

Educator as motivator

Educator as motivator1
Educator as Motivator Excellence

  • Demonstrate the importance and significance of the subject matter

  • Introduce stimulating ideas about the subject

  • Stimulate students to intellectual effort beyond that required by most courses

  • Inspire students to set and achieve goals which really challenge them

Motivation Excellence

  • Affects whether one chooses to approach a goal in the first place

  • Directs energy toward a goal

  • Sustains effort and persistence, which enhances performance

So what motivates
So What Motivates? Excellence

  • The same as what engages!

    • Interest

    • Appropriate challenge

    • Value

    • Expectancy

    • Choice

    • Relationships

Basic principle encourage deep learning tagg 2003 2004
Basic Principle: Encourage Excellence“Deep Learning” (Tagg, 2003, 2004)

  • Meaning making—personal significance

  • Connections between what is known and what is yet to be known

  • Lasts beyond the course

  • Changes who you are, the way you see things, and/or how you act

Deep learning connects students to
Deep Learning Connects Students to … Excellence

  • what they already know

  • their previous experiences

  • what they will need to know soon

  • real life issues and problems

  • what already interests them

  • a problem they want to solve

  • what they are learning in other classes

  • their future goals

Strategies for deep learning
Strategies for ExcellenceDeep Learning

  • Pre-test the first day of class – find out what they already know

  • Youtube and other use of technology to connect to what interests them

  • Problem-based learning, case studies to connect to real-life issues

  • Examples of professionals in the field to connect to their future goals and what they will need to know

The importance of choice
The Importance of Choice Excellence

  • Authentic motivation occurs when students are given choices in how to demonstrate mastery of course material

  • Allowing them to connect their assignments to their strengths, their own goals, interests, and learning styles enhances their performance

Examples Excellence

  • Learning project proposal

  • Choices in test questions

    • Theoretical

    • Application

    • Creative design

  • Bonus question – “One thing you learned that I didn’t ask on the test”

  • Lottery for project due dates

Inspire students to set challenging goals
Inspire Students to Set Challenging Goals Excellence

  • Performance goals vs. Mastery goals

  • Encourage students to set learning goals, not grade goals

  • Mindset affects the goals students will choose

Finding the link between student engagement and teacher excellence

Intelligence is something very basic about a person that can’t be changed very much

You can always change how intelligent you are





Encourage a growth mindset

FIXED MINDSET can’t be changed very much

Intelligence is innate and unchangeable

Focus on performance

Effort means you’re not very smart

Avoid failure at all costs


Intelligence is malleable with effort

Focus on learning

Effort is a natural part of the learning process

Failure is a temporary setback that provides feedback for learning

Encourage a Growth Mindset

Strategies for encouraging a growth mindset
Strategies for Encouraging a Growth Mindset can’t be changed very much

  • Teach students about the brain and how it changes with practice – whatever you focus attention on repeatedly changes your brain!

  • Debunk myths about intelligence: “no such thing as a math brain”

  • Emphasize that there are strategies for learning the material—and that it is your job to teach those strategies

  • Share stories and examples of famous people who invest a lot of effort – effort is essential to achieving any type of success

The best of the best
The Best of the Best … can’t be changed very much

  • Champion chess players

  • World-class cellist Pablo Casals

  • Tiger Woods

  • MVP basketball players

What do they have in common?

They practice a lot
They Practice – A Lot! can’t be changed very much

  • Casals was one of the greatest cellists of all time

  • In his eighties he still practiced for hours every day

  • When asked why he still practiced when he was already the best in the world, his reply was: “In order to play better!”

Faculty also have mindsets

Intelligence is something very basic about a person that can’t be changed very much

You can always change how intelligent you are

Faculty Also Have Mindsets!



What impact do faculty beliefs have on the learning process
What Impact Do Faculty Beliefs Have on the Learning Process? can’t be changed very much

  • Dweck’s (2006) book Mindset:

    At-risk students performed better on independent tests at the end of the course – and at the level of those not at risk – when they had instructors who had a growth mindset compared to those whose instructors had a fixed mindset.

Stimulating interest through active learning
Stimulating Interest Through Active Learning can’t be changed very much

“Student engagement is a process and a product that is experienced on a continuum and results from the synergistic interaction between motivation and active learning.”

Barkley, E. F. (2010) Student Engagement Techniques

Actively involve students
Actively Involve Students can’t be changed very much

  • With the course content

  • With each other

Sampling of active learning

Structure the classroom (circle, small groups) can’t be changed very much

Anonymous cards


Jigsaw learning

Find your match

Problem-based learning

Student bingo


Call on the next speaker





(Silberman, Active Learning, 1996)

Sampling of Active Learning

Jigsaw learning
Jigsaw Learning can’t be changed very much

  • Each team member is assigned a different reading or topic

  • In-class project depends on each person’s contribution

Anonymous cards
Anonymous Cards can’t be changed very much

  • Effective for getting opinions or perceptions on sensitive topics

  • Encourages participation by less vocal students

  • Can be made active with variations

  • Can be combined with group work

Active learning is not a spontaneous decision
Active Learning is Not a Spontaneous Decision can’t be changed very much

  • Because active learning takes more time than a lecture, using active learning strategies involves a conscious decision to make students responsible for learning course content outside of class

  • Be strategic and intentional when deciding when and how to use active learning techniques

Educator as designer

Structuring Classroom Experiences can’t be changed very much

Educator as designer

Structuring classroom experiences
Structuring Classroom Experiences can’t be changed very much

  • This is the foundation on which the other 2 components rest

  • Ratings of teacher and course excellence are related to:

    • Making it clear how each topic fits into the course

    • Explaining course material clearly and concisely

    • Scheduling assignments so students stay up-to-date on work

    • Giving tests, projects that covered most important points of the course

    • Providing timely and frequent feedback

Basic principles clarity and organization
Basic Principles: Clarity and Organization can’t be changed very much

  • Know where your students need to go and the best path to get them there

  • Communicate the path in a way that is clear to students

It starts with a syllabus
It Starts with a Syllabus can’t be changed very much

  • Communicate excitement and good will

  • Manage expectations

  • Provide resource information

  • Connect assignments to learning objectives

  • Map the journey

  • Provide clear criteria for success

Well designed assignments
Well-Designed Assignments can’t be changed very much

  • Require students to apply course material, not regurgitate it

  • Are well-spaced throughout the semester

  • Build on skills developed in prior assignments

    • Requires feedback from faculty along the way

  • Allow for student choice

The importance of feedback
The Importance of Feedback can’t be changed very much

  • Learning cannot occur without feedback

    • Timely

    • Frequent

    • Specific

      • Provides input on what to do next time

      • Demonstrates a clear path to reach learning goals

Well designed classroom experiences will
Well-Designed Classroom Experiences Will can’t be changed very much

  • Build on what was learned in prior classes – make the connection!

    • Concept maps

  • Use examples that are relevant

    • Have more than one in case students do not understand the first time through

  • Actively engage students

  • Be well-organized

My best professors ever

Did not teach me can’t be changed very muchwhat to think, but taught me how to think

Helped me make connections between a serious academic curriculum and my own personal life, values, and experiences  

Worked with me one-on-one outside of class

Asked questions or posed problems that helped me learn to think like a professional in my field

Encouraged students to disagree with them, as part of teaching them how to think like professionals

Taught students the importance of evidence, how to collect it, and how to use it to make decisions

Engaged students in the learning process

(Light, 2001)

“My Best Professors Ever…”

The one minute paper
The “one-minute paper” can’t be changed very much

One thing I want to do differently when I get back to campus