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Student engagement trap

Posted on: October 8, 2020

This long-ish Instagram post by Edutopia described the desire and call to engage students as a trap. I could not agree more.

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The 1883 eruption of Krakatau in Southeast Asia created the loudest sound ever reported. This tidbit might lead you to ask your students: “What do you imagine a volcanic eruption sounds like?” Watch as 28 kids’ faces light up—you’ve got their attention. But is this information relevant to your upcoming geology lesson about volcanoes? ⁣ ⁣ When teachers infuse lessons with interesting but irrelevant information—known as seductive details—research shows it decreases student learning, writes Kripa Sundar, PhD, a researcher and education consultant. This might be because seductive details can distract students from essential content, dilute their attention with too much information, or confuse them by calling up irrelevant prior knowledge, says Sundar. ⁣ ⁣ Based on her analysis of more than 50 research studies, here are three tips from Sundar for navigating the use of attention-grabbing details in your lessons: ⁣ ⁣ 1. Use restraint: It’s OK to occasionally use fun seductive details, like a GIF or a quick story shared in class. These won’t hamper learning too much because they catch kids’ attention but also signal that the information is meant just for fun. It’s images or sections of text containing irrelevant information that distract or confuse students, especially kids who don’t have enough prior knowledge to contextualize the information. ⁣ ⁣ 2. Rethink your graphics: Cut out information that makes the material look pretty—stock photos, for example—but doesn’t add value to the content. Instead, focus on useful and aesthetically pleasing design elements like having clear titles or using borders and blocks to highlight ideas. ⁣ ⁣ 3. End with clarity: Seductive details are especially counterproductive when placed at the end of a lesson where they may disrupt students’ understanding of the topic. Instead, wrap up your lesson by revisiting key ideas, or try quick strategies like retrieval practice to make the lesson stick. ⁣ ⁣ Link in bio. ⁣ ⁣ #StudentEngagement #BrainBasedLearning #EducationResearch #TeachersOfInsatgram #EducationResearch

A post shared by Edutopia (@edutopia) on

I would add that playing the engagement game puts the focus on the teacher who has to keep devising ways to use shiny objects instead of nurturing student ownership and empowerment.

Engagement has short term goals and little gains if any. Empowerment is a long term journey that does not hide the fact that students must struggle and make the effort to change and learn.

Engagement is a trap because can keep the teacher in a bubble of superficial teaching. Empowerment bursts that bubble and forces both teachers and students to question their roles and challenge themselves.

3 Responses to "Student engagement trap"

Okay: give my man Jeff a chance 👿😈😈‼️‼️🙈😈😈 or we coming fo you on FO NEM GRAVE ‼️‼️😈

via twitter.com

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still trappin: why u block my main acount nigga??

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