In education, student engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education. Generally speaking, the concept of “student engagement” is predicated on the belief that learning improves when students are inquisitive, interested, or inspired, and that learning tends to suffer when students are bored, dispassionate, disaffected, or otherwise “disengaged.” Extract from http://edglossary.org/student-engagement/
To date, this has been the strangest holiday period for many years. The original intention of a month on France came to a serious halt when our car caught fire some 10km from our house. We decided to come home and sort ourselves out and, hopefully, find another car reasonably quickly and possibly resume where we had left off.
Perhaps I’m fussy, or perhaps live in the wrong area, but it’s taken an inordinate amount of time to locate cars to view. The spec wasn’t too onerous. Or so I thought. I’ve decided to stay with diesel, as we make significant journeys, with limited town driving. I wanted a fuel-efficient estate, not too many miles on the clock, preferably manual, as I like the experience of driving, and, if possible, a light interior; just because it brightens things a little.
There are several proprietary websites devoted to supporting car searches. By putting in the preferences and selecting a radius of 75 miles, I was able to see selected cars that were advertised through those sites. Interestingly, some were “promoted ads”, suggesting someone had paid extra to put them higher up the lists. Self-promotion via the internet? Now there’s an idea. I found cheaper cars, with seemingly higher specs, only to read the small print and discover “Cat C” or “Cat D” mentioned. Another layer of search identified these as repaired insurance write-offs.
Then I discovered a search model available through Google maps. This allowed me to identify every garage in a section of map, to click on their website and browse their forecourt adverts. A slightly laborious task, focused and slightly addictive, but eventually leading to a garage that had not appeared in the general searches, with a couple of possible cars and not too far away.
The main car in which I was interested was off-site in a compound, but, in it’s place, we saw a four-year old diesel VW Golf Estate, with 20k miles on the dial and a light interior. It demanded a test-drive and didn’t disappoint. I’m hoping to pick it up later today, so can plan an autumn return to France, to pick up the clothes and other bits that we had to leave behind.
The strangeness, though, is that, having not really paid any attention to VW Golf estates, we’ve started seeing them everywhere, often several in a day. It’s almost as if we have become attuned to a specific shape and style.
This phenomenon is not unusual. When I was leading conservation groups in the 1980s, pointing out different features, habitats or flora/fauna to children and their families, they would often report at subsequent meetings that they’d seen several of the same. They had become aware. They had “engaged” with an experience and rehearsed what they had experienced for themselves, using and applying what they “knew”. They had had their sensitivity raised and, by actively looking around, possibly sharing this with another.
I use the term engagement, because that’s appeared many times recently in Twitter conversations. It seems to be the latest “target word”, being endowed with magical powers associated with a particular view of teaching. Some participants what to ensure such specificity in meaning, that it begins to become meaningless, which is the fate of many words associated with education at the moment, which makes practical discussion, necessary to classroom practice, almost impossible.
And some wonder why the majority of teachers are not on Twitter! It’s no wonder that many become disengaged.
It would be akin to me specifying that the only true VW Golf estate is my new white one, or that I am the only true guru; all others are imitations…
We’re all, at heart, just trying to make sense of our existence, aware that there’s much that we don’t know; hopefully always retaining the sense of being a learner. In that, all teachers should be fully engaged.