Engaged or on task?

To be engaged in learning is something that teachers should strive for in their classrooms each and every day. However the term ‘engagement’ may in fact be masked by a more common action which looks like engagement, but actually is nothing like it. In our classrooms, we often describe our students as being ‘on task’. ‘On task’ is commonly used in student reports or in verbal communication with parents to describe students who behave well during class. Student who are ‘on task’ may in fact look like they are enagaged in learning, but they are in fact not. They are often complete the ‘work’ to the required standard and seem as thought they are engaged in their learning. However real engagement is different from being on task. Real engagement means connecting with learning. It means being intrinsically motivated, curious and immersed in learning experiences. Students who are on task may simply be doing a learning task because they have to, not because they truly want to. Students who are on task may be completing something out of fear or demand and not really make any connection with the learning opportunity.

This makes me wonder how many classrooms are truly engaging, or whether or not we take for granted the fact that ‘on task learning’ may simply resemble but not empower engagement.

Furthermore, do we use technology as a means to engage student learners or are these tools mere opportunities to have students’ on task, rather than being engaged. We also know that 100% engagement is very hard to achieve..but does this mean that we do not strive for it all the time?

I am interested in helping my teachers to understand how to develop their practices in improving student engagement. Furthermore, I believe that schools need to focus on developing their own professional practices that promote teacher engagement in the profession.

A similar article and viewpoint

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About Kate Korber

I'm a passionate educator who loves helping teachers and parents understand how to engage our students in this digital world. I'm also a new Mum who is learning to tackle the everyday challenges of learning to be a parent of a beautiful baby girl. In this blog, I share stories of mayhem, milestones and fabulous finds from the mouths of Mothers!
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