May Faculty Meeting

Student Engagement - Part 1

So, really, what does this mean to you as a faculty member at Bryant & Stratton College?

While it is true that students may not continue their studies for a variety of reasons, Instructors can impact student retention from a teaching and learning perspective.


It is important, when thinking about Student Retention, that we note one of the ways that we can improve the chances for a student’s success is to engage them in the classroom. In fact, research has shown that the more engaged a student feels, the easier it will be to retain that student in their studies.


We can define student engagement as “the range of activities a learner employs to generate the interest, focus, and attention required to build new knowledge or skills” (Toshalis, 2012). Researchers have divided student engagement into 4 subcategories:

  • Academic Engagement: homework completion, time on task, credits towards graduation
  • Behavioral Engagement: attendance, classroom participation
  • Cognitive Engagement: setting learning goals, perceived value of the knowledge learned
  • Psychological Engagement: relationships with instructors and peers, feelings of belonging


“Engagement consistently has been found to be a robust predictor of student performance and behavior in the classroom, an antidote to student alienation, and a precursor to long-term academic achievement and eventual completion of school” (Toshalis, 2012).


“The goal for the (instructor) is to develop relationships with the students such that they feel comfortable in the environment” (Angelino, 2007). While interactions with students may be time consuming (Nash, 2005), studies show “early and frequent contact with your students is critical” (Minich, 1996) to creating positive student engagement.

Meaningful Engaged Learning

Big image

In the diagram above, you will notice that Meaningful Engaged Learning has four elements to it; Environment, Experience, Motivation and Meaning. Below are some points to remember when thinking about engaging your students:

  • The work is well connected to other ideas and to the real world
  • The content of the learning experience was personally relevant, interesting, useful, or meaningful to the student
  • The student had choices, shared authority, control, and responsibility
  • The student learned from and taught other students (peer review/group work)
  • The student had the support of a patient, supportive and nurturing instructor
  • The experience helped the student understand him or herself
  • The student met success and accomplishment with challenging work


Striving to meet all facets of the Meaningful Engaged Learning paradigm will help to make your classroom more engaging to your students, which in turn will generate more success for the students of Bryant & Stratton College.