Thank you for your interest in Auburn Day School, Alabama’s only STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Preschool offering hands-on, concept-based curriculum for children 8 months- 5 years and STEM Camps for preschool and elementary students here in Auburn. This blog has been created to keep you informed and give you a more in-depth look at the WHY and HOW behind Auburn Day School's teaching philosophy, curriculum, and instruction.
This week, we’ll look at how students engage in learning. In 8 Ways to Increase the Engagement in Your Classroom, John Almarode writes, “there are three types of engagement: emotional engagement, cognitive engagement, and behavioral engagement (Appleton, Christenson, & Furlong, 2008; Marks, 2000; Reschly, Huebner, Appleton, & Antaramian, 2008; Skinner, Kinderman, & Furrer, 2009). Within a given classroom, on any given day, the levels of engagement for each individual student fluctuate across these three types.”
At Auburn Day School, teachers look for behavioral markers of emotional, cognitive and behavioral engagement. Focus, eye contact, rich discussion, 'on task' talk, appropriate questions, and the ability to make connections between the task and other activities or ideas are some of the signs of student engagement we look for.
Emotional Engagement - How students feel is the link to how they think.
This type of engagement relates to how the student feels both in general and about the learning. For example, the learner feels emotionally safe in the classroom. The learner is vested in the content, lesson, or activity. He or she has bought into what is happening in the classroom and thus feels some connection to the learning. At Auburn Day School, we know that all people should feel respected, appreciated, and safe to think outside the box, to make mistakes, and to confidently try new things. Below are some photos of students learning at Auburn Day School. Each photo shows students who are emotionally engaged in the lesson being taught and who feel confident and emotionally secure as they learn.
Emotional Engagement at Auburn Day School
The second type of student engagement you want to look for in the classroom is Cognitive Engagement. This type of engagement relates to what the learner is thinking about in the classroom and it heavily depends on the specific strategy, task, or activity developed by the teacher. Ideally, the learner is thinking about the content, lesson, or activity and not something outside of the classroom.
At Auburn Day School, there are lots of engaging activities: a giant lego wall, a glass art wall, tables to explore liquids, a loft and metal wall for experimenting with energy and design, and countless games and materials. Although there is always time to explore, Auburn Day School lessons are purposeful and facilitated to help students gain understanding and build specific knowledge and skills. Lessons are designed to be hands-on and active to help direct students’ attention to the specific activity rather than allowing a constant free exploration of the space.
Cognitive Engagement at Auburn Day School
This type of engagement refers to the actions of the student. What is the student doing? This is the most observable type of engagement. For example, the learner is completing the task or activity in the way it was designed by the teacher compared to a student that is off task. If a student is not engaging with the lesson, it's time for teachers to reevaluate the lesson to make sure it's appropriate for the students and to make sure that the students received clear and modeled expectations so they can be successful.
Behavioral Engagement at Auburn Day School
Auburn Day School is currently on track to open in January 2020. This fall, parents may sign up for our drop-in classes and STEM Camps for January, February and March. If you have any questions, please email Katie Murrah at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can't wait to begin our adventures!