Active Student Engagement

It is highly critical for students, as agents of their own learning, to be actively engaged in the processing of information. When presenting students with new information, the different strategies used by the teacher to engage students in the learning process facilitate the students’ learning while providing them with greater access to developing their fluency in the content area. One way to encourage active engagement is by teaching content in small chunks. Similar to deconstructing a standard into different learning targets, dividing content into smaller chunks of information reduces the cognitively load necessary for processing the new information and allows the teacher to explore the content more rigorously. According to Marzano (2007, p. 44), “Learning proceeds more efficiently if students receive information in small chunks that are processed immediately.” Another way to encourage active engagement is to integrate cooperative learning groups, “Groups should be established to facilitate active processing of information during a critical-input experience.” (Marzano, 2007, p. 43). One way to do this in a mathematics class is to have students attempt a solution on their own and then share their work with a partner. With that partner, they would have to develop a better solution together. Afterward, they would find another set of partners and altogether they would develop an even better solution. Having students continually share their solutions with their peers and collaborate on developing a better solution allows them to verbalize their reasoning and critique the reasoning of others.

Marzano, R. (2007). The Art and Science of Teaching: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Instruction. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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