(Originally written and posted for www.cubedliving.com; April 9, 2018)
By: Emma K. Marvel
During my time as an educator in Texas, I came across all sorts of acronyms, approaches, and systems that are touted to be phenomenal for producing “student engagement.”
Kahoot, Plickers, Screen-castify, TRTW, TPRS, Gamification, Total Immersion, Realia, Project-based Learning, Comprehensible Input etc.
See end of post for explanations, links, and more examples.
That’s just to name a few… and I’m, by no means, an expert on the mass of educational heuristics and programs for fostering student engagement!
However, my background as an educator and previous experiences have given me a unique understanding of the value of true engagement within a group setting.
The concept is somewhat ignored by neophyte leaders as they have yet to realize that the members of their team are always engaged with something.
Though, that something may not be the main focus designed for the team. In a classroom this sort of wayward engagement (note passing, phones out, friends, doodling, side convos, social media, staring off into space, items brought from home etc.) can derail an entire lesson– thus offsetting the entire week’s goals and the ripple effect goes on…
In the career world–wayward engagement looks surprisingly similar– phones out, too many side-convos, staring off into space, youtube, social media, you get the idea. Wayward engagement happens when a leader fails to engage their team with the desired goal(s).
Team members feel unchallenged, bored, lacking in resources, uninterested, unaccountable, and simply feel they must bide their time, avoid rocking the boat, and get the heck outta dodge when the end of the day arrives.
The thing is, as a teacher, I had students who would use all the same wayward engagement techniques TO ENGAGE with the goals I had set for the day. Because they wanted to.
The chosen outlets for time wasting are not the problem.
They can actually become part of the solution if you choose to step outside of your “box”– whatever ideas of historical leading/education practices you may have–and dump them.
The problem is the lack-luster approach we have formed to problem solving, and collaboration.
We act like we don’t need each other. And then we turn to Facebook the moment a task grows stale.
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