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Facilitating Engagement in the Classroom


Engagement refers to a state of heightened attention and active involvement in a learning activity (Philp and Duchesne, 2016). Keeping students engaged is essential because engagement entails learning. There are multiple dimensions of classroom engagement which are cognitive, social, behavioral and affective. Dimensions of engagement are inextricably intertwined and the presence or intensity of one directly affects another. For example, when students are socially engaged in the classroom simply because of being happy in the group that they are working with, they are more likely to find the activity more interesting and thus cognitively more engaged. Similarly, when students find the activity boring and thus are emotionally disengaged, they will not be interested in other students` responses and will not listen to their classmates actively which will lead to behavioral and social disengagement. Therefore, it is crucially important for the teachers to better understand dimensions of classroom engagement to facilitate learning. The following table summarizes key elements of each dimension to help teachers understand whether students are engaged during an activity.


Cognitive Engagement: Cognitive engagement entails the active and meaningful involvement of learners in the mental processes involved in learning. It involves the use of higher-order thinking skills, such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, to make sense of new information and ideas. Cognitive engagement is a critical component of effective learning, as it requires learners to go beyond memorization and recall and engage with the material in a deeper and more meaningful way. When students are cognitively engaged, they are actively constructing knowledge, making connections between new and existing ideas, and applying what they have learned to new situations.

Social Engagement: Learners are socially engaged when they are actively and meaningfully involved in social interactions and relationships within the learning environment. Social engagement allows students to interact with their peers, share ideas, and learn from one another. It can also help to create a supportive and inclusive learning environment, where students feel valued and respected.

Behavioral engagement: Behavioral engagement refers to the active and visible participation of learners in the learning process. It lays the foundation for academic success and helps to create a positive and productive learning environment. When students are behaviorally engaged, they are more likely to achieve their academic goals, develop positive relationships with their peers and instructors, and develop the skills and habits necessary for success in their personal and professional lives.

Affective engagement: Affective engagement involves the attitudes, beliefs, and feelings that students have about their learning experiences and their own abilities. Affective engagement is a critical factor in motivation, self-esteem, and academic achievement. When students are affectively engaged, they are more likely to be motivated, interested, and invested in their studies, and they are more likely to persevere through challenges and setbacks.

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