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Understanding student engagement: Creating a sense of belonging using student passions in learning

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Duration: 2:51

Dave Gillies, Assistant Principal, discusses how learning can flourish when student engagement is understood. Creating an environment where learners are respected helps align balance in engagement.

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Title slide: Understanding student engagement: Creating a sense of belonging using student passions in learning

enabling e-Learning

Filmed at Rāroa Normal Intermediate School

Dave Gillies, Assistant Principal
In terms of engagement, there are three types of engagement; there’s emotional engagement, there’s behavioural engagement, and there's cognitive engagement. And you basically aren't going to be able to access learning if you don't have all of those three engagements in alignment effectively because, to give you an example, if you're not behaviourally engaged, then you're not even in the classroom, you're not there to learn.

If you're not emotionally engaged then the cognitive part of your brain is not ready to take on information because your emotions are taking up all of your thinking. So you can see how all of those things need to be balanced in order to be aligned. And that's why building an environment where children feel like they belong, where learners feel like you respect them,

Dave speaking to the camera.
and that you can connect with them on the personal level when you know a lot about them,  Dave meeting with student and parent.
they feel safe and they feel more able to take on the challenges, and take risks with their learning. Really push themselves to be successful. Dave speaking to the camera.
So taking that understanding and putting that into a practical context. We had a discussion around a skate park and they came to me and said,  Laptop monitor showing skatepark design project.
“Is there any way we can make a skate park around the school?” And I said, “Yeah sure, let's go out and go shopping. But you guys have got to do all the thinking.” Dave speaking to the camera.
They had to go through the prototyping stage so the design thinking model that we use at the school.  Students working on skatepark project at laptops.
They had to go through every step of it and create paper prototypes that were effectively going to prove that it could be done before we actually put hammer to nail and and built the finished product because, you know, expensive materials and all the rest of it.  Dave speaking to the camera.
But they've done it successfully. Students working in design production area.
Within the subculture of skating, Student skateboarding.
 art is also a really important component of it. Student working on skateboard art.
 In our first term we were looking at mental health and positive messages.  Skatedeck painted with message "It's okay not to be okay."
And so, their skate decks, the way they designed them,  Dave speaking to the camera.
were communicating that idea in a really clear and striking image.  Skatedeck painted with message "mental illness is not a personal failure".
And the engagement, these boys were just tuned in from the get-go. Students skateboarding.
We wanted to encourage these learners to take what they can do in these contexts and realise that the skills that they've learnt are what's important.  Dave speaking to the camera.
Those skills can be applied in the classroom and in many different aspects of their learning. And it's being open to that dialogue and giving them new ideas and mentoring them through that process.  Students skateboarding and scootering.
And once that sort of thing has seeded in their mind,  Dave speaking to the camera.
then that's where the intrinsic motivation takes over.  Students skateboarding.
So we try and find meaningful contexts in which they can be successful and then, through that process they pick up the reins and they drive their own success through life. Dave speaking to the camera.


Tags: Primary, Cross-curricular, Collaborative teaching, Integrated curriculum