The Highly Engaged Classroom

By Robert J. Marzano and Debra J. Pickering
With Tammy Heflebower

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“The 21st century classroom needs to shift dramatically to catch up to a new generation of learners. . . The Highly Engaged Classroom will give you specific, exciting, and fresh approaches to genuinely empower students. The learner moves to the driver’s seat as teachers equip them with tools to navigate their future.”

The book provides an in depth understanding of how a teacher can generate high levels of attention and engagement. The authors approach the understanding that a learner is engaged through emotions, interests, perceived importance, and perceptions of efficacy.

Teachers need to address the following questions when planning and preparing student work:

  • How does the student feel?   If a student has negative feelings, the teacher is less likely to engage the student.  (strategies-effective pacing, physical movement, using humor, building  teacher/student relationships, using personal stories, creating a class constitution, integrating quotes, providing movie clips, addressing  simple courtesies ,and  making contact by  using proximity)
  • Is the student interested?  Students will attend to activities if they can answer the questions.  (Strategies- using games and inconsequential competition, presenting unusual information, and increasing response rates)
  • Is the learning important? If the answer is “yes” the students will likely be engaged. (Strategies- connecting to student’s lives and connecting to students life ambitions)
  • Can the student do the work? Even though a student may feel good, is interested, and believes the work is important; the student may believe the task is impossible. (Strategies- tracking student progress, effective feedback, provide examples of efficacy, teaching efficacy –using quotes, stories, etc.)

As the reader progresses through the chapters in the book, the authors highly encourage the reader to do the exercises and compare the reader’s answers to the answers in the back of the book.

Review written by Betty Sheofee, Great Expectations Mentor