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An Enagaging Classroom

As educators, we are challenged to address and close the achievement gap as we work to achieve Equity and Excellence for All.

When analyzing data of underperforming students, lack of engagement is often cited as a contributing factor to student lack of success by both teachers and students. We know from the research of Hattie that instead of asking ‘what works’ we need to ask ‘what works best?’ Almost all of what we do has an impact on learning but most of what we do has a very small impact. Cooperative learning is nineteenth on Hattie’s list of 195 High Impact Influences showing more than .59 effect size making it one of the highest leverage influences that positively influence learning.

Classroom A
1. Teacher teaches about 10 min.
2. Stops and asks a question to the class.
3. Calls on one or two  students.
4. Repeat.
Result: Status quo continues.

Classroom B
1.  Teachers teaches about 10 min.
2.  Stops and asks a question.
3.  Asks students to Turn and Talk.
4. Repeat.
Result: Drivers and Riders. Those that know continue to learn and those that struggle, hide or opt out.

Classroom C
1. Teacher teaches about 10 minutes.
2. Stops and asks a question.
3. Teacher introduces a cooperative learning structure that ensures the engagement principles of PIES.
4. Repeat.
Result: Engaged learners held accountable to each other and the content.

The key to the success of the Student Engagement rests not with the implementation of engagement structures, no matter the model, but with the awareness and internalization of the power of the four cooperative learning principles known as PIES.

Positive Interdependence (no winners and losers)

  • Do the students feel on the same side?
  • Does the work of one benefit all?

Individual Opportunities (no free rides)

  • Does each member have to publicly perform in the group?

Equal Participation (no domination, no hiding)

  • Does each member participate for roughly the same amount of time?

Simultaneous Interaction (stay engaged)

  • How many many students are speaking or writing at once?

These four principles lead to engagement, and engagement leads to learning, and learning is why we exist!

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