Student Engagement

It was a bit of a shock a while ago to learn that most workers in the US are not really engaged in their work. If I recall correctly, only around 30% said that they were. Since then there has been a lot of discussion why this is so and what to do about it.

There is a very simple explanation that most people ignore. This is at least in part, a cultural phenomenon. Workers learn to be detached at school by sitting in classrooms for hours on end listening to lectures. Then, instead of using what they learn, they regurgitate it in an exam and forget most of it.  Here is the diagnosis

There is a growing conviction that levels of student engagement are too low, time-to-degree too slow, and graduation rates too little. Above all, there is the conviction that too few graduates acquire the skills, knowledge and habits of mind expected of a college graduate.

So what to do? Clearly, the goal must be to get students to take a more active and constructive role in their own education. To get them engaged in why they are learning — not just what they are learning.

That is a strategic issue. One that I address here, but sadly I do not see much in the way of academic reform along these lines.


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