||Engagement in the classroom is critical to student learning and development. One cannot truly occur without the other. It has become the responsibility of formal education to teach students to communicate effectively, be critical and creative thinkers and increase resiliency. My years of experience teaching junior and senior high students has taught me that engagement occurs when students are able to participate in authentic activities in intellectually safe spaces. Students will become engaged when the topic, theme or text that they are studying is relevant, relatable, and is something that they are curious or passionate about.
This presentation will discuss examples of curriculum delivery via activities and text choices that encourage students to engage in the subject area by giving them a genuine, captivating and meaningful purpose. The use of debate, mock trials, demonstrations, community service projects, propaganda experiments, talk shows and social media provide some color to the processes of reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and representing (which although specifically ELA strands, can and should be used across the curriculum) and provide a unique forum for students to address themes, topics and issues, especially those relating to social justice.
This presentation draws upon my 15 years of experience in middle and senior years ELA classrooms in Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well as feedback from high school students themselves about how the ELA curriculum prepares them engage as citizens with issues outside of and beyond the school environment, which was the basis for my qualitative research study for my M. Ed.