3 Keys That Unlock the Door to Student Engagement

bonding is key to student engagement
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James Alan Sturtevant calls student engagement the “whole ballgame”, and who would know this better than the 32-year veteran teacher, rapidly becoming known as the student engagement guru, and the author of the just-released Hacking Education: 50 Tips & Tools To Engage Teachers and Learners Daily?

While most teachers are racing for the door when they’ve been in education for 30 years, Sturtevant, whom Hack Learning nicknamed Jamstur (learn why in the podcast episode above), calls teaching a privilege and continues to raise the bar for all education stakeholders when it comes to engaging students and making teaching and learning fun.

The Problem

Many teachers confuse engagement with compliance and forget about enjoyment. According to Sturtevant, when some teachers see students doing what the teacher wants, they believe the students are engaged. Compliance doesn’t equate to either a focus on learning or a passion for academics.

You want to engage students? If they’re enjoying themselves, they’re engaged!” -James Sturtevant, author of Hacking Engagement

The Hack

  1. Bond with kids
  2. Integrate technology you can use daily
  3. Be a storyteller

Sturtevant explains how all of his tips and tools for student engagement are rooted in bonding, integrating only useful and interesting technology, and sharing stories that humanize the teacher.

Kids want to know you’re a real person.” 

What You Can Do Tomorrow

Download the free Voxer app: Sturtevant says that Voxer empowers teachers to build a network of like-minded professionals and gives students a backchannel that they can use to discuss learning in a fun way both in and out of class.

Nickname students to build rapport and inspire loyalty: Our engagement guru explains his Celebrity Nickname strategy–a simple name game that Sturtevant says accomplishes three important facets of student engagement.

Number 1: It helps you remember a kid’s name. Number 2: It bonds you together. Number 3: It builds student allegiance to your class.”

Learn more about James Sturtevant in the Resources section below, where you can find him on Twitter, on his Podcast page, and other places, and you can learn more about Hacking Engagement.


Hacking Engagement: 50 Tips & Tools To Engage Teachers and Learners Daily

Hacking Engagement Podcast with James Sturtevant

Jamstur on Edutopia

3 Surefire Ways to Engage Students (Brilliant or Insane blog)

Follow James Sturtevant on Twitter @jamessturtevant


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Author: Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is a longtime educator and the Founder of Times 10, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series, the uNseries, and other books for teachers and learners. To connect with Mark follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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