As teachers, educators and staff members, we are motivated and inspired by our students’ engagement with their education. Our work has more meaning when our students’ faces light up with excitement and passion for learning.
There are so many factors that contribute to students’ engagement (or disengagement). Students lead complex lives that include a wide range of experiences. Sometimes these lead to difficulties that impede a student’s ability to concentrate and learn. Abuse of all kinds, including bullying, poverty and discrimination are just a few examples of real barriers to student engagement. First Nations, Métis and Inuit students may also be grappling with the intergenerational consequences of a long history of colonization and cultural genocide and the legacy of residential schools.
When students feel a sense of belonging, fairness and inclusion in their school, they are more likely to want to engage. As they become more engaged, they have opportunities to learn skills and attitudes and integrate values related to positive character attributes such as empathy, responsibility and respect. With character development, students can fully embrace these values and treat others in kind.