1. Why should educators care about “today’s” student perceptions of levels of engagement? The world has changed, as have our students. We now live in a global culture and economy that is dependent on technology. While some students have embraced the change, others have become disengaged. Teachers need to understand that today's learners want to make sense of the world, and need to find meaning in the educational environment in order to support their beliefs, values, interests, and goals.
2. How can reflecting on “today’s” student context help teachers support learner needs? Instructional approaches must connect learning activities to what is known to be contextually relevant to the learner. The relationship between the teacher and a student is the foundation of the student-centered classroom. In essence, relevance sets the stage for learning.
3. How can educators ascertain student perceptions of levels of engagement in a task or activity? The purpose of students going to school is – to learn how to learn, discover an intrinsic sense of value in the curriculum, and actively invest in daily learning experiences in order to accomplish greater outcomes. The question is, what are the essential components to engaging today’s 21st century learners?
4. How can student perceptions be used to help design learning activities? Using student-centered instructional practices, such as considering a learner’s perception, offering relevant connections to curriculum content, student interaction, and student-centered accountability, can offer key insights when teachers select learning activities and assess student growth for learning. If students are motivated and engaged in their learning process, they are more likely to want to learn what they need to know, perform tasks they need to be able to do, and transfer their understandings into new situations.
5. How might student-centered instructional and accountability practices impact learning outcomes? To successfully guide today’s students to become motivated to produce meaningful learning outcomes, it is critical for educators to be mindful of students’ perceptions of levels of engagement and encourage learners to become responsible for tracking their own learning progress. To be prepared and effectively compete for jobs in a global economy, students will be expected to be well versed in creativity, innovation, abstract thinking, self-discipline, and organization to see work to completion, and the ability to function well as a member of a team. (Millen, Greenleaf, Wells-Papanek, & Orvis, 2007).