Student engagement is what us educators strive for each day. We try and plan and deliver the perfect lessons so maximum learning and enjoyment is achieved. This doesn’t always turn out how we plan for it though, and there are a number of reasons why. We have come up with a couple of strategies and ideas to increase engagement, so students are gaining the most out of each lesson we teach on a daily basis.

It has become a common conversation that young people these days have more options, more temptations and more opportunities than ever before. Because of this, I genuinely believe that the future success (or failure) of a child and the direction their life takes is directly related to the standards of the role models they are exposed to. Having facilitated numerous self-improvement programs with the unemployed demographic over the past 5 years, I have seen first hand the detrimental effect that comes from negative role models. Some of these individuals are third generationally unemployed; hence they only act what they know. And as we all know we are only judged by our current and past actions.

As a community this is something we must commit to change, one individual at a time. On the flip side, I am eternally grateful that my mother worked three jobs to put me through private schooling and expose me to some remarkably positive role models. Some were friends and others were teachers that I am proud to call my friends today. In fact one of my current mentors was my Year 7 math teacher Howard Clark. I wont go into his full story here but to say he has overcome remarkable physical odds just to be here would be an understatement. Sure, private schooling exposed me to some great individuals but like any environment (and I must stress the any environment), also brought with it temptations. There are times throughout any childhood or adulthood for that matter where we become curious about the other side of the ledger. You can see the most responsible person within a peer group make the most inappropriate mistake. And you can see the individual with a common disrespect for people show the most compassionate act to care. These events are rare, but they do happen as it is in our nature to be curious. It is in this curiosity as educators and mentors that we must lead from the front. Keeping the ‘high achiever’ on course while transitioning the ‘trouble maker’ to making more responsible decisions is the epitome of a great leader.

Coming back to my opening statement that the future success of a child is directly related to the standards of their role models. I believe this is where the gap between the student and the teacher has widened dramatically over the past decade. We as educators are constantly trying to raise the standards of the students, as we are told to do by the government, the department, the universities and the schools. But do we ever raise the standard of ourselves? Students don’t listen to what we say, they watch what we do. The standard of our behaviour will set the standard of that of our students.

We have designed activities and strategies to help teachers improve the barriers between the students and themselves. If you would like to learn how to improve your professional standards and behaviours for student engagement contact either Dale at dale@breakappz.com or Ryan at ryan@leapperformance.com.au

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