There is a clear link, of course, between understanding and engagement. It’s difficult to invest over time in content and ideas that feel inaccessible or estranged from personal experience. Engagement in the classroom results when a student’s attention is attracted to an idea or a task and is held there because the idea or task seems worthwhile.
Students become engrossed because the task is enjoyable, or because it seems to provide them with the power of competence or autonomy, or because it links with an experience, interest, or talent that is significant to them, or because it is at the right level of challenge to stimulate rather than frustrate or bore them—or likely because of a combination of these conditions.
When students are engaged, they are more likely to concentrate, remain absorbed with a task, persist in the face of difficulty, experience satisfaction, and feel pride in what they do. Conversely, lack of engagement leads to inattention, giving up, withdrawal, boredom, and frustration, anger, or self-blame.
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