Questions to Connect

Since 1979, Roger Holdsworth has published a bi-monthly magazine in Victoria, Australia, called Connect. Connect aims to support active student participation in school leadership and throughout classes in primary and secondary schools throughout Australia. The stories throughout the magazine are excellent, and regularly provide me inspiration for continuing on in this hard journey we are traveling on this side of the Pacific. Roger has even been so kind to include an article I wrote and to promote several of the publications I’ve written.

Today I received my February 2010 edition, and as usual my imagination is alighted with all the great stories throughout it. (I usually read each issue twice, devouring it when it first arrives and then picking through it until the next one arrives.) However, of all the articles it was the cover this month that caught my eye. The following questions that can help educators connect with students, from Connect. 

  • How would you do things differently?
  • What do you think engages and disengages students?
  • What level of choice do students have in classes?
  • How can students be more involved in planning learning experiences?
  • Who are the experts on disengagement where you are?
  • How would you measure the engagement of students?
  • How could you encourage others to learn more about engagement?
  • What other ways could you change engagement?
  • How would you run a research project looking at engagement in your school?
  • Are there engagement patterns in your school and classes?
  • Do students have a voice in the structure of the school?

These are all questions answered by Connect’s booklet called “Switched On to Learning: Student Initiatives in School Engagement.” Written by students in primary schools in Australia, the book uses cartoons to teach readers about what engagement is, how it can be measured, and why it is important.

All this is to say that these efforts are truly global. In my own research I’ve found work focused on student voice and student engagement from more than two dozens countries. Want to learn more? Send an email to adam@soundout.org – and watch this blog – more coming soon!

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