Research-Based Teaching Strategies: Improve Engagment, Student Achievement and Promote Lifelong Learners
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Student engagement has direct links to academic achievement. The problem investigated in this study is the role teachers play in ensuring students are engaged in the learning process in order to minimize boredom and maximize learning. The purpose of this study was to raise teacher awareness about the importance of student engagement, and to examine research-based teaching strategies that can be incorporated into the repertoire of a teacher to improve student engagement and inspire lifelong learners in a Central Alberta school jurisdiction. The project focused on teacher pedagogy to determine if a more authentic, hands-on, inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning would improve student motivation and achievement in a rural school in Central Alberta. The problem was investigated in two Grade 5 classrooms that incorporated a more authentic, inquiry-based learning approach through collaborative projects that encompassed a unit of study in Science and Social Studies. The study examined the influence that teacherstudent, student-student and teacher-teacher relationships have on student learning and the effect that purposeful teaching strategies that incorporate student voice and choice and real-world application have on student engagement and student learning. Although it was difficult to determine the precise impact on student achievement as a result of the change in instructional delivery, all other aspects of the study concluded positive change in student engagement when a more authentic, active-learning, inquiry-based approach was administered and the students were given voice and choice in their learning. For future research, it would be recommended that this group of students be followed and asked to complete a more in-depth study that involves a direct comparison of teaching methodologies that include aspects of more traditional teaching compared to the more authentic, hands-on, inquiry-based approach utilized in this study.