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How the School Experience Affects Student Engagement and What Can You Do About It

Delve into the impact of the school experience on student engagement. Uncover insights and actionable steps for a more enriching and effective educational journey.

· Teaching

It’s no secret that the modern school experience heavily impacts a student's overall engagement, attitudes and academic performance. Students can interact with multiple informal learning opportunities inside and outside classrooms, meaningfully connecting them to new information.

That kind of student engagement is what successful learning looks like—yet it is often missing from many education climates today. So how do we nurture this sense of engagement within classrooms to optimize our schools' impact on students?

In this blog post, you’ll find exactly how the school experience affects student engagement and actionable solutions you can use to make positive changes in your classroom or district today.

What is Student Engagement?

Student engagement is one of education's most important — yet often overlooked — concepts. The Glossary of Education Reform defines student engagement as “the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation, they have to learn and progress in their education.”

Students engaged in the educational process tend to learn more, participate in class discussions more often, develop better problem-solving skills, and increase their appreciation for various subjects and topics.

The most successful student engagement strategies have elements that allow students to develop relationships with peers and teachers; each other's ideas; real-world applications; opportunities for inquiry and exploration; and meaningful feedback and assessment.

Enhancing student engagement through creative activities helps to foster an environment conducive to deeper learning.

As a result, students become more invested in their education while gaining a deeper understanding of subjects they may never have thought possible.

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Why Is Student Engagement Important?

Student engagement is a critical component of learning, providing an environment in which students can develop and practice the skills, attitudes and knowledge needed to be successful in the real world.

According to “School Engagement Is More Than Just Talk” by Gallup (2018), “Engaged students are 2.5 times more likely to say that they get excellent grades and do well in school, and they are 4.5 times more likely to be hopeful about the future than their actively disengaged peers.”

This means that when students are engaged in their education, they are more likely to achieve academic success. Furthermore, student engagement can lead to better physical and mental health outcomes and a sense of belonging and connection with peers.

When students feel connected to their school environment and teachers, they are less likely to be absent from classes or drop out of school altogether. Additionally, students engaged in their education tend to be more creative problem solvers and active participants in a class.

Student engagement is an important factor in achieving educational success. When teachers foster a learning environment that engages students, they can help create experiences that will shape their development into lifelong learners.

Factors That Affect Student Engagement

According to a study, seven key factors affect student engagement. Such factors are the following:

1. Educational Resources

Providing educational resources to students is a critical factor in student engagement. Not only do they need access to materials to research, practice and learn from, but having the right resources means students are more likely to succeed.

For example, if a student is taking an advanced math course, she would benefit from having an instructor available for guidance and some additional material that can supplement her learning in class.

Having the right resources helps students feel supported, maintains their motivation and allows them to stay on track with their progress.

Furthermore, providing resources also encourages exploration and collaboration because it can spark conversations among peers about topics of interest.

2. Social Network

Social network is an increasingly important factor in student engagement. With the prevalence of technology and the amount of time spent on social media, it can be easy for students to zone out and lose focus when trying to learn.

But it also presents unique opportunities; online tools such as discussion boards or social networking sites allow students to collaborate with friends, classmates and experts when tackling difficult tasks.

These fruitful conversations give learners the space to think critically, hone their skills and share knowledge, creating an environment conducive to learning.

Additionally, engaging with peers builds confidence in the student’s abilities and encourages further exploration.

3. Material Relevance

One of the most important elements for student engagement is making sure that material is presented to them is relevant. This means connecting the material to their daily life in an engaging way that is easy to understand and has personal appeal.

Suppose a teacher can relate the material they are discussing to something current, entertaining, or pertinent to their student’s lives. In that case, it will keep them more interested in what is happening during a lesson.

For example, providing examples of news stories or applying math principles to recent events can help bridge the gap between the classroom and what students may be exposed to the outside of it.

Relevance helps make learning meaningful, which naturally leads to improved student engagement.

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4. Learning Styles

Learning styles have been identified as a prominent factor in students' engagement in their education. Students often process, integrate and utilise information more effectively when taught through their favoured learning styles.

Research has demonstrated that teaching strategies tailored to an individual’s learning style can lead to widespread engagement, motivation and performance improvements.

Visual learners, for example, respond well to visual aids such as pictures or diagrams, while practical learners understand concepts better when they can apply them through hands-on activities.

Understanding how different students learn best is essential in creating engaging learning experiences for all learners.

5. Material Selection

Material selection is an important factor when it comes to student engagement. Having the right materials that both present age-appropriate challenges and inspire enthusiasm can vastly improve a student's engagement with the material.

Making sure materials are challenging enough to require critical thinking yet easy enough to be understood can help drive students forward.

Using the latest educational technology, such as virtual reality and online learning tools, can help make mundane topics feel more exciting.

Educators can create a learning environment where engagement thrives by properly selecting materials that draw out the skills and creativity of each learner.

6. Material Usefulness

Student engagement is elevated when the material used in lessons is useful for their current and future studies.

Students who can easily identify how the material will be helpful and applicable to their own lives are more likely to stay interested in and engaged with the subject being taught.

This can be done by presenting material directly connecting to a student’s field of study or providing real-world examples students may encounter. Teachers should also highlight what skills and facts students must know after completing certain activities.

Doing so allows the students to realize they are gaining knowledge that will improve their academic performance, increase career opportunities, and support overall personal growth.

7. Preparation by Educators

One key factor that influences how engaged a student is in their education is the preparation of their educators. If an educator is well-prepared, they tend to be more enthusiastic and interested in the classroom, naturally encouraging students to become more involved.

Prepared educators also have the knowledge and experience necessary to create engaging lesson plans, assisting students in staying focused and interested for longer periods.

Furthermore, researchers have found that when an educator is well-prepared for class, this can contribute to higher levels of student motivation. This increased engagement can result in better overall learning outcomes and student academic performance.

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How to Increase Student Engagement

Here are a few different strategies you can use to increase student engagement during your lessons:

Make Learning Meaningful and Relevant

One of the primary ways to increase student engagement is to make learning meaningful and relevant for students. By tailoring the instruction to students' interests, making curricula applicable in real-life settings, and allowing for student voice and choice, teachers can help students see the value of their studies.

Learners are more likely to gain enthusiasm when they feel that their skills and knowledge will be relevant or helpful after completing a course or lesson.

Additionally, leveraging current events can make learning exciting and meaningful. It allows students to connect what they're learning in the classroom, what's happening in our society and culture today, and how the two interact.

Gamify Skills

Gamifying skills is an increasingly popular way to increase student engagement in the classroom. By assigning points and rewards for completing tasks, students are more likely to stay focused and engaged with the lesson being taught.

Additionally, students can be motivated by feeling as if they are progressing through difficulty levels, furthering their personal growth instead of just memorizing facts or information needed to pass a test.

Lessons that have been gamified also provide greater opportunities for interaction among classmates than a traditional approach might offer, creating a social environment that may foster engagement beyond the course curriculum.

Gamifying skills also provide more opportunities for learners to practice using multiple forms of media within the same activity, giving them experience with navigating technology while still mastering content.

Remove Barriers to Learning

Increasing student engagement is critical to school success and can be achieved by removing obstacles that impede the learning process.

Removing barriers to learning requires looking carefully at the environment, beliefs, physical tools and procedures to assess where there may be roadblocks.

From this assessment, changes can be implemented that result in an optimized atmosphere of engagement, along with tools adapted for more effective use of technology as necessary.

This increases student interest and participation in academic activities, which further enhances their confidence, enthusiasm and overall sense of accomplishment, leading to a successful educational career.

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Encourage Social Learning

Social learning is an effective way to increase student engagement. It encourages collaborative problem-solving, group dialogue and the development of critical thinking skills.

Allowing students to work in groups and communicate with each other provides a different level of knowledge acquisition than individual study.

Research has proven that social learning is a highly effective tool for increasing student engagement in the classroom and can have a long-lasting impact on academic performance.

To take advantage of this form of learning, teachers should create opportunities for students to interact with their peers collaboratively during group discussions, debates and project-based learning exercises.

These tasks help foster an environment where different perspectives are openly shared, respected and valued - creating a platform for better interpersonal communication and collaboration.

Incorporate Technology

Incorporating technology into the curriculum is an important way to increase student engagement in the classroom. By utilizing educational apps, video conferencing, and interactive learning platforms, teachers can help students learn in fun and engaging way.

Educational apps like Rolljak, allow topics to come alive with real-world examples, activities tailored to individual learning styles, and exciting multimedia demonstrations.

It also helps maintain interest in a lesson. It inspires students to dig deeper into the content by allowing them to ask questions, take polls, and even collaborate on projects as if they were all together in one space.

With today’s modern classrooms, it is easier for teachers to ensure their students are engaged, motivated and ready to learn.


The school experience profoundly affects how engaged students are in their learning. By understanding the root causes of disengagement, educators can take steps to create more engaging and supportive classroom environments.

However, it is also important for parents and guardians to support their children's education by maintaining communication with teachers and ensuring that their child feels safe and supported at school.

What are you doing to ensure that your child is engaged in their learning? Leave a comment below and let us know.