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Research & Rationale

Engaged Learning

Special Article

Engaged Learning

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy

To cite this article: Kleyn-Kennedy, C. Engaged Learning. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing. Kagan Online Magazine, Issue #54. www.KaganOnline.com

It's interesting to have a look at some of the projects that have been funded by our Clovis Municipal Schools Education Foundation grants. One that's had a powerful impact on an entire elementary school is a grant written by Parkview Elementary teachers, Carrie Geisler, Debby Nygren, and Shannon Arredondo (4th-5th). The grant brought a Kagan Cooperative Learning expert to Parkview to train all teachers before school started this year.

Introduced to Parkview by principal Mandy Carpenter, Kagan Cooperative Learning strategies are all about student engagement in the classroom; that means engagement of all students, not just a few who consistently raise their hands.

Kagan has helped transform the school culture at Parkview where “kids are having fun learning and teachers are having fun teaching,” according to several teachers.

Carpenter had sent one or two teachers to Kagan trainings in previous years, and those teachers returned to share what they'd learned. More recently, a small group of teachers who'd been trained found the Kagan strategies so powerful, they were prompted to write a grant to bring a Kagan trainer to their own school to simultaneously train all Parkview teachers. The project was a huge success; the teachers caught fire.

Involving all students interactively in the process of learning means lively conversations and dynamic learning activities taking place throughout the day in classrooms. There are a number of great teaching methods and strategies out there, but to see classrooms filled with eager, excited, engaged students from 1st grade to 5th grade is remarkable.

Also, because Kagan represents instructional strategies for engaging students in active learning, they can be used for any subject.

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the
Coordinator of Instructional Technology
for Clovis Municipal Schools.

Parkview teacher Pamela Estock demonstrated a Kagan strategy with her 1st grade students using part of a vocabulary lesson. With minimal prompting, students partnered and began eagerly exchanging definitions and contextual settings. Geisler's 5th graders demonstrated animated RoundRobin discussions in small groups, teacher moving among groups, offering comments. Fascinating conversations all, each student with a voice, actively involved, having fun learning.

As a result of incorporating Kagan strategies, referrals for discipline have all but disappeared; fully engaged students keep busy. One teacher shared, "it's taken away all my stress." Kagan has helped transform the school culture at Parkview where "kids are having fun learning and teachers are having fun teaching," according to several teachers.

Benjamin Franklin said, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." Nailed it, Parkview.