Schlecty’s book Engaging Students describes students in the classroom into categories including engagement, strategic compliance, ritual compliance, retreatism, and rebellion. During the administrative walk-thru’s, the administrators will be observing in your classrooms to determine where your students fall within these categories. Please take the time to read through the categories to determine where your students may be when it comes to active involvement within your classroom.
While the goal is to have all students in the active engagement stage, there will be students that could fall into many of the below categories.
Students respond to the work we give we give them to do in five ways:
1. They engage in the work- attend/commit/persist
2. They comply with doing the tasks assigned to achieve some extrinsic goal they have (strategic)
3. They comply with doing the tasks assigned to avoid negative consequences (ritual)
3. They disengage from the tasks or retreat but do not bother others
5. They disengage from the tasks or rebel and bother others
Below you will find a description of the five placements of involvement:
To fall into the Engagement placement, the students would have these indicators:
- The student is attentive to the task because he or she find personal meaning and value in the task; the student sees the task as responding to motives and values he or she brings to the work. P 34
- The student persists with the task even when he or she experiences difficult and does not compromise personal standards for completion of the task even though he or she might be able to negotiate a lower standard if he or she wanted to. P 34
- The student volunteers resources under his or her control—time, effort, and attention—which is to say that the student is committed to the work and places more value on its completion. P 35
To fall into the Strategic Compliance placement, the students would have these indicators:
- The student is attentive to the task because he or she perceives that the receipt of some desired extrinsic reward is conditionally available to those who pay attention to the task and do what is required of them. P 35
- The student persists with the task only up to the point of ensuring that the desired reward is offered, and the student is willing to accept the reward and abandon the task even though he or she may not be personally satisfied that the work done is of the quality that he or she could produce. P 35
- The student allocates only as much time, energy, and resources as are required to get the reward offered or desired. P 35
To fall into the Ritual Compliance placement, the students would have these indicators:
- The student pays minimal attention to the work, is easily distracted, and is constantly seeking alternative activity to pursue. P 35
- The student is easily discouraged from completing the task and regularly tries to avoid the task or get the requirements of the work waived or compromised. P 35
- The student does only those things that must be done and does little or nothing outside the context of direct supervision by the teacher of other adults. P 35
To fall into the Retreatism placement, the students would have these indicators:
- The student does not attend to the work, but does not engage in activity that distracts others. Indeed, the student often employs strategies to conceal his or her lack of involvement—for example, sleeping with eyes wide open and smiling from time to time. P 35
- Because the student does not do the work, persistence is totally lacking. P 35
- The student does nothing and, when forced through direct supervision to do the task, either engages in ritual behavior or rebellion. P 35
To fall into the Rebellion placement, the students would have these indicators:
- The student overtly refuses to comply with the requirements of the task. This refusal may involve cheating, refusing to do the work, or even doing other work in place of that which is expected.
- Because the student does not do the work, persistence is totally lacking.
- Alienation rather than commitment is evident. Unlike the retreaters, students who rebel are likely to be active in their rejection of the task, up to and including efforts to sabotage the work, cheat, and build negative coalitions of other students around the work and the rejection of the values the work suggests. P 36
It is interesting what Phillip Schlechty states in his book, Engaging Students: The Next Level of Working on the Work. He talks about students not learning from teacher’s performances but from their own performances. Some of the ideas that Schlechty shares in his book consist of having the teacher be more of a guide through the learning process. The teacher would lead students through discussions and action planning. Letting students take control of their learning, and use the school as a network, would definitely be a step in a different direction. He also mentions that relationships, and the work assigned directly impacts student’s performance. This proves true both in a learning environment as well as a working environment. If you don’t have a connection/relationship with those you are working with, a person generally doesn’t have the passion to succeed or go above and beyond what is needed. Could you image students going beyond a book report and doing outside research on a topic or inspiring others to learn more about a certain subject, just because their teacher connected with them and got them excited about learning?
“The highly engaged classroom is one that has little or no rebellion, limited retreatism, and limited passive compliance.” Phil Schlechty.
Just remember that our goal is to make sure that the students are engaged in your lessons everyday. The more a student is involved in your lessons, the more likelihood for your students to become more successful with the content.
Watch Phil Schlechty below: