The vast majority of educators said they are concerned about their students’ engagement in classroom-based learning, according to the latest installment of the national Gradient Learning Poll, which examines the growing student engagement crisis in classrooms across the country. These findings are bolstered by Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up research, in which 50% of student respondents claimed they are not engaged in what they are learning in school for the majority of their classes.

Teachers highlighted a number of reasons students are struggling to stay engaged in the classroom this year—from a lack of intrinsic motivation on core subjects to the long-term impacts of pandemic-driven disruptions.

The results also showed that educators are determined to find solutions to this widespread concern. Teachers believe that addressing student disengagement is a top priority: the survey found that nearly every teacher (95%) reported it should be a priority for every school to support teachers with the tools and strategies needed to increase and sustain student engagement.

Educators believe the following strategies will have the biggest impacts on students in the classroom:

  • 78% said building stronger teacher-student connections is highly effective at increasing student engagement
  • 72% said connecting learning to real-world skills helps students stay engaged in their learning
  • 65% said leveraging students’ personal interests and passions within learning is important
  • 64% said incorporating active, hands-on learning experiences helps keep students excited and engaged in classroom learning

The findings reveal an urgent need for strategies and tools to help teachers build classroom environments that nurture student engagement. It is essential for school and district leaders to take action to combat this engagement gap. To learn more about how schools and districts can support teachers to address the student engagement gap, check out the full report here.

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