For many years, education researchers have sought to identify and understand why
some schools produce better educational outcomes than others. For example, what particular
school and classroom factors are at play?
Research on teaching and classroom practice has consistently identified that the extent of student engagement in learning is a significant factor.
The extent of academic engagement is more than simply a measure of time on task. It is a broader concept that refers to the intensity and emotional quality of the learner's involvement in the learning activity.
In recent years, the concept of engagement has been expanded from simply what
children are doing to how they are doing it. In this way, the concept of
engagement progresses from considering only the quantity of time spent engaged,
to encompassing multiple dimensions of the quality of engagement.
Ruble and Robson, 2007
A focus on engagement can underpin a process of personalised inquiry through which
the educator can develop effective learning experiences. Using evidence-based knowledge
of a child's successful learning pathways, strategies can be identified, high expectations
set, and incremental progress recorded on their journey towards optimal engagement
in learning. Their engagement will be the benchmark for assessing whether we have
achieved this goal.
Engagement is difficult to define operationally, but we know it when we see it, and we know when it is missing.
Like all children, those with CLDD
and SEND learn through
The population of children in our schools with CLDD has increased. Between 2004 and 2008 there was a 5.1% increase in children with SLD, and a 29.7% increase in those with PMLD.
(Department for Children, Schools and Families, 2010)
Carpenter, B. (2010) Children with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities:
Who are they and what are their needs? (Complex needs series) London: SSAT
Department for Children, Schools and Families (2010) Salt Review: Independent review of teacher supply for pupils with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties, Annesley: DCSF Publications.
Newmann, F. (1986) Priorities for the future: Toward a common agenda, Social Education, 50(4): 240-250.
Ruble and Robson (2007) Individual and Environment Determinants of Engagement in Autism, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37: 1457-1468.