3 Signs Students are Not Engaged (And How Crosswords Help)

student engagement

You’re a great teacher, and you care deeply about your students. That’s why you want to learn more about student engagement! With everything you need to juggle as an educator, it’s hard to know if every student is engaged in class. Here are three signs students are not engaged and how a simple activity can increase student engagement in a big way.

What is Student Engagement?

Teachers do the best job of defining student engagement. According to a survey of thousands of teachers, students are engaged when they:

  • Show initiative
  • Stay on task
  • Ask questions
  • Do their homework
  • Find their mistakes
  • Take risks
  • Show excitement

In other words, teachers feel students are engaged when they participate. When students do not participate, they must not be engaged then, right? It’s not so cut and dry; a lack of engagement may look different from student to student.

Signs Students are Not Engaged in the Classroom

#1 They Misbehave

When a student does not follow the classroom rules and distracts others, it’s a clear sign they’re not engaged in class. Common classroom misbehaviors are relatively easy to identify. They may include:

  • Falling asleep
  • Passing notes
  • Talking out of turn
  • Rudeness

It’s important to remember that a lack of engagement can be due to several factors, such as boredom, frustration, or personal problems. It’s important to identify the root cause of misbehavior in repeat offenders. This is especially true if there could be a physical or psychological component.

#2 They’re Unresponsive

Even if a student does not disrupt the class, it doesn’t mean they’re engaged either. If you continually call on a student to answer questions, and they never can, or appear not to have heard the question, it’s a red flag for disengagement. An unresponsive student may also take longer to complete tasks or do the bare minimum.

At the same time, remember that a quiet student does not equal a disengaged student. Broadening the definition of class participation to include quiet but engaged students can help. It will be easier to determine if a student is quiet, disengaged, or both.

#3 They Do Not Perform Well

Poor performance in the classroom may be one of the most important signs of disengagement. This includes lower test scores, incomplete assignments, or missing assignments altogether.

Poor performance can also appear as a lack of motivation and understanding. In other words, if students don’t understand what practical purpose the lesson serves, they’re more likely to disengage.

Like misbehavior, though, it’s important to look for other reasons a student might be underperforming. It’s also important to note that poor performance can lead to disengagement. In other words, be sure to look for the true causes and not to focus solely on the symptoms.

Crosswords increase student engagement. Find out why here. Click To Tweet

If you think you may have one or more disengaged students in your classroom, don’t worry! Student engagement is not a black or white issue; students may be engaged in some ways, but not others. Plus, there are many ways to increase student engagement in the classroom. Educational crossword puzzles offer one unique solution. By making a crossword puzzle catered to your lesson plan, you will begin to re-engage your students as soon as your next lesson.

How Crosswords Increase Student Engagement

As the ASCD, or Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, outlines, students engaged in work are motivated by four essential goals:

  • Success (the need for mastery)
  • Curiosity (the need for understanding)
  • Originality (the need for self-expression)
  • Relationships (the need for involvement with others)

Research shows that crosswords support each of these goals.

Success
Completing a crossword leads to the feeling of success. Plus, the reasoning skills and information learned from the crossword leads to success in assessments like tests and quizzes.

Curiosity
Students will want to learn and research more information to solve a crossword. This might also prompt them to learn more about the subject at hand than what the crossword covers.

Originality
Creating crosswords allow students to express themselves and their interests. Then, students can solve the crosswords made by peers.

Relationships
Solving crossword puzzles in groups leads to stronger relationships. Plus, research has found that students prefer to solve crosswords in groups.

Making your own crosswords for the classroom also gives you the ability to experiment. Through several crosswords, you’ll find the right questions and answers to increase student engagement. Start making crosswords for your classroom today. Then, share in the comments how crosswords changed student engagement in your classroom.

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