Engagement is not a goal « Generation YES Blog

http://blog.genyes.org/index.php/2011/09/21/engagement-is-not-a-goal
A few years ago, a Yale study showed that young children preferred food, even carrots and milk, wrapped in a McDonald’s wrapper over the same food without branding. It’s a clear win for marketing!

In education, we tend to hear news like this as a reason to try to wrap a layer of relevance around lessons, like adding hip hop lyrics to word problems and hoping kids are fooled into liking math more.  The hope is that superficial graphics, popular references, or high tech gadgets will result in student “engagement.”

The confusion of “engagement” as a primary goal of lesson design is a mistake. Engagement is not a goal, it’s an outcome of doing interesting, personally meaningful work.
A few years ago, a Yale study showed that young children preferred food, even carrots and milk, wrapped in a McDonald’s wrapper over the same food without branding. It’s a clear win for marketing!

In education, we tend to hear news like this as a reason to try to wrap a layer of relevance around lessons, like adding hip hop lyrics to word problems and hoping kids are fooled into liking math more.  The hope is that superficial graphics, popular references, or high tech gadgets will result in student “engagement.”

The confusion of “engagement” as a primary goal of lesson design is a mistake. Engagement is not a goal, it’s an outcome of doing interesting, personally meaningful work.

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