Kit Harris, ASCD Research

ED Pulse Poll Results: What Is the Best Way for Teachers to Engage Their Students?

ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. A recent ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll, suggested by a high school administrator from New Hampshire, asked readers how to best engage students. He wrote:

What is the best way for teachers to engage their students? There is so much time and emphasis placed on the Common Core, essential questions, assessments, professional development, etc. As an administrator who observes a lot of different teachers with very varied curriculum, I think more emphasis needs to be placed on how students learn, how to get and keep their attention, and how to foster a growth mindset. Teacher energy and a love of learning, varied activities with smooth transitions, opportunities for collaborative work, and ensuring that every student works on every task are just a few possible answers.

Readers were divided among a variety of factors they felt would engage students, with four responses receiving attention. However, one of the responses rose above the others to become the most frequently given answer: having a teacher with energy and a love of learning (28 percent). The other three items that were mentioned with frequency were:

  • Knowing how to foster a growth mindset (21 percent)
  • Placing more emphasis on knowing how students learn (18 percent)
  • Having varied activities with smooth transitions (18 percent)

This survey question was included in ASCD SmartBrief, a free daily e-mail news service that provides summaries and links to major education stories and issues, which has more than 200,000 subscribers. Using ED Pulse, the weekly online poll, data was collected from 663 readers, starting on January 9, 2014. Online surveys do not provide a random sample, as participants are self-selected, meaning that a margin of sampling error cannot be calculated or quoted. In addition, the population and sample are limited to those with access to computers and an online network. However, online surveys have been shown to produce results that have proven to be reliable predictors of outcomes, including election results. If you have a question on education that you would like to see addressed in a future ED Pulse poll, feel free to submit it in the comment section below, along with any other comments.

Kit Harris is the marketing research lead at ASCD. The quantitative and qualitative research work done is in support of strategic initiatives in marketing, membership, product/program/service development, and conferences/meetings. Harris started her career in Chicago at a marketing research firm, then moved to D.C. to serve as the research director at advertising agency Earle Palmer Brown & Associates. Prior to coming to ASCD, she ran her own research firm.


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