Student Engagement

Studies suggest that in a typical Alberta school about 25% of students are disengaged. This means that school staff need to connect with these students regularly. Every child needs an advocate, someone at school who consistently provides encouragement and whom they can turn to for advice. Research suggests that:

  • The percentage of students classified as engaged decreased considerably between Grade 7 and 12.
  • There are large inequalities in engagement outcomes associated with students' socioeconomic background and First nations, Metis and Inuit status
  • Schools vary considerably in their levels of engagement

Levels of student engagement are related to 5 key items1:

  1. Quality instruction
  2. Teacher-student relations
  3. Classroom learning climate
  4. Student advocacy
  5. Expectations for success

The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has identified five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective and behavioral competencies2.



Self awareness starts with us. Model and act in ways that promote healthy beahviours and relationships among children and youth.

Self management. Create a welcoming classroom environment for all through:

  • Appropriate tone, actions, facial expressions and body language
  • Not misusing power to respond to behaviours
  • Explicit teaching and advice

Social Awareness. Empathize with the perspective of others from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Relationship Skills. Establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups.

Responsible decision making. Through constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions.

Key Learnings:

  • Promoting healthy relationships starts with us, as adults
  • We need to be aware of our use of power in relationships and the messages we send
  • Children and youth need to be taught healthy relationship skills
  • Adults are responsible for developing positive group dynamics
  • Healthy relationships depend on healthy climates and systems


1.What Did You Do In School Today: Transforming Classrooms through social, academic and intellectual engagement

2. CASEL: Social and Emotional Learning Core Competencies