Head teacher Thula Lombo shares the joy of reading with her class of 10-year-olds in the Carrington Heights Primary School library and computer room
Head teacher Thula Lombo shares the joy of reading with her class of 10-year-olds in the Carrington Heights Primary School library and computer room

Importance of high engagement learning environments and developing socio-emotional skills

By Harvest Thwala Time of article published Dec 7, 2021

Share this article:

As we finish the year, schools will be closing and a lot of parents are going to be re-evaluating schooling options and their child's happiness at school after receiving their children's progress reports.

Research has demonstrated that a high engagement learning environment empowers children to become masters of their own learning experience and academic achievement.

Educational psychologist Angela Hough says, “A child’s engagement is crucial to their learning. Children can learn facts, but without engaging and having an experience or learning to apply the knowledge then those facts do not have purpose or meaning.

“Transformative learning is about the need to create meaning from the learning experience. Therefore, I would encourage learning that involves experiences, embodiment, sharing and communicating learning. Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience. Usually, the more involved a child is in their school and class, and the more that they ‘own’ their learning, then the happier they are and the more they learn.”

Principal and a co-founder of Koa Academy, Mark Anderson, said that engagement in schools does not happen automatically in any type of school.

“In my experience, we have to be really intentional about how we approach learning if we are to maintain high levels of engagement. This means that whether they are physical or online, schools need to have a clear goal to facilitate the high engagement of diverse learners; while parents have the intention to choose a high engagement learning environment for their children.”

According to Anderson, there are some conventional schools which do a great job of having a highly engaging learning environment, while others don't. The same is true for online schools, home-schools and any other type of schools.

“Every child is also unique in how they go about engaging with others and their learning. What might be a great fit for one person might just not work as well for another. What this means for parents, is that when it comes to their school choices, they need to not only evaluate the school, its standing and its values; but do so in the context of what suits their child best,” he said

According to Hough, it is important for children to know how they learn, how to participate in their learning and to enjoy this experience so that they are motivated to learn optimally.

Share this article: