Overview of Engaged Teaching
The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching (Solution Tree, 2013) offers practices, principles, stories and activities that support educators to 1) develop and sustain a reflective teaching practice 2) integrate social, emotional and academic learning in the classroom, and 3) cultivate a positive school-wide culture. The book includes the wisdom and experience of hundreds of educators across the country gathered over the last ten years through interviews, focus groups, dialogue groups, surveys and action research. Additionally, this book is based on research that illustrates 1) the powerful impact of a teacher’s presence in the classroom; 2) the importance of student engagement and participation in learning; 3) the critical role of relationships and cultural contexts within a classroom and school; and 4) the ways social, emotional and academic learning are inextricably connected.
The Engaged Teaching Approach introduced in the book is not a prescriptive or linear process, but rather an organic one that we liken to a tree (see above). The roots of this tree inform and support the trunk of the tree. The trunk provides the “action path” of the approach. And the branches represent the outcomes of using the approach. The Engaged Teaching Approach is a life-long path in which we learn from both our successes and mistakes, cultivate our own and our students’ social, emotional and academic intelligence, and develop a deep understanding of what effective teaching looks and feels like. Whether we are veteran teachers or have just entered the field, in the Engaged Teaching Approach, we simply start where we are.
We dedicate this book to the educators who work every day to support the learning, growth, and development of their students. We also dedicate this book to Rachael Kessler (1946–2010) and Mary Utne O’Brien (1952–2010), who devoted their lives to empowering and supporting teachers to create meaningful and engaging classrooms.