You Earned a Ticket!

Which school do you want to support?

Lesson 6.7

Student Engagement:
Making School Interesting

Stop blushing! Here are four ways to make classes more interesting.

hero image

Great teachers are leaders. They persuade students to care about what they are learning.

Some make it exciting. Some make it fun. Some make it feel important and grown-up. Some make it part of a journey that leads to a destination that students care about. But one way or another, great teachers make learning relevant.

Curriculum is the education buzzword for "what" is taught. Pedagogy is the buzzword for "how" it is taught. Teachers are accustomed to this word, and use it without blushing. (If you are new to education it helps to practice saying it in different ways: "she's improving her pedagogy," "my concerns are pedagogical." Better yet, don't.) It rhymes with "stodgy" in common use, but you can make it sound even phaahncier if you rhyme it with shoji.

The 19th-century term pedagogy got its groove back in the early 2000's The 19th-century term "pedagogy" got its groove back in the early 2000's (Source: Google Ngram Viewer)

Good pedagogy (more simply, effective teaching) engages students in curriculum.

So why not ask students? In a 2022 report, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) surveyed students about what they find engaging in school. Here's what they found:

The students’ responses included:

  • Working with their peers
  • Connecting school work to the real world (e.g. project-based learning)
  • Giving students choices and a variety of different types of experiences and
  • Having a teacher who is excited about the work, interested in students, and approachable.

The good news for students is that the Common Core State Standards tend to encourage these approaches. One example is project-based learning, an approach to teaching that enables students to show their knowledge through projects that are connected to the real world. This is the type of instruction that supports both academic knowledge and the “habits of mind” that are a central goal of the Common Core.

In the coming set of lessons, we will explore many of the subjects and approaches that educators use to make learning engaging and relevant. We begin with the idea of making school a place for creative experiences.

Updated July 2017
November 2022


The term “pedagogy” refers to:

Answer the question correctly and earn a ticket.
Learn More

Questions & Comments

To comment or reply, please sign in .

user avatar
Jeff Camp - Founder November 18, 2023 at 9:25 am
Gallup reported on measures of student engagement as a risk factor in dropping out.
user avatar
Susannah Baxendale February 2, 2019 at 12:15 pm
Project based learning is at the core of the Road to Success Curriculum used for the students in Probation camps. The variety of projects (and what each asks of a student) works from a teaching point of view -- and, it appears, from the students' perspective as well. The students still write essays and so on, but the projects give them opportunities to think creatively.
user avatar
Albert Stroberg May 1, 2016 at 8:09 pm
"Having a teacher who is excited about the work" -this is my favorite. A teacher who really gets it and loves the topic can bring this to just about anyone. And the kids know it.
I would be terrible as the Dance teacher, I just do not get it. But let me loose in Biology- we are going for a ride.
And so it should be- looking for the expertise & enthusiasm rather than the warm body at a low price.
user avatar
Mamabear March 23, 2015 at 11:49 am
Thumbs up for this lesson. Learning is a life long journey!
©2003-2024 Jeff Camp
Design by SimpleSend

Sharing is caring!

Password Reset

Change your mind? Sign In.

Search all lesson and blog content here.

Welcome Back!

Login with Email

We will send your Login Link to your email
address. Click on the link and you will be
logged into Ed100. No more passwords to

Share via Email

Get on Board!
Learn how California's School System works so you can make a difference.
Our free lessons are short, easy to read, and up to date. Each lesson you complete earns a ticket for your school. You could win $1,000 for your PTA.

Join Ed100

Already a member? Login

Or Create Account