A shocking number of students report feeling disengaged in school. According to a recent Gallup poll, only half of teenage students felt enthusiastic in school, with close to 10 percent reporting feeling both disengaged and discouraged. As students advance in grade level, too, they’re even more likely to have these feelings of dissatisfaction.
Certainly, schools need to take these numbers seriously to create a more welcoming school culture, as well as more intriguing classes. However, school counselors have an important role to play in making students actively participate in their education. Specifically, school counselors can contribute to student engagement or re-engagement by using our nine student engagement strategies.
1. Make Sure Students Feel Valued by Educators
The poll above suggests that students feel more disengaged if they believe that faculty and staff don’t care about them. Some educators just need strategies to demonstrate an interest in their students, as well as methods for distributing their attention more equitably to all students. So, school counselors can hold sessions for teachers and staff to teach these methods, which in turn can be used to make students feel more connected to the adults in their lives.
2. Join a Leadership Team of Your Colleagues
School counselors can make a positive change in student engagement by building relationships with other stakeholders in the school and the community. A leadership group could have a variety of different goals, from developing new missions or visions for the campus culture to creating SMART goals for the administration.
3. Teach Students Strategies That Make Them Feel More Confident in School
Students sometimes aren’t engaged in school because they don’t understand how to behave in a way that makes them successful. School counselors can form small groups of struggling students to strengthen their social and emotional learning (SEL). Some of the most important elements to focus on are:
- Solving problems and making decisions,
- Building relationships and understanding social situations,
- Understanding oneself and one’s emotions.
4. Implement Programs That Help Struggling Students Exhibit More Positive Habits
While teaching students lessons about appropriate behavior is important, they also need to practice these skills and track their progress. ScholarChip’s ABE middle and high school interventions help students consider the consequences of their actions by taking them through an individualized series of activities and videos. Counselors can also be alerted when a student fails a module.
5. Include Tried-and-True Student Engagement Strategies in Your Lessons
When working with larger groups of students, school counselors need to make sure they stay engaged. So, they should use the same kinds of strategies that teachers do to make the whole class enthusiastic about the lesson. Some of these strategies include:
- Randomly pulling student names so everyone has to participate in the discussion.
- Playing Four Corners, where students are sent to different parts of the classroom based on how strongly they agree or disagree with an issue.
- Asking students how they would apply a lesson before they leave the classroom.
6. Develop Awards and Rewards for All Students – Not Just the “Honors” Cohort
Students need to feel validated for the positive changes they’ve made in their behavior. However, too often, only the “best” students are recognized. Instead, some school counselors have created alternative awards ceremonies, where students who have improved, helped others, or contributed to a positive student environment are honored.
7. Encourage Students to Get Involved With an Activity or Club on Campus
Students who are invested in out-of-the-classroom activities like sports or music clubs are more likely to be engaged in their academic classes as well. If students suggest they have an interest in an activity, suggest that they join a club supporting it. One school counselor even developed a service club for students who weren’t interested in other types of activities.
8. Create Ways to Hold Students Accountable for Their Behavior
Students need to feel that if they’re missing from somewhere they’re supposed to be, someone will miss them. However, keeping track of hundreds of students can sometimes be difficult. With ScholarChip’s One Card, students must be accountable to themselves and show up when they’re supposed to.
9. Involve Parents or Family Members in Their Children’s School Life
Students feel more motivated to succeed in school if they have family members or guardians supporting them. Using ScholarChip’s reporting tools, relevant parties outside of school can help school counselors to encourage student success. Developing these relationships with parents – and contextualizing the data they might be receiving – is one of the school counselor’s most important student engagement strategies.
Polls suggest that students are more disengaged than ever before. But students can be more committed to school if they feel that they have the skills to succeed, achievable goals, and educators who demonstrate they care.
School counselors, in turn, hold a unique position on campus that lets them focus on developing more positive behavioral and emotional outcomes. When school counselors implement these student engagement strategies, all students can feel more committed to their education.
ScholarChip offers a solution called Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE). This innovative program enables counselors to identify, monitor, and improve student behavior throughout a student’s career, while giving administrators and teachers powerful data-driven reports that quickly flag at-risk students, help monitor and chronicle progress, and support decision-making tasks. The ScholarChip system incorporates the complete spectrum of behavior and integrates student rewards, interventions, and tracking with PowerSchool®, Infinite Campus, and other popular SIS platforms.
To learn how ScholarChip can help keep your schools safer and more secure learn more about the many solutions ScholarChip provides or to get free recommendations, feel free to schedule a 1-on-1 with one of our specialists!