5 Resources for Fostering Meaningful, Engaged Learning

We gathered five awesome resources that explore innovative approaches on how educators like you create opportunities that engage students in meaningful ways.

By Team XQ

It’s March! That means we’re talking about the XQ School Design PrincipleMeaningful, Engaged Learning. We gathered five awesome resources that explore innovative approaches on how educators like you create opportunities that engage students in meaningful ways. Now, let’s get to it…

Extra credit: One way you can stay meaningfully engaged in your work is by joining our super-cool, brand-new Facebook Group (more details in the XQ X-Tra).

EXPLORE: Great Teachers Do These Things

Two educators set out on a journey to study 30 schools, conduct 300 interviews, and sit in on 750 hours of classes. They wanted to deep dive into what deeper learning looks like. And learned a ton along the way. Here’s what they found out about teachers who foster deeper learning:

  • They do more than instruct; they’re champions of their subject expertise
  • They dive deeply into a few domains, instead skimming through many
  • They consider failure a learning experience, rather than a setback
  • They ask students to display what they’ve learned 


KNOCK: One Door Closes, Another One Opens

How did one Boston teacher keep students engaged in meaningful ways, despite news of their school shutting down? She shared the news with her students. And they brainstormed ways to keep their doors open. Spoiler Alert: They succeeded. Here’s how she and her students did it: 

  • Allowed the class to dissect a letter about the school closure together
  • Made students feel comfortable to voice their opinions and ask questions
  • Let students know it’s okay to talk about hard things and share feelings about it
  • Gave students the opportunity to join meetings about the closure


LEARN: Teens Need Us More Than We Thought

Early childhood isn’t the only crucial time for brain development. Growing research shows adolescence is just as important. By understanding the science, educators can create more meaningful learning experiences. Without them, students may never develop the skills necessary to succeed. Here’s what you can do:

  • Make time to learn about developing students’ social and emotional skills
  • Help students apply what they’re learning to their own experiences
  • Teach students about how physical and mental health affects behavior
  • Help students build future-thinking skills through college and career planning


THINK: Make An Impact by Identifying the “Why”

Showing students how their learning applies to the real world and their lives helps them stay engaged. But when they’re unable to make that connection, it can lead to lack of motivation to learn in general. Here are some tips from a veteran educator on how to help students connect the dots: 

  • Show students learning is a personal process; teachers can only do so much
  • Give students opportunities to design their own learning experience
  • Diversify learning tools by incorporating text, videos, podcasts, etc.
  • Share knowledge and insights like this with other educators


ENGAGE: How to Motivate Students to Learn

It’s no secret that students are often more engaged when learning through activity. But just because they’re participating doesn’t mean they’re developing the knowledge or skills the activity promotes. So, what are some ways you can engage students in more meaningful ways? Here’s what research tells us: 

  • Develop and implement a strong feedback loop
  • Frame success in terms of learning, rather than performance
  • Increase opportunities for one-on-one quality time with students
  • Give students the time they need to understand and process material


XQ X-tra
Teach for the future

That’s the name of our new Facebook Group! You can’t rethink high school alone. That’s why we wanted to create a support network of educators like you to lean on. Yes, members get exclusive access to XQ webinars, insights, tools, and more. But the most important thing you’ll get from this group is a sense of community.