2.4 Cognitive Engagement Strategies – Demo

2.4 Cognitive Engagement Strategies



Cognitive engagement describes a learner’s mental connection to what they are learning. This is when a student thinks about their learning and connects it to existing knowledge. It requires learners to immerse themselves in in-depth reflective learning processes that are situated in realistic problem-solving tasks (studied by Kristin Kipp et al at Boise State University, 2019). Teachers must create tasks that are purposeful, relevant, and rigorous to stimulate cognitive engagement. 



Watch Engaging Students to Promote Deeper Learning and review the ICAP engagement framework to understand the different levels (interactive, constructive, active, and passive) of student engagement activities. It is important that teachers learn how to identify student behaviors to assess engagement. When students become more engaged with the learning materials, from passive to active to constructive to interactive, their learning - and retention of that learning - will increase.



Differentiation is a crucial part of a teacher's practice that supports cognitive engagement. Read the blog post 3 Ways to Plan for Diverse Learners: What Teachers Do to learn how to differentiate by content, process, and product.  



The “Strategy Backpack” is an opportunity to download resources, guidance, or working documents to support your future journey as a substitute teacher. To leverage these additional resources, create a Strategy Backpack folder in your Google Drive or on your hard drive. Review the materials provided, and save the information you find compelling in your personal folder. Strategy Backpack resources are completely optional to download or complete.

Complete the Identifying Cognitive Engagement task. As you complete this activity think about ways in which you can promote constructive and interactive cognitive engagement.

Read through the attached curated list of Thinking Routines (easy-to-learn mini-strategies that extend and deepen students' thinking) activities and lessons. Pick 3-5 activities that you can use and add them to your backpack. 

Review the attributes of a traditional classroom contrasted with those of a Differentiated Classroom Chart. How might the differentiated classroom support diverse learners? 

Still need more support understanding differentiated instruction? This chart breaks down some common misconceptions: What Differentiated Instruction Is and Is Not (The Differentiated School: Making Revolutionary Changes in Teaching and Learning, Figure 1.1, p. 4-5, Carol Ann Tomlinson, Kay Brimijoin, and Lane Narvaez, ASCD)