Because I am so focused on the topic, I seem to see posts about engagement everywhere. And as the new school year looms larger and larger, there seem to be a preponderance of posts about how to make certain kids are engaged. Unfortunately, what some see as engagement is more bells and whistles than actual engagement. Suggestions to suddenly play the theme to "Mission Impossible" and then have kids act as 007 until the music stops and they are now standing next to their partners for the day might be crazy, might get kids talking and moving, but it is NOT engagement. Neither is putting jokes and comics on worksheets and tests. Ditto inserting Chuck Norris into Power Points or aging kids do jumping jacks when they appear "disengaged."
What is engagement? The engaged reader, according to Guthrie, is “purposeful, intrinsically motivated, and socially interactive.” All of the suggestions listed above are EXTRINSIC and not interactive to any degree, The activities are to purposeful. They are the clever activities that we try out a few times in the classroom for effect (certainly not for affect) until we realize that we are not accomplishing our GOAL: engaging students.