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Engaged Learning

Engaged Learning

Edited by:

Foreword by Richard Sterling

March 2009 | 176 pages | Corwin

"No other book on teaching has excited me as much as this one. It should be the core text for prospective teachers in any field."
—Jonathan Potter, English and Drama Teacher
Camden Hills Regional High School, Rockport, ME

"VanDeWeghe presents powerful instructional practices to help students use both their hearts and their minds in learning."
—Louann Reid, Professor
Colorado State University

Spark genuine enthusiasm in your classroom by engaging students' hearts and minds!

To generate truly compelling learning experiences and increase retention of new information, educators need the knowledge and tools to engage students from both a neurological and humanistic perspective.

Richard VanDeWeghe provides an inside look at what happens in students' minds and hearts when they are engaged and "in the groove." Based on Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's idea of "flow"—a state of intrinsic control, curiosity, interest, and inquiry that is the ultimate experiential goal for learning—this book provides holistic strategies for encouraging students to become motivated, engaged learners. Teachers will find:

  • Information on brain function and memory pathways
  • Spiritual and emotional principles of the heart that influence learning
  • Strategies for guiding open-ended discussions, quality questioning, and teacher modeling
  • Immediate, practical applications for language arts, science, math, and social studies
  • Vignettes illustrating effective teacher dialogue and classroom involvement

Engaged Learning is a clear, concise, and elegant resource that helps teachers understand what it means to be a highly motivated learner.

Foreword by Richard Sterling
About the Author
Part I. Flow, Minds, and Hearts
1. Engagement as Flow

Engagement as Flow

The Conditions of Flow

2. Engaged Brains
#1: Brains Search for Meaning

Looking for Meaningful Patterns

Constructing Personal Theories

Paying Attention in Personally Significant Ways

#2: Emotions Drive Brains in Learning

#3: Engaged Brains Engender Mind-Body States

3. Engaged Hearts
#1: Mindfulness

#2: Unity

#3: Compassion

4. Engagement and Instructional Practice
Decisions About Engaged Learning

Brain Decisions

Heart Decisions

Flow State Decisions

A Way of Thinking

Part II. Teaching for Engaged Learning
5. Modeling Engaged Learning
Teacher Modeling

Modeling Habits of Mind and Heart

Modeling Work Habits




History Class Revisited

6. Using Words That Support Engaged Learning
Talking About Learning

Noticing and Naming





Democratic Learning Community

Talking About Intelligence

Fixed Intelligence

Malleable Intelligence

Talking About Intelligence

Intelligence Praise

Science Class Revisited

7. Using Discussions to Engage Learners
Engaging Ideas

Engaging Questions

Engaging Silence

The Dynamics of Engaging Discussion

Biology I Revisited

8. Supporting Engaged Readers
Engaged Reading

Trinal (Three-Part) Approaches to Reading

Before-Reading Comprehension Strategies

During-Reading Comprehension Strategies

After-Reading Comprehension Strategies

Carmen and School Reading

9. Supporting Engaged Writers
Engaged Writing

Purposes for Writing

Audiences for Writing

Forms of Engaged Writing

Teachers Respond to Engaged Writing

Courtney and School Writing

10. Promoting Engagement Through Memory Pathways
Memory Pathways

Semantic Pathways

Episodic Pathways

Procedural Pathways

Emotional Pathways

Spatial Pathways

Multiple Memory Pathways

Engaged Remembering in Ms. Gonzales' Classroom

Afterword: Lingering Questions
What About Assessment?

What About Classroom Research?

What About Study Groups?

What Now?


"It’s tough to bring heart and soul into the classroom. The author makes a clear and concise case for doing this, and does so elegantly."

Nancy Foote, Math Specialist
Higley Unified School District, Gilbert, AZ

"The author offers a basis for understanding and developing lessons that not only engage students’ minds but ensure the connection with the heart of learning."

Debby Chessin, Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction
The University of Mississippi

"This work could make a distinctive change in educational practice."

Kathleen Choma, Math Teacher
South Brunswick High School, NJ

"This book is a breath of fresh air in this age of 'buzz words' and linear thinking."

Cindy Corlett, Middle School Science Teacher
Parker, CO

"No other book on teaching has excited me as much as this one. It should be the core text for prospective teachers in any field."

Jonathan Potter, English and Drama Teacher
Camden Hills Regional High School, Rockport, ME

"VanDeWeghe presents powerful instructional practices to help students use both their hearts and their minds in learning."

Louann Reid, Professor
Colorado State University


Dr Michael Jerpbak
Other, Crossroads College
July 7, 2010
Key features
  • The author has been an educator for 35 years.
  • The book contains many examples and vignettes to make the material more relatable to the reader.
  •  The book is incredibly research-based, supporting the author's vignettes and claims.
  • The author combines both the humanistic side and the scientific side of learning and engagnig students to learn in a new and intriguing manner that has not been attempted by any other author.

For instructors

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