Strategies and resources for curriculum planning – engagement

Resources about engagement supporting content from ‘Curriculum planning for every student in every classroom’ online professional learning available in MyPL.

Engagement – the ‘why’ of learning

'Engagement refers to the extent to which students identify with and value schooling outcomes and participate in academic and non-academic school activities' (Willms 2003, cited by What works Best 2020 update, 34).

Student learning is enhanced by increased engagement. Students vary in the ways they can be engaged or motivated to learn. Since each student is unique, no single strategy will successfully engage every student in every classroom. Teachers who build positive relationships, and know their students well, provide meaningful options to engage them in their learning.

These questions can guide you when curriculum planning. Strategies to support student engagement and links to further resources are grouped under each guiding question.

  • Ensure all options are available for all students.
  • Affirm efforts toward achievement.
  • Plan appropriate levels of challenge and complexity.


  • Embed student voice, choice, respect, and cultural safety for all students.
  • Support academic participation and social connection.
  • Create a safe environment with flexible learning spaces and predictable routines.


  • Display and regularly refer to learning and assessment intentions and success criteria written in student-friendly language.
  • Show a range of different work samples or finished products to demonstrate success criteria.
  • Provide timely feedback to students based on success criteria.


  • Provide options for students to make connections and activate prior knowledge.
  • Use known social or cultural information to spark curiosity in a new topic.
  • Make abstract concepts concrete by using practical and authentic learning experiences.
  • Use explicit teaching to pre-teach new, unfamiliar vocabulary.


  • Give students choice and autonomy in their learning.
  • Offer multi-modal technologies.
  • Provide options for students to monitor and reflect on their progress.
  • Provide a range of prompts and scaffolds to develop independence.


  • Encourage questions from students.
  • Model how to learn from mistakes.
  • Encourage the use of home language to clarify understanding.
  • Develop problem-solving strategies and provide options to seek help.



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