Fundació Jaume BofillUniversitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)


We are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Debats d’Educació by giving the educational community the opportunity to air its views

Anna Novella
Anna Novella
Professor at the Faculty of Education of the University of Barcelona

I’m a professor at the Faculty of Education of the University of Barcelona and a member of the Moral Education Research Group (GREM, as it is known by its Catalan acronym).

The three things I’ve learned

With recognition, meaning, participation and passion engagement in learning will be created.

Engagement has to be created through a relationship of trust and mutual recognition

Engagement is constructed in the educational relationship and, therefore, it's not exclusive to the student but rather part of the complexity of the teaching and learning process. Engagement is cultivated in the relationship but, above all, it is fed back in the different educational encounters between students and teachers in the classroom and from how we view one another. Both students and teachers need to feel acknowledged and respected as active players in the teaching-learning process. Students will become engaged if they believe someone believes in their possibilities and skills and feels acknowledgement as an active learner who gradually evolves within his own uniqueness. So, be careful about demanding engagement and responsibility only from students instead of ensuring a fertile climate based on mutual trust and recognition.


Significant learning generates engagement, satisfaction and personal wellbeing

We learn when knowledge traps and seduces us, when we realise we are able to do things with it and these things affect the environment that surrounds us, transforming it and transforming us. Recognising oneself as an active learner who is capable of going beyond what was initially known generates a greater desire to learn more. When we realise what we learn makes sense and is useful – as part of the relations we establish with the environment around us and others- then we are trapped in this almost “addictive” relationship. Significant and transformational learning attracts students by generating engagement, satisfaction, a desire to continue learning and passion for learning. In short, learning must generate satisfaction and personal wellbeing. This is the great challenge of education – ensuring that practises attract and trap learners based on who they are and what they know.


Boys and girls must be able to lead their own educational paths

Individual responsibility in the learning process is not acquired from one day to the next or spontaneously but rather is created in the company of others who guide and transfer responsibility progressively. Being responsible is learnt by having responsibilities; having opportunities to take an active role in the teaching-learning process. This means recognising why we learn, getting involved in planning the learning process, identifying the actions that will bring us to learn, developing them and assessing them. Children, young people and adults must lead these training paths by defining what they want to learn and/or how they will learn it. Participation in this process generates engagement and boosts learning. Some examples would be practical such as project work, students as active researchers, classroom assemblies, etc.

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