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Volume 25, Number 4
July/August 2009

The “Sweet Spot” of Teaching Practice

Why student engagement is the key to learning


I suspect that every teacher who has ever stood before a class clutching a piece of chalk or a marker dreams of routinely striking the sweet spot of practice where students are deeply absorbed in the learning process and exerting intense energy in the task at hand. In these moments, students are focused, concentrating, animated, and eager to persist, even when learning gets difficult.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


Also by this Author

    For Further Information

    For Further Information

    Bridgeland, J. M., Dilulio, J., & Morison, K. (2006). The silent epidemic: Perspectives of high school dropouts. Washington DC : Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Larson, R. (1984). Being adolescent: Conflict and growth in the teenage years. New York: Basic Books.

    Larson, R. W. (2000). Toward a psychology of positive youth development. American Psychologist, 55(1), 170–183.

    McNeely, C. A., Nonnemaker, J. M., & Blum, R. W. (2002). Promoting school connectedness: Evidence from the national longitudinal study of adolescent health. Journal of School Health, 72(4), 138.

    Moses, E. (2000). The $100 billion allowance: Accessing the global teen market. New York: John Wiley.

    National Research Council Institute of Medicine (2003). Engaging schools: Fostering high school students' motivation to learn. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

    Steinberg, L. D., Brown, B. B., & Dornbusch, S. M. (1996). Beyond the classroom: Why school reform has failed and what parents need to do. New York: Simon & Schuster.

    Wilson, B. L., & Corbett, H. D. (2001). Listening to urban kids: School reform and the teachers they want. Albany: State University of New York Press.