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Engagement by Design

Engagement by Design
Creating Learning Environments Where Students Thrive

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September 2017 | 192 pages | Corwin

Every teacher wants engaged students. No student wants to be bored. So why isn’t every classroom teeming with discussion and purposeful activity centered on the day’s learning expectations? 

Consistently finding a rhythm—where students progress through relevant and challenging content—isn’t easy. But not only is it possible, it can also seem effortless when teachers have the right design for genuinely engaging students.  

Classroom dynamics are inherently complex, as multifaceted as the personalities in the room, so where should a teacher begin? Engagement by Design gives you a framework for making daily improvements and highlights the opportunities that will bring the greatest benefit in the least amount of time. You’ll learn about relationships, clarity, and challenge, including

  • How getting to know each student a little better can fundamentally change the classroom dynamics—and how to do that
  • What it means to be an “intentionally inviting” teacher, and how it gives you an advantage in creating an environment conducive to learning
  • How to bring more clarity to key aspects of your work—and how it can reap substantial rewards for you and your students
  • How opening the culture to student voice—listening to students—is linked to academic motivation, and how to use it to shape your day-to-day planning
  • The best ways to increase learning for your students, boosting the proportional value of their school year

Understanding engagement—and actively pursuing it—can make all the difference between forging a real connection with students and having a classroom that’s simply going through the motions. Engagement by Design puts you in control of managing your classroom’s success and increasing student learning, one motivated student at a time.

List of Videos
About the Authors
Chapter 1. The Inviting Classroom
Are Students Engaged?

Intentionally Inviting Classrooms

Low-Hanging Fruit

Student Voice

Engagement by Design


Chapter 2. Relationships
Building Relationships With Students

The Invitational Aspect of Teacher-Student Relationships

The Equitable Aspect of Teacher-Student Relationships

How Teachers Communicate Expectations Differentially

The Advocacy Aspect of Teacher-Student Relationships


Chapter 3. Clarity
Clarity in Teaching

Know What Students Are Supposed to Learn

Know How Students Learn

Know How to Communicate What Students Will Be Learning

Know How to Develop Success Criteria


Chapter 4. Challenge
Inviting the Struggle



Strategic Thinking

Struggle That Builds Expertise


Chapter 5. Engagement
The Engagement Gap

Engagement: Overused and Misunderstood

Bringing It All Together

The Engagement Equation

Voice (V)

Self-Worth (SW)

Purpose (P)


Engaged Students

Engaged Classrooms

Engaged Student Outcomes

The Ending of One Story Is the Beginning of Another




I will be using this book for the second course in a MA in Teaching program. It will work beautifully to help pre-teacher candidates identify what learning theories look like when enacted in today's classroom.

Dr Joan E McGarry
College Of Education, Concordia University
July 8, 2020

Love all of Fisher/Fry books. Enrollment precluded use in class.

Dr Jim Nichols
School Of Education, Nyack College
December 21, 2018

Douglas Fisher

Douglas Fisher is professor and chair of educational leadership at San Diego State University and a leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College. Previously, Doug was an early intervention teacher and elementary school educator.  He is a credentialed teacher and leader in California.  In 2022, he was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame by the Literacy Research Association. He has published widely on literacy, quality instruction, and assessment, as well as books such as Welcome to Teaching, PLC+, Teaching Students to Drive their Learning, and Student Assessment: Better Evidence, Better Decisions, Better Learning. More About Author

Nancy Frey

Nancy Frey is professor of educational leadership at San Diego State University and a leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College. Previously, Nancy was a teacher, academic coach, and central office resource coordinator in Florida.  She is a credentialed special educator, reading specialist, and administrator in California.  She is a member of the International Literacy Association’s Literacy Research Panel. She has published widely on literacy, quality instruction, and assessment, as well as books such as The Artificial Intelligences Playbook, How Scaffolding Works, How Teams Work, and The Vocabulary Playbook. More About Author

Russell Joseph Quaglia

Dr. Russell J. Quaglia is a globally recognized pioneer in the field of education, known for his unwavering dedication to student voice and aspirations.  Dr. Quaglia has been described by news media as America's foremost authority on the development and achievement of student voice and aspirations.  His innovative work is evidenced by an extensive library of research-based publications, prominent international speaking appearances, and a successfully growing list of aspirations ventures.Among these ventures, Dr. Quaglia authored the School Voice suite of surveys, including Student Voice, Teacher Voice, Parent Voice, and iKnow My... More About Author

Dominique Smith

Dominique Smith, EdD, is chief of educational services and teacher support at Health Sciences High and Middle College in San Diego, California. Smith is passionate about creating school environments that honor and empower students. His research and instruction focuson restorative practices, classroom management, growth mindset, and the culture of achievement. Dominique also provides professional learningto K-12 teachers in small and large groups that address classroom and school climate and organization. He holds a doctorate in educational leadership from San... More About Author

Lisa L. Lande

Dr. Lisa L. Lande has dedicated her professional endeavors to advocating for teachers and students around the globe.  It is her aspiration that every classroom in every school is one that she would want her own three children to learn in—a lens through which she continually measures her research, writing, and professional development efforts.  She is the executive director of the Teacher Voice and Aspirations International Center (TVAIC), an outgrowth of the Quaglia Institute. The mission of TVAIC is to amplify teacher voice to enhance the aspirations of all.  As part of the Quaglia Institute team, Dr. Lande has provided... More About Author

Also available as a South Asia Edition.

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ISBN: 9781506375731