What did you do in school today? is a national initiative of the Canadian Education Association (CEA) designed to capture, assess and inspire new ideas for enhancing the learning experiences of adolescents in classrooms and schools. What did you do in school today? is one of the few initiatives in Canada that focus specifically on the experiences of adolescent students. And it is the only initiative that focuses on the powerful concept of intellectual engagement.
We are pleased to introduce Report Number Three, where we revisit research questions and findings about intellectual engagement from our First National Report (Willms, Friesen, & Milton, 2009). We use three years of data from 83 schools participating in What did you do in school today? to see if levels of intellectual engagement have changed, for better or worse, and to see if classroom practices have continued to affect these levels. In the context of educational change, three years is a short period to see measurable school-level change. Our three-year findings are encouraging: the efforts of principals, teachers and students at schools participating in What did you do in school today? are leading to increases in intellectual engagement, especially in middle schools. The strength of these positive trends varies quite dramatically among schools, providing us with a unique opportunity to understand district, school and classroom structures and practices that may be enabling or making it difficult for schools to create intellectually engaging learning environments.