The following retention exercise, created by John Gardner and Betsy Barefoot, is designed to highlight a specific retention strategy to help students persist in the first year of college.
Research finds that engagement can be linked to retention, particularly for students often considered at risk—first-generation students or historically under-served populations. Ask students working in small groups, either during class or out of class, to discuss the term engagement and what it means to them. Why do they think college and university educators focus so much on getting students engaged?Why do older students tend to be more engaged in learning than students just out of high school? Ask them to consider whether within their peer group it’s cool to be “engaged in learning.” Have groups share their ideas with the whole class.