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How Many Engaged Classrooms in Your School?

Schlechty’s (2002) three categories reflect the level of engagement for an entire classroom.

The Engaged Classroom

In the engaged classroom you will observe that all students are authentically engaged at least some of the time or that most students are authentically engaged most of the time.  Passive compliance and retreatism is rarely observed and rebellion is non-existent.

The Compliant Classroom

The compliant classroom is the picture of traditional education. This type of classroom is orderly and most students will appear to be working so it would be easy to infer that learning is taking place. However, while there is little evidence of rebellion, retreatism is a very real danger as it is very common in the compliant classroom.

The Off-Task Classroom

Retreatism and rebellion are easily observed in the off-task classroom. This type of classroom is each-student-for-them-self so you will see some degree of authentic and ritual engagement, along with passive compliance as well. Teachers in the off-task classroom spend most of their time dealing with rebelling students rather than teaching lessons that engage.


Take a walk around your school. Which category are they operating in? How much of each day are they in each ‘zone’?