Challenge or Engagement

Which matters more?

One of the ways I like to use to clarify my thinking is to write and as I write the ease with which I can explain the ideas that are forming gives me an insight into their validity.

Currently I am puzzling over engagement and challenge. Which matters more when planning lessons? I know we need both but if we were playing the balloon game where we vote one person, or in my case one element of a lesson, out which would be left alone and last in the balloon?

the game is for each element to justify their existence. Why should element 1 remain in the balloon rather than element 2?

This is my dilemma over challenge or engagement, or “daddy or chips” as an advert for a brand of microwave chips described the choice.

I know that we need both for an effective learning experience. But which should win? Which one should be dominant? Should I plan for high engagement or for high challenge first?

If I plan for engagement I might leave out a piece of work because it is too high a challenge and students might disengage? If I plan for challenge can I think of a way to engage or do i have to reply on the “You have to learn this; It’s in the exam” motivator?

I don’t think the answer is “You have to have both”. I will have both. I must both challenge and engage, but do I select the challenge and add the engagement or find engaging activities that students will love doing?

I have my answer. What is yours? And why?