It doesn't all start with engagement
I was reading a post on change11 the other day and this video was talked about. The essence of th video is that in education these days we've gone crazy with assessments and we forget about th learner. Fair enough, I believe that this is indeed true in some states and school systems, especially with things like no child left behind.
The problem comes in (for me at least) when the people start talking about engagement first, and not learning objectives or something to assess. They actually see the assessment/objective first as wrong, and this is where they lose me. As educators we need to start off with a certain goal in mind, once th goal (end state acquisition and/or behaviors are known) we can then decide how we would check for these behaviors. Yea, I am putting assessment in second because it's important to know how we will be assessing what we want out learners to know.
Once we've worked out goals and assessment methodology, we can then move onto content, perhaps not 100% of th content, but a sizable amount that constitutes a core, additional content will be determined after the learners have been determined and they strengths, needs, and interests as determined. You can think of several possible scenarios while developing these materiala. Learner engagement comes in at the end once you know who your learners are.
I am getting a vibe here that these folks are overreacting to poor implementation of a good method, and to unresponsive teaching. Just because the water is dirty, you don't throw out the baby with the bath water. Engagement is a very important factor in education, but it is not ncessarily the starting point, at least not in classrooms of 15+ students. It may, however, be interesting from a tutor or homeschool perspective where you've got one on one time, and usually loads of it.