Student engagement as a dynamic and multidimensional concept


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Student engagement as a dynamic and multidimensional concept

  1. 1. Aleksandra Lazareva Understanding academic engagement as a multidimensional and dynamic concept: A case study of the impact of classroom context factors on primary school students' engagement Master's Thesis in Education Master's Degree program in Learning, Education and Technology
  2. 2. Background ● Learning requires engagement and investment of time and effort from learners. The bigger amount of time learners are engaged, the higher their achievement is (Gettinger & Walter, 2012). ● Main practical reason for studying engagement: increased learning (Fredricks et al., 2004). ● Student engagement at school predicts such outcomes as students' academic conduct and emotions about school and learning (Lam et al., 2012).
  3. 3. Defining engagement Interest is always engaging and motivating, but engagement does not necessarily imply interest or motivation (Järvelä & Renninger, 2014).
  4. 4. Multidimensional concept ● Connell (1990) uses the construct “engagement versus disaffection”. According to this viewpoint, engagement “is viewed as patterns of action reflecting acceptance of and commitment to the goals of learning and successful school performance. Disaffection is defined as patterns of action reflecting a lack of commitment to these goals” (Connell, 1990, p. 87). ● Three types of engagement: behavioral, cognitive, and emotional. They can differ in their degree. ● A lot of overlappings with concepts due to a big amount of research on how students act, feel and think (Fredricks et al., 2004): problem in establishing single taxonomy that would reflect all relevant aspects (Ainley, 2012). ● Potential as a multidimensional concept: can give a complex picture of students' perceptions of school (Fredricks et al., 2004)
  5. 5. Dynamic concept Classification by Fredricks et al. (2004)
  6. 6. Aim and research questions ● The main aim is to better understand the dynamics of individual students' engagement in a real classroom context ● Three major groups of factors are in the centre of attention: task characteristics, interactions with a teacher, and interaction with peers – Did students perceive iPads as increasing the attractiveness of the task, and how did it influence engagement? – How did students perceive the degree to which they were able to make choice within the task, and how did it influence engagement? – How did meaningfulness of the task for an individual student influence engagement? – How did different types of interactions with the teacher (i.e., behavioral regulation, additional instructions, and assistance) influence engagement? – What strategies did students use to regulate each other's task engagement, and how successful were they?
  7. 7. Data collection ● Primary teacher training school, Northern Finland ● English language classroom ● 11 pupils, 10-11 years old ● 1-month intervention, 6 lessons 45 minutes each ● Video observations, learning diaries, students' products
  8. 8. Data analysis ● Process-oriented analysis ● Dynamic assessment: the main point is to capture the changes of an individual’s motivation in connection to the contextual changes, such as, different periods of classroom activity. During dynamic assessment such issues as a student’s reactions to task difficulty, time pressure factors, obstales and social feedback are taken into account (Järvelä et al., 2001).
  9. 9. Data analysis ● Video observations — central ● On-task/off-task method: coding 10-seconds episodes ● Based on previous research and own more detailed guidelines for coding ● “On-task episode” is the phenomenon that implies student approaching a task by “attending to the task or presenting task-focused nonverbal signs” (Järvelä et al., 2008, p. 306). ● “Off-task episode” means avoidance of a learning activity, such as “turning away, approaching other students for telling jokes or other substitute activities instead of learning” (Järvelä et al., 2008, p. 306). ● Phase-shift analysis ● Learning diaries and students' products — to support the analysis from different perspectives, qualitative interpretation
  10. 10. Results of on-task/off-task analysis
  11. 11. Data analysis
  12. 12. Results: Question 1 ● Students thought iPad made tasks more fun ● iPad initiated engagement by causing positive emotions and situational interest – Antti: I will take this, I will take this... – Aleksi: Hey, hey, hey, look who is drawing first, yeah, I will draw first! – Jussi: Then me, then me, Aleksi, give it to me after that.
  13. 13. Results: Question 2 ● Tasks differed in the level of autonomy support ● From video observations it was seen that students were eager to make choices within the task – Terhi (asking the teacher): With what program? – Teacher: You can choose yourself with what program. – Joni (asking the teacher): How many do I need to write? – Teacher: As many as you find connected to your topic. – Terhi (asking the teacher): Can I write to the fun part, for example, sports? – Teacher: Yes.
  14. 14. Results: Question 3 ● Tasks differed in the level of meaningfulness ● Task at Lesson 4 — most meaningful
  15. 15. Results: Question 4 ● Three types of interactions with the teacher: – provision of additional instructions (e.g., answering students' questions about the task) – regulation of students' behavior in the group (e.g., telling individual students off) – intensive assistance of an individual student or a pair (i.e., fulfilling a task with students step by step) (see Rogat & Linnenbrink-Garcia, 2011) ● Different effect on students' engagement
  16. 16. Results: Question 4
  17. 17. Results: Question 5 ● Most part of students' attempts to regulate each others' behavior were related to structuring the activity, mainly by coordinating turn-taking and using task equipment in a group/pair – Petri: Close your books! Elina, close your book! – Laura: You should let Elina draw. Next – to Elina... ● In case when own efforts to structure the activity in the group were not sufficient, a student would draw the teacher's attention in order for her to help structure the activity – Ville: Aleksi is playing a fool... – Anna: Antti doesn't begin to do...
  18. 18. Conclusions and discussion ● Results go line with previous research findings ● Practical perspective ● Strong sides: sought to establish the source of engagement, authentic context, detailed analysis, combination of data sources ● Limitations: relatively small data set, limited period of time — generalization of results is limited
  19. 19. References ● Ainley, M. (2012). Students' interest and engagement in classroom activities. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 283–302). New York: Springer. ● Connell, J. P. (1990). Context, self, and action: A motivational analysis of self-system processes across the life-span. In D. Cicchetti (Ed.), The self in transition: Infancy to childhood (pp. 61–97). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ● Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 1(74), 59–109. ● Gettinger, M. & Walter, M. J. (2012). Classroom strategies to enhance academic engaged time. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 653–673). New York: Springer. ● Järvelä, S. & Renniger, K. A. (2014, in press). Designing for learning: Engagement, interest, and motivation. In K. Sawyer (Ed.). Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. ● Järvelä, S., Salonen, P., & Lepola, J. (2001). Dynamic assessment as a key to understanding student motivation in a classroom context. In P. R. Pintrich & M. L. Maehr (Eds.), New directions in measures and methods: Advances in motivation and achievement, Volume 12 (pp. 207–240). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. ● Järvelä, S., Veermans, M., & Leinonen, P. (2008). Investigating student engagement in computer-supported inquiry: a process-oriented analysis. Social Psychology of Education, 11, 299–322. ● Lam, S., Wong, B. P. H., Yang, H., & Liu, Y. (2012). Understanding Student Engagement with a Contextual Model. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 403–419). New York: Springer. ● Rogat, T. K. & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. (2011). Socially shared regulation in collaborative groups: An analysis of the interplay between quality of social regulation and group processes. Cognition and Instruction, 29, 375–415.