Highly engaged classroom
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Highly Engaged Classroom. Chapter 1 RESEARCH AND THEORY. Student Engagement. ---has long been recognized as the CORE of effective schooling.

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Highly Engaged Classroom

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Highly engaged classroom

Highly Engaged Classroom

Chapter 1


Student engagement

Student Engagement

  • ---has long been recognized as the CORE of effective schooling

Highly engaged classroom

  • In this chapter, four topics that constitute the authors’ model of attention and engagement and are typical aspects of any engagement discussion will be examined.

    • -- emotion

    • -- interest

    • -- perceived importance

    • -- perceptions of efficacy

1 emotions how do i feel

#1 Emotions: How Do I Feel?

  • Skinner associated the following emotions with engagement:

    • Enthusiasm

    • interest

    • enjoyment

    • satisfaction

    • Pride

    • Vitality

    • zest

Lack of engagement

Lack of engagement

  • The authors associated these emotions with a lack of engagement:

    • Boredom

    • Disinterest

    • Frustration

    • Anger

    • Sadness

    • Worry/anxiety

    • Shame

    • Self-blame



  • The classroom certainly influences many aspects of emotional engagement. Three of those aspects were discussed

    • students’ energy levels

    • a teacher’s positive demeanor

    • students’ perceptions of acceptance

Students energy levels

Students’ Energy Levels

  • One primary factor in how students answer the question “How do I feel?” is the level of activity in the classroom.

  • Maintaining a lively pace can help keep energy high.

  • The teacher needs to keep the activity moving and avoid interruptions to the activity flow by using good pacing. Pacing is key when transitioning from one activity to another.

  • The part of the brain that processes movement is the same part of the brain that processes learning.

A teacher s positive demeanor

A Teacher’s Positive Demeanor

  • A positive demeanor on the part of the teacher is the second and most general influence on emotional engagement.

  • Everything about the teacher’s tone and manner communicates to the student that what is being said is important and that they should give it full attention and ask questions about anything they do not understand.

A teacher s positive demeanor1

A Teacher’s Positive Demeanor

  • Brophy emphasized that teachers should be enthusiastic regularly and intense selectively.

  • Brophy explained that intensity is communicated through timing, verbal and nonverbal expressions, and gestures.

A teacher s positive demeanor2

A Teacher’s Positive Demeanor

  • Peter Jonas summarized the research on the relationship between humor and student achievement and engagement.

  • Humor was associated with a 40 percentile point gain in instructional effectiveness.

  • Humor can change the culture of a classroom.

  • Humor is associated with enhanced productivity.

  • Humor reduces stress in students.

  • Humor promotes creative thinking.

Students perceptions of acceptance

Students’ Perceptions of Acceptance

  • The relationship teachers have with students is one of the most powerful determiners of how a student answers the question “How do I feel?”

  • Secure relationships are believed to foster children’s curiosity and exploration of the environment, positive coping skills, and a mental representation of oneself as being worthy of love and of others being trustworthy.

2 interest am i interested

# 2 Interest: Am I Interested?

  • A second emblematic question that influences engagement is “Am I interested?”

    • There are 2 kinds of interest:

    • Situational

    • individual

Forms of situational interest

Forms of Situational Interest

  • Situational interest is a short-term psychological state that involves focused attention, increased cognitive function, persistence, enjoyment or affective involvement, and curiosity.

    • --triggered situational interest involves capturing a student’s attention.

    • --maintained situational interest involves holding a student’s interest over time

Catching and holding attention

Catching and holding attention

  • How does the teacher catch and then hold the attention of the students?

  • We must look at the interaction between 3 types of memory:

    • sensory memory

    • working memory

    • permanent memory

Three types of memory

Three Types of Memory

  • Sensory memory addresses temporary storage of data from the senses.

    • --stores more or less complete records of what has been encountered for brief periods of time.

    • --if the information is not encoded in the brief time before it decays, it is lost.

Three types of memory1

Three Types of Memory

  • Working memory is where the data are actively processed.

    • --information must be kept in working memory throughout a class period or at least part of a class period if it is to be encoded.

    • Sustained occupation of working memory is called maintained situational interest.

Trigger and maintain

Trigger and Maintain

We will discuss four ways to trigger and maintain situational interest:

  • using game-like activities

  • initiating friendly controversy

  • using unusual information

  • using effective questioning strategies

Theories that support game like activities

Theories That Support Game – Like Activities

Game-like activities help trigger situational interest and provide a foundation for maintained situational interest because they tap into the psychological principal of clozentropy.

  • Clozentropy – theory that states the human mind will naturally attend to situations that have missing details. (e.g. Mary went to the ___ to swim but she found that she forgot her ____. Your mind naturally fills in word such as pool and suit).

Theories that support game like activities1

Theories That Support Game – Like Activities

Incongruity theories also support the utility of game-like activities to generate situational interest.

  • Incongruity theory – postulates that human beings have a natural tendency to make sense of the world. (e.g. Any activity with a rich contextual background that presents students with missing information will trigger situational interest.)

Trigger and maintain inconsequential competition

Trigger and MaintainInconsequential Competition

Inconsequential competition is an aspect of games that can help trigger and maintain situational interest.

  • --this competition has no consequence regarding students’ grades or status, it is simply done for fun

Trigger and maintain friendly controversy

Trigger and MaintainFriendly Controversy

Another way to trigger and maintain situational interest is through controversy.

  • Controversy strategies include eliciting divergent opinions on an issue and then inviting students to resolve their discrepancies through sustained discussion.

Trigger and maintain unusual information effective questioning strategies

Trigger and MaintainUnusual InformationEffective Questioning Strategies

A third activity that triggers and helps maintain situational interest in the use of unusual information.

It makes intuitive sense that when a student is answering a question, his or her working memory is fully attentive to the task at hand.

3 perceived importance is this important

#3 Perceived Importance: Is This Important?

“Is this important?” is the third emblematic question that affects engagement.

Hierarchy of goals:

-lower level goals address basic subsistence needs

-short-term goals such as scheduling a date

-long-term goals such as making a varsity team

-lifelong goals

When a student is operating on higher levels of the hierarchy, he or she is more engaged.

The self system

The Self-System

Human goals are housed in the self-system. The self-system is a part of permanent memory.

Self-system contains goals that individuals bring to every situation.

Self-system can be viewed as the architect of human motivation.

In some manner, people view every situation in their lives through the filter of their goals. Every student enters class every day with goals that drive his or her behavior.

Personal goals and choice

Personal Goals and Choice

One clear message from the research and theory on the goal-directed nature of human behavior is that students are more likely to engage in school goals that are linked to their personal goals.

The challenge comes when students do not initially perceive school goals are related to any of their personal goals. Research points to choice as a possible remedy for this situation.

Research has shown that providing students of all ages with choice typically increased intrinsic motivation.

Classroom tasks that offer choice must be robust enough to allow students to make direct connections to their personal goals.

Cognitively complex tasks

Cognitively Complex Tasks

  • Another way to facilitate connections between students’ short and long term goals is to use cognitively complex tasks (ones that use thoughtfulness) with real-world applications.

    Thoughtful tasks:

    -focus on sustained examination of a few topics rather than superficial coverage of many.

    -encourage discourse that is characterized by substantive coherence and continuity.

    -challenge students to clarify or justify their assertions.

    -generate original and innovative ideas.

    When students are challenged they are more likely to see what they are learning as being important, and they are more likely to see learning itself as important and influential in their lives.

4 perceptions of efficacy can i do this

#4 Perceptions of Efficacy: Can I Do This?

The answer to the final emblematic question, “Can I do this?,” also affects engagement.

Self-efficacy refers to the perceived capabilities for learning or performing actions at designated levels.

Two ways students foster their self-efficacy:

-possible selves


Self efficacy possible selves

Self-Efficacy: Possible Selves

Efficacy is determined in part by students’ sense of their possible selves.

Possible selves are cognitive representations of an individual’s future. The extent to which students have developed clear conceptions of who they might become in the future enables them to develop skills and gather resources that add up to a sense of self-efficacy.

Self efficacy self theories

Self-Efficacy: Self-Theories

Self-theories are at the core of student motivation, particularly in the face of challenging tasks.

There are two types of self-theories

--fixed theory

--growth theory

Fixed and growth theories of self

Fixed and Growth Theories of Self

  • If a student has developed a “fixed theory” regarding human competence, he or she will tend to shrink from challenging tasks and experience negative effect.

  • If a student has developed a “growth theory” regarding human competence, he or she will tend to embrace challenging situations and experience positive effect.

Aspects of self theories

Aspects of Self-Theories

  • Self-theories are relatively stable.

  • Self-theories can be specific to a domain.

  • Different self-theories lead to different goals.

  • Different self-theories lead to different beliefs about the value of effort

  • Growth theorists tend to believe that effort is not only useful but a vital component of success

  • Different theories foster different reactions to failure.

Self theories


One of the most exciting aspects of self-theories is that they can shift.



The students are asking four questions:

-How do I feel?

-Am I interested?

-Is this important?

-Can I do this?

The teacher is always asking and answering two questions about the students:

-Do I have their attention?

-Are they engaged?

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