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Promoting Student Engagement in the Classroom


by Matthew J. Bundick, Russell J. Quaglia, Michael J. Corso & Dawn E. Haywood — 2014

Background/Context: Much progress has been made toward a greater understanding of student engagement and its role in promoting a host of desirable outcomes, including academic outcomes such as higher achievement and reduced dropout, as well as various well-being and life outcomes. Nonetheless, disengagement in our schools is widespread. This may be due in part to a lack in the student engagement literature of a broad conceptual framework for understanding how students are engaged at the classroom level, and the ways in which teachers may play an active role in promoting student engagement.

Purpose: The present work seeks to summarize and synthesize the literature on student engagement, providing both a greater appreciation of its importance as well as a context for how it might be better understood at the classroom level. It considers how the primary elements of the classroom environment—the student, the teacher, and the content—interact to affect engagement, and proposes a conceptual framework (based on a previously established model of classroom instruction and learning) for understanding how student engagement may be promoted in the classroom.

Research Design: This study combines a review of the extant research on the structure and correlates of student engagement, with elements of an analytic essay addressing how selected literature on motivation and classroom instruction may be brought to bear on the understanding and promotion of student engagement in the classroom.

Conclusions/Recommendations: This article offers a variety of research-based practical suggestions for how the proposed conceptual model—which focuses on student–teacher relationships, the relevance of the content to the students, and teachers’ pedagogical and curricular competence—might be applied in classroom settings.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 116 Number 4, 2014, p. -
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17402, Date Accessed: 12/12/2017 6:53:27 PM

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About the Author
  • Matthew Bundick
    Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations
    E-mail Author
    MATTHEW J. BUNDICK is the Director of Research for the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests include engagement, motivation, and the development of aspirations and life purpose in adolescents and emerging adults, particularly as facilitated by school contexts. His recent research in these areas has been published in Contemporary Educational Psychology, Journal of Adolescent Research, and Applied Developmental Science.
  • Russell Quaglia
    Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations
    E-mail Author
    RUSSELL J. QUAGLIA is President and Founder of the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations, and Founder and Chair of the Aspirations Academies Trust, based in England. His research interests include understanding the dynamic nature of student aspirations and its implications on student outcomes, the role student voice plays in educational reform, and international educational policy. His most recent work has been presented at the Education World Forum.
  • Michael Corso
    Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations
    E-mail Author
    MICHAEL J. CORSO is the Chief Academic Officer of the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations. He has been an educator for nearly 30 years, and has taught at every educational level from kindergarten through graduate school. His research interests include better understanding students’ aspirations and how students can be agents of their own learning and aspirations, and improving teaching and learning through teacher training and education. His recent publications have appeared in Educational Leadership and American School Board Journal.
  • Dawn Haywood
    Student Engagement Trust
    E-mail Author
    DAWN E. HAYWOOD is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Student Engagement Trust, based in England. Her research interests include engagement, student leadership, and responsibility and transition of students across Key Stages in school settings in the United Kingdom.
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