Interdisciplinary research on engaging learning environment
It is known that student engagement is essential for the students’ well-being and learning, however, during primary and lower secondary school, student engagement declines. The problem of declining student engagement is a major challenge for schools and education authorities across the world, according to the OECD (2017).
Learning engagement is characterized by active involvement, and is expressed in participation, effort and perseverance. Student engagement is greatly influenced by instructional practices in the classroom.
Enact: Supporting teachers 'enactment of classroom practices critical to students' learning engagement is a research project at the University of Stavanger. Enact is a randomized controlled study of the relationship between instructional practice, learning environment and student engagement.
Teachers from 120 Norwegian schools will participate in Enact and will test different measures. The first intervention, based on research on adult learning, aims to increase teachers knowledge of classroom practices that are important for strengthening students' commitment to learning. The second intervention, based on behavioral change research, aims to support teachers in integrating new knowledge into their everyday teaching practice. A third group will receive both measures.
Enact is an interdisciplinary research project involving researchers in educational science, psychology, and behavioral economics. Researchers from these different disciplines will collaborate in developing the interventions and investigate their effect on teachers' teaching practice and students' mindsets, commitment and academic performance. Enact is the first randomized controlled study that examines whether teacher professional development can impact student engagement. It is also the first study to examine whether focusing on teachers 'practice can have an impact on students' mindset.
Student engagement is essential for deep learning. Still, school systems across the world strive to enhance or even maintain student engagement (OECD, 2017). Student engagement declines during primary and secondary school and threatens educational equity. In this project we suggest that psychology, education research and behavioral economics provide different parts of a puzzle which all are needed to enhance and maintain student engagement.
The primary objective is to provide new understanding of how to support teachers’ enactment of classroom practices critical for student learning engagement, and thereby enhance students’ emotional and academic development. By combining insights from psychology, education and behavioral economics we develop and test individual and complementary effects of two different treatments targeting teacher practice in a large randomized controlled field trial including 120 schools. The Teacher Professional Development (TPD) treatment provides teachers with knowledge about classroom practices important to strengthen students’ learning engagement. The FEEDBACK treatment, inspired by performance feedback interventions in behavioral economics, supports teachers in enacting this knowledge in their day-to-day practice by countering present bias and overconfidence.
We investigate treatment impacts on teachers’ instructional practice and students’ mindset, engagement, and academic achievements. We hypothesize that the TPD or the FEEDBACK treatments alone will not suffice to empower teachers to strengthen students’ learning engagement. However, in combination, the TPD and Feedback treatments will provide teachers with sufficient knowledge and support to enact new knowledge. This will increase student learning engagement, and thereby help students develop emotionally and academically. During the year of implementation, we conduct extensive implementation and process evaluation.