The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 57–79 | Cite as

A phenomenographic investigation of teacher conceptions of student engagement in learning

  • Lois Ruth Harris


Internationally, educational stakeholders are concerned with the high levels of student disengagement, evidenced by early school leaving, poor student behaviour, and low levels of academic achievement. The solution, student engagement, is a contested concept, theorised in a variety of different ways within academic literature. To further understand this concept, a phenomenographic study was conducted to map secondary school teachers’ conceptions of student engagement. Six qualitatively different ways of understanding student engagement were found. This research indicates that teachers do not hold similar understandings of what student engagement means. If the concept of engagement is to become educationally fruitful, the term must be more explicitly defined in educational research and government policy documents to promote shared understandings amongst stakeholder groups.


Student Engagement School Engagement Particip Ation Previous Category Behavioural Engagement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Australian Association for Research in Education 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lois Ruth Harris
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AucklandNew Zealand

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