Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 331–352 | Cite as

Classroom discourse and the distribution of student engagement

Article

Abstract

Research in the social psychology of achievement motivation stresses the contribution of the classroom motivational context to problems of student engagement among low achieving students. This analysis contributes to that literature through a focused analysis of English and language arts instruction during the middle school years. Using data from the Partnership for Literacy Study the author investigates the relationship between classroom evaluation during question and answer sessions and two forms of student engagement, participation in classroom discourse, and student effort on classroom and homework assignments. When teachers focus on provoking student thought and analysis, and postpone evaluation during question and answer sessions by engaging in dialogic instruction, levels of student effort are more evenly distributed among students. Moreover, the relationship between levels of initial achievement and student effort is weaker in classrooms where teachers incorporate elements of dialogic instruction into question and answer sessions. However, dialogic instruction had no effect on the distribution of participation in classroom discourse itself.

Keywords

Student engagement Self-efficacy theory Classroom discourse Teacher–student interaction 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Applebee A.N., Langer J.L., Nystrand M., Gamoran A. (2003). Discussion-based approaches to developing understanding: Classroom instruction and student performance in middle and high school English. American Educational Research Journal 40, 685–730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Altermatt E.R., Jovanovic J., Perry M. (1998). Bias or responsivity? Sex and achievement-level effects on teachers’ classroom questioning practices. Journal of Educational Psychology 90, 516–527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ames C. (1986). Effective motivation: The contribution of the learning environment. In: Feldman R.S. (eds). The social psychology of education. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  4. Ames C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures, and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology 84, 261–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ames C., Ames R. (1981). Competitive versus individualistic goal structures: The salience of past performance information for causal attributions and affect. Journal of Educational Psychology 73, 411–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ames C., Archer J. (1988). Achievement goals in the classroom: Student’s learning strategies and motivation processes. Journal of Educational Psychology 80, 260–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bandura A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review 84, 191–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bossert S.T. (1979). Tasks and social relationships in classrooms. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  9. Cohen E.G., Lotan R.A. (1997). Working for equity in heterogeneous classrooms. Teacher’s College Press, ColumbiaGoogle Scholar
  10. Collins J. (1982). Discourse style, classroom interaction and differential treatment. Journal of Reading Behavior 14, 429–437Google Scholar
  11. Cuban L. (1993). How teachers taught: Constancy and change in American classrooms 1890–1990. Teachers College Press, ColumbiaGoogle Scholar
  12. DeCharms R. (1984). Motivation enhancement in educational settings. In: Ames R., Ames C. (eds). Research on motivation in education: Student motivation. Academic Press, New York, pp. 275–310Google Scholar
  13. Eccles J.S., Midgley C. (1989). Stage/environment fit: Developmentally appropriate classrooms for early adolescents. In: Ames R., Ames C. (eds). Research on motivation in education: Goals And cognitions. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, pp. 139–181Google Scholar
  14. Finn, J. D. (2006). The adult lives of at-risk students. Statistical Analysis Report, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2006–328.Google Scholar
  15. Firebaugh G. (1999). Empirics of world income inequality. American Journal of Sociology 104, 1597–1630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fredericks J.A., Blumenfeld P.C., Paris P.H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research 74, 59–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gamoran A., Nystrand M. (1992). Taking students seriously. In: Newmann F., (eds). Student engagement and achievement in American secondary schools. Teachers College Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. Gamoran A., Nystrand M., Berends M., Lepore P.C. (1995). An organizational analysis of the effects of ability grouping. American Educational Research Journal 32, 687–715CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Good T.L., Slavings R.L., Harel K.H., Emerson H. (1987). Student passivity: A study of question asking in K-12 classrooms. Sociology of Education 60, 181–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hauser, R. M., & Warren, J. R. (1996). Socioeconomic indexes for occupations: A review, update, and critique. Working Paper 96–01, Center for Demography and Ecology, Madison WI.Google Scholar
  21. Langer, J. A., Applebee, A. N., & Nystrand, M. (2005). Final report. National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement. SUNY-Albany.Google Scholar
  22. Mehan H. (1979). Learning lessons: Social organization in the classroom. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  23. Metz, M. H. (1986) [2003]. Different by design: The context and character of three magnet schools. Columbia University: Teacher’s College Press.Google Scholar
  24. Morine-Dershimer G. (1985). Talking, listening and learning in elementary classrooms. Longman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Nystrand M. (1997). Opening dialogue: Understanding the dynamics of language and learning in the English classroom. Teachers College Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Nystrand M., Wu L.L., Gamoran A., Zeiser S., Long D. (2003). Questions in time: Investigating the structure and dynamics of unfolding classroom discourse. Discourse Processes 35(2): 135–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pintrich P.R., De Groot E.V. (1990). Motivational and self-regulated learning components of classroom academic performance. Journal of Educational Psychology 82, 33–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pintrich P.R., Garcia T. (1991). Student goal orientation and self-regulation in the college classrooms. In: Maehr M.L., Pintrich P.R. (eds). Advances in motivation and achievement: Goals and self-regulatory processes Vol. 7. JAI Press, Greenwich, CT, pp. 371–402Google Scholar
  29. Popkewitz T.S., Tabachnick R.B., Wehlage G. (1982). The myth of educational reform. The University of Wisconsin Press, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  30. Roeser R.W., Eccles J.S., Sameroff A.J. (2000). School as a context of early adolescents’ academic and social-emotional development: A summary of research findings. The Elementary School Journal 100, 443–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Roeser R.W., Strobel K.R., Quihuis G. (2002). Studying early adolescents’ academic motivation, social-emotional functioning, and engagement functioning, and engagement in learning: Variable and person-centered approaches. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping 15, 345–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rosenholtz S.J., Rosenholtz S.H. (1981). Classroom organization and the perception of ability. Sociology of Education 54, 132–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rosenholtz S.J., Wilson B. (1980). The effect of classroom structure on shared perceptions of ability. American Educational Research Journal 17, 175–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rudolph K.D., Lambert S.F., Clark A.G., Kurlakowsky K.D. (2001). Negotiating the transition to middle school: The role of self-regulatory processes. Child Development 72, 929–946CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Samson G.E., Strykowski B., Weinstein T., Walberg H.J. (1987). The effects of teacher questioning levels on student achievement: A quantitative synthesis. Journal of Educational Research 80, 290–295Google Scholar
  36. Schunk D.H. (1991). Self-efficacy and academic motivation. Educational Psychologist 26, 207–231Google Scholar
  37. Shernoff D.J., Csikszentmihalyi M., Schneider B., Shernoff E.S. (2003). Student engagement in high school classrooms from the perspective of flow theory. School Psychology Quarterly 18, 158–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Simpson C. (1981). Classroom structure and the organization of ability. Sociology of Education 54, 120–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Skinner E., Wellborn J., Connell J. (1990). What it takes to do well in school and whether I’ve got it: A process model of perceived control and children’s engagement and achievement in school. Journal of Educational Psychology 82, 22–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Turner J.C., Meyer D.K., Cox K.E., Logan C., DiCintio M., Thomas C.T. (1998). Creating contexts for involvement in mathematics. Journal of Educational Psychology 90, 730–745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Turner J.C., Midgley C., Meyer D.K., Gheen M., Anderman E., Kang Y., Patrick H. (2002). The classroom environment and students’ reports of avoidance strategies in mathematics: A multimethod study. Journal of Educational Psychology 94, 88–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Valeski T.N., Stipek D.J. (2001). Young children’s feelings about school. Child Development 72, 1198–1213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zimmerman B.J., Martinez-Pons M. (1992). Perceptions of efficacy and strategy use in the self-regulation of learning. In: Schunk D.H., Meece J.L. (eds). Student perceptions in the classroom. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 185–207Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Research on Educational OpportunityNotre DameUSA

Personalised recommendations