Optimal Learning Environments to Promote Student Engagement

  • David J. Shernoff

Part of the Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development book series (ARAD)

About this book


Optimal Learning Environments to Promote Student Engagement analyzes the psychological, social, and academic phenomena comprising engagement, framing it as critical to learning and development. Drawing on positive psychology, flow studies, and theories of motivation, the book conceptualizes engagement as a learning experience, explaining how it occurs (or not) and how schools can adapt to maximize it among adolescents. Examples of empirically supported environments promoting engagement are provided, representing alternative high schools, Montessori schools, and extracurricular programs. The book identifies key innovations including community-school partnerships, technology-supported learning, and the potential for engaging learning opportunities during an expanded school day. Among the topics covered:

  • Engagement as a primary framework for understanding educational and motivational outcomes.
  • Measuring the malleability, complexity, multidimensionality, and sources of engagement.
  • The relationship between engagement and achievement.
  • Supporting and challenging: the instructor’s role in promoting engagement.
  • Engagement within and beyond core academic subjects.
  • Technological innovations on the engagement horizon.

Optimal Learning Environments to Promote Student Engagement is an essential resource for researchers, professionals, and graduate students in child and school psychology; social work; educational psychology; positive psychology; family studies; and teaching/teacher education.


Academic achievement and student engagement Achievement gap and student engagement Alienation and disengagement Belongingness and engagement Child engagement and disengagement Emotional development and positive psychology Emotional regulation and student engagement Engagement and disengagement at school Experience Sampling Method (ESM) Flow Theory and Csikszentmihalyi Learning environments and student engagement Mentoring and group engagement Montessori and alternative public schools Optimal learning environments Positive psychology and youth development Positive youth development and engagement School violence and student disengagement Self-regulation and child development Youth engagement and disengagement

Authors and affiliations

  • David J. Shernoff
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Education, Dept. Leadership, EducationalNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

Bibliographic information