Connecting to “The How” of Classroom Engagement: Instruction and Optimal Learning Environments

  • David J. Shernoff
Part of the Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development book series (ARAD)


This chapter discusses a study designed to extend ESM studies of classroom learning through combining the ESM with video techniques. This study investigated the influence of instructional practices on student engagement in high school classrooms. Seven high school classrooms in five different subject areas were observed and videoed. Students in the seven classrooms (N = 140) also participated in the experience sampling method (ESM) concurrent with the observations. Instructional activities and specific instructional features were coded from the video observations in order to predict student engagement as measured by the ESM. Overall, findings from the study were suggestive that instructional approach is a major factor with the potential to engage or disengage students in traditional public school classrooms. One of the main findings extending those of previous studies was that the instructional format (e.g., lecture, discussion, group work, and test) was not as predictive as the ways in which each of those formats could be implemented. Optimal learning environments, or those in which students were most engaged, were characterized by optimal challenge, a complex task often involving the use of materials, clear and important student goals for the activity, teacher monitoring and feedback, high teacher expectations, and good rapport between teacher and students.


Student Engagement Instructional Practice Autonomy Support Behavioral Engagement Experience Sampling Method 
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

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Shernoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations College of EducationNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

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