Week 5 Breadcrumbs

    By Louie

    Hey everybody,


    This week I decided to read the Sinatra research on “The Challenges of Defining and Measuring Student Engagement in Science.”  This research discussed the ever-changing definition of student engagement,  as well as the benefits which occur when students are engaged in their own learning ( especially in regards to motivation and achievement).  The research quoted a lot a couple authors which I recognized for their work on student engagement, like Skinner and Zimmerman for those who want to search Pace’s online library.

    The first thing I took away from the research to help me in my fieldwork were the “indices of engagement[,] such as brain imaging, eye tracking, response time, or attention allocation,” (Sinatra, 2).  I plan to be mindful of these indicators during my teaching, that way I can tailor my instructional methods accordingly.  

    The text introduced a completely new theory (to me), which is the  field expectancy-value theory.  The theory states that “motivation to engage with a certain task is based on expectancy for success, interest, attainment value, utility value, and relative cost,” (Sinatra, 3).  I think that this relative’s to Glasser’s Basic Choice Theory in the way that students will always weigh the benefits to the tasks we assign, the consequences attached to not completing it, and the other choices available to them at the time.  Sinatra’s went on to say that interest and relative cost are perhaps the most closely tied to engagement theoretically, so to make become effective teachers we must know our students interests.

    I think I know my students pretty well, but there are certain ones who make it a little more difficult to.  I am going to try to be mindful of looking for the "indices of engagement," especially with my students who are more soft spoken.  Students who don't disrupt are often overlooked in my experience, whether it be diagnosing a learning disorder such as ADHD or monitoring student engagement (since they may seem on-task when they're silently not).   Sinatra’s research suggests that if we can somehow tap into student's interest, they will be intrinsically motivated to engage in the tasks we assign.

    I think this study is a must-read for teachers since it goes over the 3 types of motivation, and provides newer perspectives on the role of engagement in the learning process.  This research can help teachers across all subjects (not just science), so don’t let the title fool you!


    ED 631 - Educational Psychology- Spring 2018

    ED 631 - Educational Psychology- Spring 2018

    Here is our online home for ED 631 for Spring 2018.

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