Project

Student Engagement

Goal: Research on the conceptualizing, measuring, and improving student engagement in the language classroom and beyond.

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Ali H. Al-Hoorie
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WATCH THE VIDEO: https://youtu.be/0mLGth2sH1U - Gamification language learning is one of the emerging strands of research in applied linguistics. Gamification refers to incorporation of gaming elements in the learning process in order to motivate students and enhance their attention, and consequently improve their proficiency. This presentation gives an overview of gamification, strategies to implement it in the classroom, and research on its effectives.
Philip Hiver
added a research item
In this study we investigated how student engagement and disengagement change over the course of a semester in the L2 classroom. We modeled change at the inter- and intra-individual levels, using time-variant predictors to examine differences in student classroom engagement and disengagement trajectories. In addition to these temporal dynamics, we also examined what motivational antecedents are related to these changes in engagement and disengagement over time. We collected data from 686 students enrolled in general-purpose English courses at two publicly funded universities in mainland China at three waves in a 17-week semester, and tested a series of multi-level, mixed-effects growth models. Our analyses showed that students who reported higher initial classroom engagement or disengagement levels had lower growth rates than their counterparts as the semester proceeded. Students’ classroom engagement in language learning dipped to its lowest point around the middle of the semester and peaked toward the end of the semester. Motivational antecedents were also strong predictors of student engagement and disengagement in the language classroom at both within- and between-person levels. We discuss the implications of these temporal dynamics of learner engagement in the language classroom.
Philip Hiver
added a research item
Task-based approaches to L2 instruction have become de rigueur in many learning contexts, and learners routinely encounter tasks in the course of regular L2 instruction. The reality of many instructed L2 contexts is that the same task or sequence of tasks can provoke varying responses when presented to students within the same group or classroom. Engagement is a useful lens for L2 researchers seeking to understand how and why individuals focus on, interact within, and learn from tasks. Task engagement can vary across students who are doing the same task, even if that task is highly stimulating. In addition, there may be important differences in how individual engagement manifests among students who have the same overarching level of engagement; these differences have implications for L2 learning and for researching tasks. This chapter is divided into three parts. In the first part, we define task engagement and provide a brief overview of existing work on the topic. As our review shows, task engagement represents the level and quality of a learner’s integrated mental and physical activity, as well as their affective experience, within a task. In the second part, we compare task engagement with task motivation, another framework for looking at students’ involvement in TBLT. We emphasize that task motivation can be thought of as either a precursor of task engagement or as the by-product of engaging in a task. We end our chapter by suggesting ideas for task engagement research that treats individuals’ task engagement as a holistic, situated, adaptive, and momentary phenomenon. Our position is that confusion in understanding task engagement may arise when macro-level information (i.e., general engagement tendencies in a collective of learners across a course of task-based language learning) is used to capture micro-level insights about the time (momentary), task (an individual task), and agent (the individual learner). In response, we propose ways to reconfigure the unit of analysis and the level of granularity at which task engagement is conceptualized, observed, and measured.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
added 2 research items
VIDEOS: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJWlV4TbEDStlxJo7rQoWdFV6WUDWM-Rj - Engagement is one of the hottest research topics in the field of educational psychology (Fredericks, Filsecker, & Lawson, 2016), and has recently emerged as a topic of interest in language (L2) education (e.g., Mercer & Dörnyei, forthcoming; Philp & Duchesne, 2016; Svalberg, 2009, 2017). This current of interest is not surprising, given the general consensus that engaged students “put forth effort, persist, self-regulate their behavior toward goals, challenge themselves to exceed, and enjoy challenges and learning” (Christenson, Reschly, & Wylie, 2012, p. v). Broadly speaking, in learning, engagement refers to the quantity and quality of psychological energy or mental resources directed toward a task and the emotions and behaviors that this involvement entails. In the field of L2 learning, fairly in-depth work exists on topics such as motivation, self-regulated learning strategies, and other associated concepts; however, the topic of engagement has yet to receive much direct focus. The purpose of this symposium is to advance discussions and understandings of engagement in the L2 classroom. The contributions to this symposium will serve as a springboard for further progress, by showcasing models of innovative thinking and research on the topic of learner engagement in the L2 classroom. On one hand, individual papers will have exploratory aspects as they set out to establish unique insights and contributions the topic/construct of engagement might make to L2 learning and teaching and to embed this within existing thematic areas of study in the L2 classroom (e.g., classroom interaction; task-based learning; L2 writing). On the other hand, they are also expected to examine areas of convergence and make explicit links with more established areas of research (e.g., L2 motivation), teasing apart the nuances between them. As a collective, the contributions to this symposium address broad substantive questions concerned with the subject matter of what engagement is or looks like, and how it can be theorized for the L2 classroom, methodological questions related to the design, measurement, and analysis of engagement in L2 classroom contexts, as well as applied issues that examine its antecedents, factors that might inhibit and enhance it, and the conditions that foster reengagement of L2 learners who have become disengaged. A distinct objective of this symposium is to explore the applied side of engagement, firmly rooted in L2 learning and instruction through specific learning goals, learning contexts, types of students, and the processes through which they become engaged. We feel that this symposium will make an important contribution both to future theorizing and current empirical work in the psychology of language learning and teaching.
VIDEO: https://youtu.be/Ivf_8G7NctI - PUBLISHED PAPER: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/350159322_Engagement_in_language_learning_A_systematic_review_of_20_years_of_research_methods_and_definitions - ABSTRACT: At the turn of the new millennium, Dörnyei and Kormos (2000) proposed that ‘active learner engagement is a key concern’ for all instructed language learning. Since then, language engagement research has increased exponentially, becoming a new strand of PLL research. In this talk, we present a systematic review of 20 years of language engagement research. Our first aim was to look back at the methodological characteristics of previous empirical L2 engagement research to note trends and tendencies in designs and analytical choices. We were also interested in the definitions and operationalizations of engagement across subdomains of language education. We searched 21 major journals on second language acquisition (SLA) and applied linguistics and identified 112 reports satisfying our inclusion criteria. The results of our analysis of these reports highlighted the adoption of heterogeneous methods and conceptual frameworks in the language engagement literature, as well as indicating a need to refine the definitions and operationalizations of engagement in both quantitative and qualitative research. Based on these findings, we attempt to clarify some lingering ambiguity around fundamental definitions, and to more clearly delineate the scope and target of language engagement research. We also discuss future avenues to further advance understanding of the nature, mechanisms, and outcomes resulting from engagement in language learning.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
added a research item
In the 19th century, Donders (1868/1969) argued that although psychologists could not directly observe mental processes, they could still infer them through performance speed in response to different stimuli. Donders described several experiments reporting different latencies depending on, for example, whether an object was placed to the right or left and whether the participant was using their right or left hand. A century later, researchers started investigating automatic stereotypes (Gaertner & McLaughlin, 1983) and automatic attitudes (Fazio et al., 1986) through sequential priming tasks. In a sequential priming task, the participant is first presented with a prime stimulus (e.g., Pleasant) and then with a target stimulus (e.g., Rose). The participant is to make a quick decision regarding the second stimulus (e.g., to classify it as Flower or Insect). A priming effect occurs when the similarity between the two stimuli makes the response speed faster than if the first prime stimulus was, for example, Disgusting.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
added a research item
Directed motivational currents, unique and intense goal-directed motiva-tional surges lasting over a period of time, have received increasing attention recently. This article reports the first systematic review of this phenomenon. A total of 21 reports appearing between 2013 and 2020 were included in the analysis. The results show that the majority of empirical reports were small-scale qualitative studies (median = 18 participants). The evidence on the three characteristics proposed as necessary and/or distinguishing conditions of directed motivational currents (vision, salient facilitative structure, and positive affect) is inconclusive due to the presence of directed motivational currents cases not exhibiting these features, and the absence of direct comparative analyses with non-directed motivational currents cases. A few intervention studies (N = 4) were conducted, but their results are also inconclusive due to a number of methodological limitations. Contrary to the claim that directed motivational current experiences are the "optimal form" of motivation, the results additionally showed that these experiences could lead to intense stress, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and panic attacks, thereby raising ethical concerns about deliberately inducing directed motivational currents in learners. We conclude that, although the concept of directed motivational currents is Safoura Jahedizadeh, Ali H. Al-Hoorie 518 promising, more research is needed to reach a better understanding of its potential. We end this article by suggesting directions for future research into directed motivational currents, including renaming them as sustained flow.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
added a research item
Research into language learning demotivation has tended to focus on the identification of discrete factors resulting in demotivation. In this article, we report an investigation into the interrelationship among factors eventually leading to demotivation using a sequential exploratory mixed-methods design. In Study 1, 13 participants were interviewed about their demotivation experiences and what factors, they perceived, had led to demotivation over a period of 12 months. We then used these results to formulate a demotivation model. In Study 2, we tested the generalizability of this model on a larger sample ( N = 2044). Using structural equation modeling, our results showed that the model fit the data, and most of its paths were statistically significant. This model showed that having a fixed mindset had one direct and two indirect paths to demotivation. The two indirect paths were through lowering the learner’s ideal L2 self and through feeling disappointed by setbacks. We discuss the implication of our findings for language learning and teaching.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
added a research item
In order for students to learn a language, they need to engage with it. Sometimes, however, students are reluctant to engage seriously in these activities. At other times, they may even feign task engagement such as to please the teacher. These learners may disengage cognitively, emotionally, or behaviorally. This presentation will discuss how to address fake engagement and promote authentic learner engagement.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
added a research item
At the turn of the new millennium, in an article in Language Teaching Research in 2000, Dörnyei and Kormos proposed that ‘active learner engagement is a key concern’ for all instructed language learning. Since then, language engagement research has increased exponentially. In this article, we present a systematic review of 20 years of language engagement research. To ensure robust coverage, we searched 21 major journals on second language acquisition (SLA) and applied linguistics and identified 112 reports satisfying our inclusion criteria. The results of our analysis of these reports highlighted the adoption of heterogeneous methods and conceptual frameworks in the language engagement literature, as well as indicating a need to refine the definitions and operationalizations of engagement in both quantitative and qualitative research. Based on these findings, we attempted to clarify some lingering ambiguity around fundamental definitions, and to more clearly delineate the scope and target of language engagement research. We also discuss future avenues to further advance understanding of the nature, mechanisms, and outcomes resulting from engagement in language learning.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
added 2 research items
This book defines engagement for the field of language learning and contextualizes it within existing work on the psychology of language learning and teaching. Chapters address broad substantive questions concerned with what engagement is or looks like, and how it can be theorized for the language classroom; methodological questions related to the design, measurement and analysis of engagement in language classrooms and beyond; as well as applied issues examining its antecedents, factors inhibiting and enhancing it, and conditions fostering the reengagement of language learners who have become disengaged. Through a mix of conceptual and empirical chapters, the book explores similarities and differences between motivation and engagement and addresses questions of whether, how and why learners actually do exert effort, allocate attention, participate and become involved in tangible language learning and use. It will serve as an authoritative benchmark for future theoretical and empirical research into engagement within the classroom and beyond, and will be of interest to anyone wishing to understand the unique insights and contributions the topic of engagement can make to language learning and teaching.
In this chapter, our objective is to explore the past, present and future of measuring the construct of engagement. We first introduce some of the more prominent approaches to measuring student engagement from general education, including student self-report, experience sampling, teacher ratings of students, interviews and observations (Hofkens & Ruzek, 2019). We describe how each approach has been applied to measuring engagement, examine their validity and reliability and discuss the strengths and weakness of each measurement approach for L2 researchers. We also examine several widely used self-report measures in student engagement research with reference to their operational definitions, use, samples and psychometric properties. We elaborate on considerations related to the measurement of engagement in L2 learning, such as the differentiation between L2 engagement and related constructs, the variety of purposes for measuring L2 engagement, and measuring general versus domain-specific L2 engagement (e.g. task- and skill-specific engagement). Finally, we summarize the limitations of currently available instruments for eliciting engagement data and discuss directions for future development in the field.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
added a project goal
Research on the conceptualizing, measuring, and improving student engagement in the language classroom and beyond.