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ERIC Number: ED546431
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 188
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2676-37420
Students' Perception of Engagement in a Third-Grade Writing Classroom
Spinks, James D., Jr.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Georgia State University
Educators have been challenged for many years to engage their students, but often students still seem to be disengaged (Klem & Connell, 2004). Research indicates student engagement is critical to student achievement and success in school (Appleton, 2008; Connell, Spencer, & Aber, 1994; Easton, 2008; Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004). Student engagement is imperative in all subject areas, yet, after considering the research, writing is a particularly significant school subject that may be impacted by student engagement. The National Assessment of Educational Progress indicates 30% of fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-grade students are only writing at a "basic" level of proficiency (NCW, 2004). Considering the research on engagement and the need to improve students' literacy achievement, specifically in writing, there is a compelling reason to know how and when students are engaged in writing. The aim of this study was to investigate the intersection of engagement theory and students' engagement during writing in a third-grade classroom. Specifically, this inquiry focused on the students' perceptions of engagement while identifying indicators of engagement and factors affecting engagement related to the student, task, or context within the writing classroom. My study addressed the following questions: (a) How can student's engagement in a writing classroom be described? and (b) What are students' perceptions of their engagement in a writing classroom? To answer these questions, data collection included initial teacher and student interviews, fieldnotes of classroom observation, the use of digital video of the observed classroom, informal conferences, member checks, digital photographs and student view templates. In order to focus on the students' perceptions, data collection focused on opportunities for student voice. The participants in the study were the students and the teacher in a third-grade writer's workshop classroom. This was a naturalistic study using a grounded theory approach (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Data analysis consisted of data reduction (Creswell, 1998) and constant comparative techniques (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). The constant comparative analysis then led to the development of grounded theory. The findings of this study prompt educators to consider the importance of focusing on engagement in our classrooms. Students in this study give credibility to the study through their voices. Students identified factors that promoted their engagement: importance of choice, making connections and teacher modeling. Along with these factors of engagement this study also found that engagement and attitude influenced each other resulting in a positive classroom environment. Finally, this research identified the significance of student voice and how students are able to ascertain their level of engagement, if asked. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 3; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress