CONQUERING DISENGAGEMENT HOW CAN TEACHERS RESPOND TO DISENGAGEMENT IN THE LITERACY CLASSROOM? Chiara Colombo, Kelsey Kennedy, Laura Adcock, Lauren Donker & Cara Souness
Rationale Why was this topic chosen? Why is it relevant?
Have you witnessed disengagement in the classroom? Is it a priority to have engaged students in you own classroom?
Our Research questions HOW CAN TEACHERS RESPOND TO DISENGAGEMENT IN THE LITERACY CLASSROOM? What are the reasons for disengagement? What are the effects of disengagement? What teaching approaches can reengage disinterested students?
Question 1 What are the reasons for disengagement?
Teacher Practices • narrowed or traditional approach to literacy
Teacher Practices Teachers practices may be more traditional than modern Teachers interests can affect the content being taught within the classroom
School wide policies • Whole school non-negotiable programs
School Wide Policies School policies and non-negotiable standards Leveled readers National assessment (NAPLAN) Classroom sizes
LSAY Data Explaining student engagement Fullarton, S 2002, Student engagement with school: individual and school- level influences, Report No. 27, LSAY Research Reports, Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth <http://research.acer.edu.au/lsay_research/31>
LSAY Data representing Student engagement by school sector and gender Fullarton, S 2002, Student engagement with school: individual and school- level influences, Report No. 27, LSAY Research Reports, Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth <http://research.acer.edu.au/lsay_research/31>
LSAY Data representing Student engagement by school type and gender Fullarton, S 2002, Student engagement with school: individual and school- level influences, Report No. 27, LSAY Research Reports, Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth <http://research.acer.edu.au/lsay_research/31>
Classroom Size Studies have shown that areclear correlations between school-level variables and engagement; indicating that students at smaller schools show higher levels of engagement. http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/w/whining.asp
Student wellbeing • students’ self-efficacy, personal motivation and influence from home background
Examples of student wellbeing in literacy classroom Willem (case study) in Turn-around Pedagogies - no confidence, embarrassed when reads to teacher or class. Gives up easily when finds it too hard Julian* (year 3) – learned helplessness, constantly saying he can’t do it and will just sit doing nothing Richard* (year 3) – Parents make him do hours of writing at home, so has no motivation to do it at school
Student WellbeingWhat does the literature say about this? High self- efficacy does not necessarily equate to high achievement, for it is essential that the student first possess the knowledge and skills required for completing the task. Albert Bandura theory of self efficacy Corkett et al (2011) article ‘Student and teacher self-efficacy and the connection to reading and writing' • “self-efficacy is formed through four main constructs: personal accomplishments, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and physiological arousal” (p.67, 2011) • “Students’ literacy is influenced not only by their cognitive ability, but also by non intellectual variables such as the student’s belief that he/she is capable of successfully performing a task (i.e., self-efficacy). The self-efficacy students have in their ability to accomplish a task determines how much effort they initiate and the extent to which they persist when faced with obstacles and adverse situations” (p.66, 2011) • “If students do not persist in activities that they perceive as threatening, they will maintain their debilitating expectations and fears, which may eventually lead to a state of learned helplessness” (p.66, 2011) • Ireland primary school literacy intervention program to increase motivation and engagement
Not catering for Students above or below expected standard • having a vast range of abilities in one class that are not being catered for
Not catering for Students above or below expected standard lessons and content being taught to the students are not at the appropriate level. An ‘at risk’ student (any student who is below the standard level of achievement) would find the work too hard and disengage A highly advanced student (any student who is above the standard level of achievement) would find the work to easy and disengage.
Not catering for Students above or below expected standard Tobin and McInnes, 2008 states that “Teachers understand the need to pay attention to variance in student literacy needs; however, many are unsure of how exactly to carry this out in the dynamic classroom, and report that this is one of their greatest challenges”
Not catering for Students above or below expected standard Some teachers plan lessons at the one expected ability level These teachers believe that they can teach a one size fits all approach to learning YES - Teachers are required to teach the appropriate curriculum as outline in VELS/AUSVELS BUT – This should not be the only aspect they focus on
Not catering for Students above or below expected standard What is the point to push a student to learn something that they are not developmentally ready to learn? How do you expect a student to be engaged in an activity that is beyond their ability?
Not catering for Students above or below expected standard Michelle and I were trying to get some ‘at risk’ students to do handwriting each day of the week. This attempt to get them to write generally went something like this…
ESL students • cultural difficulties
ESL Students Recent estimates show that around 20-25% of students attending schools in Australia are from backgrounds where English is an additional language (Hammond 2012, p. 224). This puts these students at a disadvantage once they start school, as they have not had exposure to the English language from a young age. While ESL students typically develop fluency in everyday conversational English quite quickly (within a year or two), they take much longer- around 7 – 8 years- to develop peer level control of academic English (Hammond 2012). If a student has difficulty reading, writing or listening, then these will likely cause significant disengagement in the literacy classroom because of low levels of confidence and low interest in literacy in general due to a lack of understanding.
ESL Students In the older year levels especially, the classroom literacy focus may have moved away from basic strategies for spelling, grammar and reading, as it is assumed that the majority of students are able to read, write and spell at standard. For an ESL child who is sometimes still translating back and forth in their heads, simple writing or reading tasks can be overwhelming and take a lot of extra effort compared to their peers. While many teachers recognise the importance of language and literacy in learning, and acknowledge the importance of teaching ESL students about language, they lack the confidence to do so(Hammond 2012).
Question 2 What are the effects of disengagement on student learning?
What are the effects on student learning in the classroom? Practical Challenges in the classroom Students cannot keep up with the pace of instructions and comprehend the tasks (ESL) ESL - Students develop low self-efficacy (ESL) No support at home if parents don’t speak English student becomes disruptive to others student requires a lot of one-one-instruction, not allowing teacher to be available for all students
What are the effects on student learning in the classroom? teacher always trying to motivate them, find resources that are different for them (extra preparation time) student does not produce work, or have good samples for assessment student does not progress or meet the standards required for the level student does not do extra work or engage in literacy outside of the classroom, never having extra opportunities to improve
Questions 3 What approaches can re-engage students?
Approaches and RecommendationsWhole School School literacy budget Wider range of resources NAPLAN Literacy texts
Approaches and RecommendationsClassroom Approaches Differentiate Learning Student Centered Working environment Home visits / Student interest
Approaches and RecommendationsClassroom Approaches Formal/informal assessment / Learning goals Feedback Student reflection / Setting goals Collaboration
Approaches and RecommendationsClassroom Approaches ICT / Multi modal Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky) Special needs / ESL Teachers self efficacy
Conclusion Overall, we have found that not only are there multiple reasons for disengagement, but there are also many different ways in which we can attempt to address it. This can be done across many levels, starting at a whole-school approach, moving into each individual classroom, and sometimes filtering through to the students’ home environment, utilising their interests and experiences. As pre-service teachers, it is important for us to be aware of these challenges, so that in our future classrooms we can identify disengagement in any of its forms and work towards addressing it. Ultimately, engaging students comes down to us as teachers, and how we choose to utilise the resources, experiences and ideas that we have.
Conclusion option? There multiple reasons for disengagement Many ways to attempt to address it. Whole-school approach individual classroom students’ home environment. pre-service teachers need to be aware of these challenges, so that we can identify disengagement and work towards addressing it Engaging students comes down to us as teachers, and how we choose to utilise the resources, experiences and ideas that we have.
“The aim of helping one student had an impact on many.” (Moreau & Sharrad 2005, p. 45)
References Bandura, A 1993, Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning, Educational Psychologist, vol. 28, no.2, p.117-148, http://www.centerforefficacyandresiliency.org/assets/docs/Perceived%20Self-Efficacy%20in%20Cognitive%20Development%20and%20Functioning.pdf Corkett, J, Hatt, B & Benevides, T 2011, 'Student and teacher self-efficacy and the connection to reading and writing', Canadian Journal Of Education, 34, 1, pp. 65-98, Education Research Complete, retrieved 28 August 2012 Hammond, J 2012, ‘Hope and challenge in The Australian Curriculum: Implications for EAL students and their teachers’, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 223 – 240. Kennedy, E 2010, 'Narrowing the Achievement Gap: Motivation, Engagement, and Self-Efficacy Matter', Journal Of Education, 190, 3, pp. 1-11, Education Research Complete, retrieved 28 August 2012. Kirby, J, & Hogan, B 2008, 'Family Literacy Environment and Early Literacy Development', Exceptionality Education Canada, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 112-130, Education Research Complete, retrieved 28 August 2012. Moll, L, Amanti, C, Neff, D & Gonzalez, N 1992, ‘Funds of Knowledge for Teaching: Using a Qualitative approach to connect homes and classroom’, Theory into Practice, vol.31, no.2, p.132-141 Moreau, S & Sharrad, N 2005, ‘Enticing reluctant boys into peer writing communities’, in B. Comber & B. Kamler (eds.), Turn-around Pedagogies: Literacy Interventions for At-risk Students, Primary English Teaching Association, New South Wales, Australia, pp. 31-46. Tobin, R and McInnes, A 2008, ‘Accommodating differences: variations in differentiated literacy instruction in Grade 2/3 classrooms’, Literacy, Vol 42. No1 pp 3-9.