Date of Completion
motivation, self-determination, teacher-student relationship
E. Jean Gubbins
Field of Study
Doctor of Philosophy
Student engagement is integral to the process of learning. Teacher moves, or the behaviors that teachers enact in the process of teaching, have been shown to influence students’ engagement. Research indicates that students are more likely to engage in learning when they believe their teacher supports student autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Less is known about the precise types of moves that engender these feelings in students and how teacher-student relationships play a unique role in student engagement. In this qualitative case study, I studied teacher and student perceptions of the engagement process and teacher-student relationships in a naturally occurring, ninth-grade classroom.
Findings support previous self-determination literature on how student engagement unfolds in the classroom. However, the data indicate that the current definitions of teacher moves may be too limited to capture the full range of actions that inspire feelings of autonomy, competence, relatedness in students. Of particular importance, teacher moves that inhibited feelings of competence included moves associated with under-stimulation for students.
The data from this study also provide evidence for a more nuanced conceptualization of the role that teacher-student relationship building plays in the process of student engagement. When discussing the teacher’s effect on their engagement, some students discussed relatedness moves more frequently than others, indicating a personality type that was more attune to noting the role of teacher-student relationships in the students’ engagement. Additionally, when there were differences between the teacher and students’ perceptions of the teachers influence on student engagement, students frequently commented on teacher-student relationship building.
Field, Kathryn, "Teacher and Student Perceptions of Student Engagement in a 9th Grade Classroom" (2018). Doctoral Dissertations. 1731.