Chapter 1 Introduction
1.1 Research Background
When researchers gradually shift the perspective of classroom teaching researchfrom teachers to students, students’ engagement in research has become a hot issue. The2017 edition of the English Curriculum Standard of Senior High School proposes that“the General Senior High School English Curriculum promotes the concept of Englishlearning activities and learning styles such as independent learning, cooperative learningand inquiry learning that point to the core qualities of the subject.” As a kind ofinstrumental language, the essence of English lies in communication. It emphasizes thatstudents should be able to use English. Students should have a good languageenvironment and a lot of opportunities for language practice, and form a sense oflanguage through their own experience, perception, practice, engagement andcommunication.
In high school English classroom, we can find that today’s classroom is much livelythan before. Teachers absorbed the idea of the new curriculum and understood that inaddition to teaching, part of the class time should be reserved for students to engage inclass teaching. Therefore, it is a common phenomenon in English class, except forlecturing, teachers always interspersed with games, role-playing, group cooperation andother forms of teaching activities to enliven the classroom engagement. But a lively classdoes not equate to effective teaching, and some teachers interpret student engagement asmerely answering questions. The reason for this is that they do not think deeply aboutwhat activities exist in the student engagement besides answering questions. In addition,they ignore whether classroom instruction promotes students’ cognitive and emotionaldevelopment. However, these factors are all important contents that we cannot ignorewhen we investigate students’ engagement in English classroom.
1.2 Purpose of the Study
Due to the low effectiveness of high school English classroom engagement and theproposal of “effective teaching”, the author attempts to investigate and analyze the overallsituation of students’ engagement in high school English classroom teaching in order toimprove the effectiveness of teaching. On this basis, we can get some pedagogicimplications to improve students’ engagement in English class. To this end, this study tryto solve the following questions: (1) What is the overall situation of seniorhigh school students’ engagement in English classroom? (2) What are thedifferences of engagement among students with different genders and languageproficiency in English class? (3) What are the causes for influencing high schoolstudents’ engagement in classroom?
Chapter 2 Literature Review
2.1 Description of Students’ Engagement
This part first describes the definition and dimensions of student engagement, andthen introduces the two theoretical basis of this study. At last, it combs the relevantliterature about students’ engagement at home and abroad.
2.1.1 Definitions of Students‘Engagement
Early studies often assess students’ engagement based on the amount of time theyspend studying. With the development of psychology, researches pay more and morefocus to the psychological aspect of student engagement.
This research is based on Kong Qiping’s concept of “student engagement” and itstheoretical basis. Students’ engagement is regarded as a combination of behaviorengagement, cognitive engagement and emotional engagement. The students’ engagementmentioned in this study refers to the students’ input in the three aspects of behavior,cognition and emotion in the process of English classroom teaching.
2.2 Theoretical Foundations of the Study
There are mainly two kinds of theoretical foundations of this study: constructivismand humanism. Both of these two theories emphasize the importance of students’engagement in learning, and both put forward the concept that teaching process shouldstimulate the initiative, creativity and potential of learning to achieve effective teaching.Therefore, these two theories have guiding significance to the research of studentengagement.
Piaget (1981) proposed that children construct knowledge through their interactionwith their surroundings, and gradually construct knowledge about the external world, soas to develop and promote their own cognitive structure. R. J. Sternberg (2003) proposedthat individual learner’s active engagement plays a key role in the construction ofcognitive structure. Since the individual’s cognitive development is closely related to thelearning process, that is to say, it can better explain the cognitive laws of learners in theprocess of learning and concept formation. Constructivism holds that knowledge is nottaught to students through teachers, but through students’ active thinking and activeconstruction. After teaching students certain knowledge and learning methods throughexamples, teachers should stimulate students’ interest and enthusiasm in active learning,and stimulate students’ desire for active learning to the maximum extent.
“Construct” reveals the individual’s own dynamic role, but also highlights theindividual’s subjectivity and enthusiasm in the process of learning. The acquisition of anyknowledge, skill and wisdom ultimately cannot be separated from the positive and activerole of learners. This is the internal cause of learning, but also the decisive factor. (WangYongfeng, 2007). English language learning is aimed to use, which is a process in whichlearners select, assimilate and adapt input information, make new input materials interactwith existing information, reconstruct and form new structure. Thus, English classroomteaching needs students to engage actively in order to produce effective teaching. (WangYimin, 2003)
Chapter 3 Research Design.....................................15
3.1 Research Questions.......................... 15
Chapter 4 Results and Discussion.................................19
4.1 Overall Situation of Students’ English Classroom Engagement...........................19
4.1.1 Behavioral Engagement................................ 19
4.1.2 Cognitive Engagement.................................... 22
Chapter 5 Conclusion...............................................54
5.1 Major Findings of the Study.....................................54
5.2 Pedagogic Implications....................................... 55
Chapter 4 Results and Discussion
4.1 Overall Situation of Students’ English Classroom Engagement
In the Likert scale of five scales, the average value above 3.0 indicates the high level,the average value between 2.5 and 3.0 indicates the medium level, and the average valuebelow 2.5 indicates the low level.
Table 4-1 presents an overall situation of students’ English classroom engagement.The mean values of behavioral engagement, cognitive engagement and emotionalengagement are 3.2017, 3.2888 and 3.2689, which shows that the overall situation ofEnglish classroom engagement of students in Liuzhou Nationality High School is positive.Among them, the highest mean value of cognitive engagement shows that senior highschool students’ cognitive development is relatively mature, and they will mobilizedifferent strategies to study in English class. The mean value of behavioral engagementranks the lowest.
Chapter 5 Conclusion
5.1 Major Findings of the Study
There are three major findings of this study.
First, the investigation shows that the overall situation of students’ engagement inEnglish classroom is positive, but students’ engagement in English class tends to becognitive engagement and emotional engagement, but behavioral engagement is at alower level. Senior high school students tend to use more high-level strategy in Englishclass. The results show that most senior high school students use high-level strategy,followed by low-level strategy and rely less on others in English class. The emotionalengagement of high school students in English class is generally positive.
Second, there are no significant differences between female students and malestudents except for the “sense of anxiety”. Female students are probably more anxiety inEnglish class. But there are great significant differences between high score group andlow score group. The high-score group students are more attentive and dedicated in class.There are significant differences in the variables of high-level strategy and dependencystrategy, as well as the sense of fun, anxiety and tiredness under emotional engagement.
Third, there are many causes that influence senior high school students’ engagementin English classroom teaching. The author makes an investigation and analysis from threeaspects: student’ level, teacher’s level and environmental level, the results are as follows:(1) students’ level: character, language proficiency, interest and confidence; (2) teacher’slevel: teaching skills, teaching methods and class design and (3) environmental level:subjective environment, including classroom atmosphere, the relationship between theteacher and students, the relationship among classmates.