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Classroom contexts and children’s involvement in their learning

This project formed part of doctoral research conducted by Soizic Le Courtois. 

This project aimed to understand the underlying factors in young children’s engagement (or involvement) during classroom activities. We explored the association between engagement, child characteristics and classroom context in children in the first two years of primary school (4-6 year olds) in England.

Using the Leuven Scale for Involvement, we observed 65 children in 13 classrooms across 8 schools in the East of England. The total number of observations was 1669, with a range of 17-30 observations per child.

Our results showed that classroom context explained more variation than child characteristics, suggesting that ‘in the moment’ classroom factors are more important in determining children’s engagement than characteristics of the children themselves. In other words, engagement seemed to be more of a ‘state’ than a ‘trait’. Our analyses also showed that classrooms that offered more agency for the children (where children have opportunities to freely choose their activities or where they are working closely with teachers) are associated with greater levels of engagement.

Play Piece

For more information, you can read Soizic’s short blog on motivation and playful learning in the classroom.