Understanding Engagement in Science Education: The Psychological and the Social

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Book Chapter

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Traditionally, engagement as a feature of student action has been the purview of psychologists seeking to identify the individual variables that come together to constitute student engagement. Recognition of the complexity of the concept has led to multidimensional models that include behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement. Data for these studies typically are culled from surveys of individual students. However, such approaches have two limitations – there is no place for examining collective engagement and the role of classroom interactions for engendering engagement is not sufficiently emphasized. In this chapter, we explore sociological approaches that can offer the possibility for developing a richer understanding of student engagement. We examine new research in which engagement is posited as emerging from collectively generated emotions, which then have implications for both cognition and behavior.

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