Teachers' Conceptions of Engagement in Learning: A Phenomenographic Study

Ms Lois Irvin
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Current educational curriculum and policy reforms in Queensland, Australia have highlighted the need for teachers to engage students in learning. As classroom teachers are the practitioners who will be implementing these policy documents, it is fruitful to understand the assumptions about engagement that underpin their pedagogies as they put these reforms into practice. This study set out to answer the question: What are the qualitatively different ways which Education Queensland secondary school English teachers construct and measure student engagement in their own teaching practice?

The phenomenographic approach is suited to researching the answer to this question as it sets out to map the "qualitatively different ways in which people experience, conceptualize, perceive and understand various aspects of, and phenomena in, the world around them," (Marton 1986). Twenty Central Queensland secondary school English teachers participated in semi structured phenomenographic interviews based on a series of seven open ended questions about student engagement in learning. The data were used to create categories of description and then were hierarchically ordered to form the outcome space of this study. This paper reports on the outcome space from this phenomenographic study.

Keywords: Engagement, Learning, Teaching, Phenomenography
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Using Theories of Awareness to Strengthen Phenomenographic Analysis

Ms Lois Irvin

PhD student, Faculty of Education and Creative Arts, Central Queensland University

Lois Irvin is a 3rd year PhD student at Central Queensland University under the supervision of Dr Colin Lankshear and Professor Richard Smith. Her undergraduate training was completed at the University of Arizona where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education and a Bachelor of Arts of Literature and Composition with Honours. Professionally, she has taught high school and middle school English, History and Social Science in both Australia and the United States. Her current research interests include engagement, teaching, learning, literacy and policy implementation.

Ref: L05P0589