Newport CELT Journal 2008, volume 1, pp.

45-51 ISSN 1758-9258 (print) ISSN 1758-9266 (online) http://celt.newport.ac.uk/journal

Rules of engagement: how students engage with their studies.
Gary M. Pritchard
School of Art, Media and Design, University of Wales, Newport, Caerleon Campus, Lodge Road, Caerleon, Newport, South Wales, NP18 3QT. Email: gary.pritchard@newport.ac.uk

Summary
Academic engagement has become a popular research subject across the education sector, and with some justification. With significant issues ranging from the attempt to engage short attention-span school children, to responding to the increasingly 'customer' orientated culture of university campuses, it has attracted the interest of a number of researchers. It is also drawing serious attention from governments with its promise to reveal in more detail how learning occurs and how successful education is in facilitating such learning. This can scope from the psychological state of the learner, to the critical relationship between teacher and learner, and the learning environment itself. This paper reports on a grounded theory study that sought an experiential description and commentary from undergraduate art students on what it is like to be engaged in a teaching environment, using Fredericks et al. (2004, Review of Educational Research, 74 (1), pp. 59-109) three types of engagement (behaviour, emotion and cognition) as its framework. The results demonstrate that using these engagement definitions offers a useful framework to determine broader engagement themes in college students. It also concluded that student inclass behavioural patterns that are traditionally associated with engagement (positive body language, interaction, seat position, etc) can in fact fail to account for complex individual schemas of student engagement both in and out of class. Keywords: Academic Engagement, Motivation, Interaction

Introduction
Academic engagement has become a popular research subject across the education sector, and with some justification. With significant issues ranging from the attempt to engage short attention-span school children, to responding to the increasingly 'customer' orientated culture of university campuses, it has attracted the interest of a number of researchers. While relatively young in its conception, academic engagement is drawing serious attention from governments too with its promise to reveal in more detail how learning occurs and how successful education is in facilitating such learning. This can scope from the psychological state of the learner, to the critical relationship between teacher and learner, and the learning environment itself. The context for crucial research in the American Higher Education context has come since the emergence of the US National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in 2000. This significant database has formed the basis of a wide range of empirical quantitative studies. Pace (1984) and Astin (1984, 1993) and Chickering and Gamson (1987) developed key theories of student involvement based of the NSSE context and largely focussed on measuring how student behaviours can be viewed as indicators of engagement in the learning process. This present grounded theory study aims to seek an experiential description and commentary from undergraduate art students on what it is like to be 45

engaged in a teaching environment. Conversely, it also sought to gain insight into what factors may contribute to disengagement in the same context. The Emerging Subject of Academic Engagement One of the hurdles that this emerging field is attempting to clear is a definition of academic engagement. As Fredericks et al. (2004) state, ‘because there has been considerable research on how students behave, feel and think, the attempt to conceptualise and examine portions of the literature under the label “engagement” is potentially problematic.’ (p.2). They go on to call for an improvement in making clearer workable concepts and definitions of the subject in order to avoid a burdensome blurring of models. They argue for engagement to be defined as a ‘meta’ construct uniting three specific components relating to students: behaviour, emotion and cognition. Guthrie et al. (1999) and Guthrie and Wigfield (2000) go further in insisting that the term engagement should only be defined when multiple components are present. It should also be stated that much of the significant research in this field is focussed on compulsory educational contexts, although increasingly college and university perspectives are becoming more prevalent. Some of the most comprehensive work endeavouring to draw together the current research on the subject has been commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and
© 2008 University of Wales, Newport

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Training (DEST). Here, Russell et al. (2004) acknowledge engagement is a potentially amorphous subject influenced by factors such as socio-economic status, parental education and occupational status, ethnicity, student age and gender, but are more concerned to focus on the educational context. They highlight motivation as a considerably important feature in engendering engagement in school-age pupils, and define motivation as ‘energy and direction’ (p.5) in promoting engaged learning. They argue that motivation is triggered when certain psychological mechanisms are present such as value components (intentions, plans, goals, interests and purposes), expectancy of success components (self efficacy), and affective components (feelings of self-worth and achievement anxiety). They also argue that students who develop what they call 'elaboration strategies', or the ability to transfer historic successful learning abilities into new contexts, are likely achieve significant success in their learning. They state ‘broadly speaking, students who aim to understand and master tasks use elaboration strategies (e.g. relating new learning to past learning) and achieve well, while students aiming to impress others with good results favour more superficial memorisation strategies (e.g. rote learning) and achieve less well’ (Russell et al., 2004 p. 9). It is easy to see why such a claim is taken seriously when so much compulsory education is grounded in a rote learning philosophy. Similarly, Meece and Holt (1993) and Ainley (1993) make a correlation between engagement and active learning strategies as a predictor of good performance in both primary and secondary students. The focus here includes careful consideration of how tasks are designed and implemented in order to create the optimum learning engagement by the student. Csikszentmihalyi's (1990) concept of 'flow' experiences in students describes learning where excellence is achieved without conscious thought, but also crucially where the tasks involved stretch at the edge of a student's ability but not beyond their capacity to achieve. Student behavioural patterns are also explored in Ryan and Deci's (2000) self-determination theory, where they cite intrinsic motivation as a critical component in motivating students towards higher performance outcomes. Newmann et al. (1992) move the debate on from specifics about the tasks and behaviours involved, towards the culture of relationships and the culture of learning in educational contexts. Russell et al. (2004) identify four key factors in encouraging student engagement and learning: the quality of teacher professional learning, the nature of the school culture, the extent of parent involvement, and the way the school is organised for learning. Hu and Kuh (2002) drew upon a large sample of university undergraduate students (50,883) in their study exploring the impact of both student and institutional characteristic influences on engagement. They emphasise the strategic linking of academic tasks to the students' real lives (jobs, 46

family, peers, etc) as key to engendering an engagement culture. They also cite that institutions whose professionals (faculty, administrators and student affairs) promote and sustain a culture of high standards of scholarly performance expectations (both in and outside the classroom) are most likely to see such goals met. They argue that this is not always the norm, and that in fact students often expect to be intellectually stretched more than they actually are. They state ‘no wonder that students perceptions of institutional environments may not be congruent with the amount of effort required to succeed in college’ (Hu and Kuh, 2002 p. 571). While going on to conclude similarly to Russell et al. (2004) that contextual factors (socio-economic status, parental education and occupational status, ethnicity, student age and gender) have a significant impact on engagement at university, it is in changing perceptions of the institutional environment that has most potential in shifting student attitudes. Tagg (2003) also challenges the academy to develop and sustain strategies that encourage the 'deep learning' that occurs as a consequence of authentic student academic engagement. In another extensive study, Fredericks et al. (2004) review existing literature, definitions and measurement mechanisms relating to engagement. While acknowledging and documenting most of the themes already covered above, they usefully summarise key factors in facilitating high student engagement as having supportive teachers and peers, challenging and authentic academic tasks, opportunities for choice and clear structures. They also welcome what could now be seen as the widely accepted three types of engagement (behaviour, emotion and cognition), although they conclude that there is much work to be done in developing meaningful and deeper interpretations of these categories. They argue that clearer distinctions between the definitions need to be made, and also research into how each combine and interact with each other. They also call for more intensive qualitative studies to offer up ‘thick descriptions of classroom contexts’ which forms the basis of this researcher's particular study. Statement of Researcher's Paradigmatic Location and Biases As the interviewer I had initiated the procedure as a short study linked to my role as Associate Dean (Learning & Teaching) at the School of Art, Media and Design (University of Wales, Newport) where the interviews took place. My relationship with the students was formal in that none had been taught by me during their studies. My own positive bias towards encouraging a culture of high engagement is acknowledged, and forms a motivation to enquire into the student experience. My previous experience of structured interviews was mostly confined to previous studies based around themes of personal identity where I used interviews and focus groups as part of a series of ethnographic studies. I also had experience as

Rules of Engagement

an interviewer within the context of my role as a journalist between 1991 and 1999. Field notes gathered throughout this process revealed a somewhat duplicitous personal motivation. As an academic and a teacher I have held stereotypical notions of disengaged student behaviour (sitting at the back, not taking notes, looking disinterested, etc), but as a returning student to doctoral study I have found that some of these behaviours have become viewed as limited. For example, I prefer to sit at the back of a class in order to be able to appreciate any discussion-based aspect, but I still consider myself an engaged student. Also, anecdotal evidence from peers suggests that some students need to digest and contemplate the classbased content before they are ready to fully engage in discourse - a practice that would historically have been perceived as disengaged by this researcher. My personality type would also reveal a bias towards more vocal and excitable contributions in class - typical behaviour when engaged in a classroom context. As a white middle-class manager in Higher Education, it should also be noted that the researcher has a relatively narrow personal classroom-based experience profile when compared to the diverse student cohorts that populate Newport campus.

Method
Because the purpose of the study was to seek an experiential description from students on what it is like to be engaged in a teaching environment, a grounded theory methodology was chosen. A grounded theory approach seeks to ascertain a theory or identifiable construct of phenomena that relates to a particular context grounded in the experience and perceptions of the participants. The intent is also to generate or discover a theory or abstract framework of phenomenon that relates to a particular situation grounded in the perceptions and experience of the participants (Creswell, 1998; Strauss and Corbin, 1998). Conversely, it also sought to gain insight into what factors may contribute to disengagement in the same context. Procedures The interview sample was drawn using purposeful random sampling from the second year cohort of the School of Art, Media and Design at the University of Wales, Newport. Year 2 (Level 5) students were chosen as they had already completed nearly two thirds of their undergraduate study and as such were in a position to legitimately comment on their learning experience so far. The School administrator was instructed to randomly select individuals from the register and then approach them to see if the could attend one session within a three day period ( 23rd-26th May 2006). They were informed of the general theme of the research but not given any specific details. Fourteen participants were timetabled for interview with 12 of them turning

up as requested. The two other participants cancelled appointments due to 'personal reasons'. The 12 participants in this study consisted of three students from BA (Hons) Documentary Film (female), four from Fashion (one male, three female), four from Graphics (all female) and one male from Documentary Photography. Seven of the students were residents of the campus and five were commuters. The sample members were aged between 18 and 24. All were white European residents from extra-local communities (eight from England, two from Wales, one from Ireland and one from Sweden). All students were from state school backgrounds, and had acquired General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and A-Level/Foundation standard qualifications (or equivalent) to access their courses. Seven members of the group (two from Fashion and one from Graphics, three from Film and one from Documentary Photography) held part-time work positions during term time to support them financially. Students are referred to here as Documentary Film (DF1-3, Fashion (F1-4), Graphics (G14) and Documentary Photography (DP). The room for the interviews was carefully chosen for its light airy and informal atmosphere. The participants sat opposite the researcher with an unobtrusive small microphone on a table to record sound. When the students arrived, they were invited to sit at the table, sound levels were checked followed by a basic explanation of why the interview was being recorded. The interviewees then read and signed the consent form, which were collected on completion. Before launching into the interview questions proper, the interviewees were asked to state their name, the course they were on and why they had chosen their particular undergraduate course as an icebreaker type warm-up discussion. The semi-structured interviews consisted of between 35 and 48-minute discussions, based around the pre-prepared questions (see Appendix). The participants were invited to engage interactively throughout, and participated in questionled dialogue. The researcher was careful to make sure that the interviewees did not divert too far from the theme. After the session the individuals were thanked and dismissed. This was then followed by a ten-minute debrief with the researcher highlighting initial observations relating to the key initial themes to emerge from the session. A check was also made that the technical equipment had operated efficiently and tapes then sent for transcription. Interview Protocols The sample group were asked questions (see Appendix) and were selected because they were mostly openended but also focused to solicit responses and were written to specifically target each component of the research question. The purpose was to understand in greater depth the academic engagement experiences of students in class-based contexts, and how those experiences affected their view of learning. Questions one and two were designed to include an exploration 47

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of what factors encouraged their engagement and to identify what factors contributed (if at all) to their disengagement. For some of the questions, follow-up 'further probing' supplementary questions were also included so as to further probe these areas and elicit a more specific, detailed response from the interviewee. Trustworthiness The trustworthiness and credibility of the study (Strauss and Corbin, 1998) was attempted with a number of procedures. Before conducting the interviews, the questions were reviewed by a small group of colleagues to obtain their feedback on the content and clarity of the questions. Following small adjustments the questions were finalised and used during audiorecorded interviews. Participants engaged in member checking by reviewing transcripts of the interviews, leading to small adjustments. Feedback on the evolving theory and interpretations of the data from colleagues to understand its meaning. By definition, grounded theory does not claim universal application but seeks thick descriptions via the 'voices' of the participants.

Data analysis
Open, axial and selective coding systems were used to analyse the data into 15 abstract themes. The engagement meta-definitions of Fredericks et al. (2004) were then used to frame the themes (cognitive, behavioural and emotional) and this formed the basis of the findings. Findings and Emerging Theory As engagement has a potentially multifaceted capacity for a wide range of possible outcomes, using Fredericks et al. (2004) engagement definitions offers a useful framework. As such, the themes emerging from the students accurately mapped onto these definitions in a relatively cohesive way. The students acknowledged engagement required a behavioural expectation on their behalf, which when accompanied by an emotional connection to teachers, peers and environment had the potential to predict engagement. Students also used strategic cognitive tactics of engagement in opting in and out of perceived essential classroom activities and teaching delivery. Engagement Influences Expected behavioural patterns (outlined by the university) seemed to be acknowledged by the students as forming part of a contractual agreement that is familiar in most higher education contexts. Taking and writing up notes formed a useful link in not only solidifying content but also making what they saw a key connection with the wider subject or personal learning. Student G1 stated ‘I take a lot of notes and I can tell whether I have been engaged or not, … when I go back and look at my notes afterwards I always check that they are legible to me’. This legibility also seemed 48

to form wider correlations even when the lecture content was seen to stray outside the boundaries of subject-specific contexts. The same student was emphatic that a lecture on philosophy, although not subject specific to her, became an engaging learning experience ‘… we came out of that consciousness lecture … and we sat there and that was all we talked about and that really showed how engaged we were with it’. This also highlights that engagement can, and ideally is, carried beyond the classroom context. All students talked enthusiastically about conversations and considerations once they had left the classroom. Here student F2 highlights how she engages in a postmortem of an engaging class and then seeks to consolidate her experience by borrowing material from peers to take this on ‘I'd say also afterwards, kind of speaking to people after the class as well, and even going to the teacher after class and saying “can I borrow a film your watching?” or you know kind of continuing on the learning levels than just stopping it there’. All students confirmed familiar personal emotional, cognitive and behavioural characteristics as crucial in ensuring academic engagement. These included passion for the subject, enthusiasm, determination, drive and self-motivation. As student F3 stated ‘enthusiasm is the thing that keeps you going’ and G2 confirmed in her assessment of the difference between the engaged peers and others, stating ‘you can actually tell by the people who don't come to lessons and those who do’. Although the sample group stated high levels of personal engagement qualities as crucial for them, they were also quick to define particular teacher qualities and triggers to positive engagement. As F3 stated ‘this woman just inspired us with her enthusiasm and her passion for this topic … her enthusiasm for the subject attracted us to follow it and try to understand why she loved it so much’. Conversely this also translated across into perceived negative teacher personal characteristics, which the students were clear in explaining how this often transmuted into opposite engagement patterns e.g. ‘I think when a teacher has a monotone voice … and the person seems really unenthusiastic as they're teaching that's me bored completely’ (F1). Relationships with faculty, was also cited as a positive influence on the learner. This ranged from simply knowing student's names to deeper connections initiated by the teaching staff. As student F3 stated ‘if people feel that they are being cared about individually, they immediately just become engaged I believe’. This also translated across to peer relations too, with useful interaction between subject matter and peer relationship cited as key. As G2 stated ‘whereas I can talk to people here about it and we can talk for hours and hours and have a conversation about it. And it's much more an intense conversation about it because they have something to say back’. Frustration with what could be perceived as inaccurate reading of student engagement behaviours

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by faculty was also evident amongst the responses. Certain behavioural traits that fall outside traditional engagement norms emerged from the group. Three of the respondents (G2, F1, F3 and DP) described feeling pressure to behave in class in ways that made them feel uncomfortable or inauthentic. As DP says ‘I like to take away the ideas that spark me and think them out after class, but always feel like I am being judged for not speaking up in class’. G2 also predicted ‘I would bet that those who always sit at the front or speak up or ask questions are the ones who are praised the most. It's as if you can only be seen as [being] into it if you are one of the gobby ones’. These students perceive that those who are less obviously demonstrative in their engagement in class are penalised compared with their more physically demonstrative colleagues. As student F1 states ‘my teacher pulled me up for not trying hard enough, which was totally out of order as I had read more stuff than anything I'd ever bothered with. Just 'cause I wasn't jumping up and down like her favourites meant that I wasn't bothered - that is so unfair. I know plenty of guys in class who know how to play the game, and the teachers haven't got a clue’. It would be useful to explore the span of perceived engaged student behaviour by faculty to see if such a perception is well founded. Whatever these may be however, less demonstrative students certainly felt penalised by what they viewed as reductive (or inaccurate) value judgements by their teachers. Another theme to emerge from several of the participants was in-class strategies or behavioural patterns that students employed. Six students (G2 and G3, F1, F3, F4 and DP) who described themselves as 'highly engaged' or 'engaged' learners spoke of in-class tactics or engagement-inducing behaviours that lead to their actual engagement. G3 is typical when she states ‘sometimes I have to get myself going … like note taking or really concentrating before I get into it’. F1 similarly suggested ‘I know that if I really listen and hang onto every word, then eventually I will get excited or interested - well most times anyway [laughs]’. This could be viewed as an intriguing pattern. These students could be perceived as displaying conventional patterns of in-class engaged behaviours, when in fact (initially at least) they are employing such learned patterns of behaviour in order to induce their actual engagement. The interactive nature of class-based activities was also seen as a generator of student engagement. This could mean dialectic pedagogic strategies employed by the faculty member, right through to opportunities to ask questions and interact with class participants. As G1 enthusiastically stated ‘it was a lot more engaging because you were watching what everyone was doing and there was no repetitiveness of it was keeping it spontaneous keeping people going seeing what different people did and seeing how they reacted’. Notions of intense and deep engagement mirrored a flow pattern as expressed by Csikszentmihalyi (1990), and all students experienced periods of high 49

engagement with their assignments and subject work. This is exemplified by both the Film and Graphics students who stated ’and so at that point I just loose track of time, time doesn't bother me, because often when your working or something, you'll check your phone to see if you have got a message, check the time or that kind of thing, you are just unaware of anything because you're having such a good time’ (G2), ‘I lost total time and I wanted to stay there’ (F3). The classroom environment was predictably cited an influential factor in their engagement too, although this seemed to be a more negligible if frustrating element for all the students and was highlighted by student G4 who said ‘we have theory lessons … where it is all dingy and dark and really uncomfortable’. An intriguing outlier in the interview sessions that related to how students view faculty, is what could be determined as a sensuality theme. Two students used graphic and emotive language in describing faculty who had a significant impact upon them. Student F1 stated ‘and then [the teacher] got up and within the first, I don't know, even before he spoke I could tell this was going to be amazing. The way he carried himself‘. The fashion student seemed even more impressed with his new teacher, stating ‘physically, my eyes couldn't get of the woman and my body language was very attracted to her’. This could form the basis of an intriguing study, not necessarily in an overtly sexuality context, but certainly in questioning how complex emotional investment by the learner in the teacher elicits a potentially disproportionate visceral engagement.

Conclusions
This grounded theory demonstrates that using Fredericks et al. (2004) engagement definitions (cognitive, behavioural and emotional), offers a useful framework to determine broader engagement themes in Higher Education students. Patterns of engagement by the student sample mapped extensively onto these definitions, and offered a useful comparative application. These patterns however are often complex and potentially misleading in their interpretation. This study shows how in-class behavioural patterns traditionally associated with engagement (positive body language, interaction, seat position, etc) can in fact fail to account for complex individual schemas of student engagement both in and out of class. Also, those traditional behavioural patterns may in fact be employed as a device by students to induce actual engagement or to feign or mimic engagement to illicit favourable teacher perceptions. Limitations and Implications This theory offers a limited basis to further explore how academic engagement in college students operates within certain contextual frameworks and behavioural patterns. It should be recognised however, that this was a relatively small sample of students, and the study was

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conducted in an art school environment. As such broader transferability claims should considered as having potential but more comprehensive claims should be avoided. Reliability should also be viewed as limited as follow-up reliability strategies were not conducted due to time pressures on the study. Further opportunities for study are numerous and potentially stimulating. For example, notions of how 'growth mindsets' (Dweck, 2006) impact on student engagement would be revealing, as would possible levels of engagement such as utilitarian learning verses what could be termed revelational learning or learning epiphanies (Pritchard, 2008). The field could benefit significantly from such investigation and can be viewed as worthy of investment. REFERENCES
ASTIN, A. W. 1984. Student involvement: a developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25, pp. 297-308. ASTIN, A. W. 1993. What matters in college? Four critical years revisited. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. AINLEY, M. 1993. Styles of engagement with learning: multidimensional assessment of their relationship with strategy use and school achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85 (3), pp. 395-405. CHICKERING, A. W., GAMSON, Z. F. 1987. Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. American Association of Higher Education Bulletin, 39 (7), pp. 3-7. CRESWELL, J. W. 1998. Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. CSIKSZENTMIHALYI, M. 1990. Flow: the psychology of optimal experience. New York: HarperCollins. DWECK, C. S. 2006. Mindset: the new psychology of success. New York: Random House. FREDERICKS, J. A., BLUMENFELD, P. C., PARIS, A. H. 2004. School engagement: potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74 (1), pp. 59-109. GUTHRIE, J. T., WIGFIELD, A. 2000. Engagement and motivation in reading. pp. 403-422. In: M. L. KAMIL, P. B. MOSENTHAL, P. D. PEARSON, R. BARR (eds) Handbook of reading research: Volume III. New York: Erlbaum. GUTHRIE, J. T., ANDERSON, E., ALAO, S., RINEHART, J. 1999. Influences of concept-oriented reading instruction on strategy use and conceptual learning from text. Elementary School Journal, 99 (4), pp. 343-366. HU, S., KUH, G. D. 2002. Being (dis)engaged in educationally purposeful activities: the influences of student and institutional characteristics. Research in Higher Education, 43 (5), pp. 555-575. MEECE, J. L., HOLT, K. 1993. A pattern analysis of students' achievement goals. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85 (4), pp. 582-590. NATIONAL SURVEY OF STUDENT ENGAGEMENT (NSSE) 2000. The NSSE report: national benchmarks of effective educational practice. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research and Planning. NEWMANN, F. M., WEHLAGE, G. G., LAMBORN, S. D. 1992. The significance and sources of student engagement. pp.1139. In: F. M. NEWMANN (ed.) Student engagement and achievement in American schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

PACE, C. R. 1984. Measuring the quality of college student experiences. Los Angeles: University of California, Higher Education Research Institute. PRITCHARD, G. M. 2008. A grounded theory of the factors that mediate the effect of a strengths-based educational intervention over a four-month period. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Azusa Pacific University, USA. RUSSELL, V. J., AINLEY, M., FRYDENBERG, E. 2004. Schooling issues digest: student motivation and engagement. [available at http://www.dest.gov.au/sectors/school_ education/publications_resources/schooling_issues_dig est/schooling_issues_digest_motivation_engagement.ht m (accessed 12th June 2006] RYAN, R. M., DECI, E. L. 2000. Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55 (1), pp. 68-78. STRAUSS, A., CORBIN, J. 1998. Basics of qualitative research (2nd Edition). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. TAGG, J. 2003. The learning paradigm college. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.

Appendix
Interview Protocol The purpose of conducting this interview is to understand in greater depth the learning process for college students. Please feel free to answer with the first thing that comes to mind. There are really no right or wrong answers. I am just looking for your thoughts and opinions. Tell me a little bit about yourself—your major, your class level, and why you chose to attend college here? 1. Tell me about a time when you felt really bored in a class. 2. Tell me about a time when you felt really engaged in a class. 3. What were some of the most significant differences between the two experiences? 4. What personal characteristics or attitudes do you think a student needs to have to enable him or her to really engage/connect/tune into/what is happening in the classroom? 4a. (optional) How would you describe a successful student? Could you describe the course where you felt most successful? What were your personal characteristics or behaviours that you used to become successful? Are the personal characteristics needed to be successful in class the same as the characteristics needed to really be engaged in a class? 5. Some classes we take, walk away and don’t really remember much from them. Other classes seem to make a difference in the way we think about things and really change our perspectives. Can you describe a time when you learned something that really changed you? 6. Can you describe a time for me when you were involved in a class and you completely lost track of time? 7. How does the level of difficulty or simplicity of a particular subject matter impact on your engagement?

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8. Can you give me an example of how the above has played during your time here? 9. If you were to switch roles with the lecturer, what elements would you bring to the classroom to ensure that students are engaged? 10. Think of the lecturer of lecturers who have engaged you the most – what personal characteristics do they have that encourages your engagement? 11. When you talk to your classmates after lectures, what: a) Do they compliment the lecturer on in encouraging their engagement b) Do they criticize the lecturer on in discouraging their engagement Closing statement: Is there anything else you would like to say to help me understand what really engages students in the learning process? Thank you so much for your time.

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