Page 1


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT


1st Print, 2nd Edition – English translation Authors: Robert Holst Andersen (Responsible Editor) Allan Hoffmann Jeppesen Thomas Gloy Translation: Per Juul Madsen Layout: Christina Melholt Skov Nina Schneidermann Photos: The Association of Danish Pupils ISBN:978-87-995134-8-2 EAN: 9788799513482 The Association of Danish Pupils Agerskellet 3 8920 Randers NV Phone: +45 70 22 00 33 Website: www.skoleelever.dk E-mail: dse@skoleelever.dk Copyright 2014, The Association of Danish Pupils. All rights reserved. All parts of the material can freely be reported with clear reference to the original text. Note on the translation: This is the translation from the original text: “Elevinddragelse i Undervisningen: En Vej til Øget Faglighed, Trivsel og Samfundsengagement”, published by the Association of Danish Pupils in 2014. Some dates have been changed in this translation, and only done in situations where the date mentioned in the original text has changed in the meantime. Quotations from pupils, teachers and principals in the original text have been translated as close to the original statement as possible. The original statements in Danish are in the original text, and the full interviews can be procured if necessary.


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Overview of tables

7

Overview of figures

9

Foreword 11

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Table of Contents

Summary 13 Conclusions 13 Theoretical background

14

Method of the report

15

En route to a theory on pupil engagement

15

The task in the quantitative experiment

16

1. Introduction

17

1.1 Thesis statement and relevance 18 1.2 The background for the report

22

1.3 Methodical framework and concrete research questions

23

1.4 The composition of the report

26

2. Existing knowledge on pupil engagement

29

2.1 The concept of pupil engagement 31 2.2 Which effects do pupil engagement have, and why? 2.2.1 Academic Ability

32 34

2.2.2 Democratic competencies and increased social commitment

36

2.2.3 Leadership and tolerance

37

2.3 How can pupil engagement be increased?

37

2.4 Challenges in the literature

39

3. Theoretical framework: pupil engagement as coproduction

41

3.1 Defining the concept of pupil engagement

42

3.2 Introduction to coproduction

45

3.3 Pupil engagement as coproduction

47

3.4 Coproduction on the research questions

51

3


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

3.4.1 Why does coproduction work?

51

3.4.2 What leads to coproduction?

53

4. Theses on the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement

55

4.1 Thesis 1: Strengthened motivation as a causal mechanism 58 4.2 Thesis 2: Strengthened self-confidence as a causal mechanism 59 4.3 Thesis 3: Responsiveness as a causal mechanism

61

4.4 Thesis 4: Strengthened competencies as a causal mechanism 63

5. Theses on how pupil engagement can be increased

65

5.1 Challenges in creating behavioral changes 68 5.1.1 Institutional relationships 5.1.2 Significance of the leadership

5.2 Important parameters for increased pupil engagement

68 69

69

5.3 Changing the teachers’ behavior in order to increase pupil engagement

72

5.3.1 Volition: An existent norm on pupil engagement

73

5.3.2 The need for securing priority

74

5.3.3 Competencies should be developed

74

5.3.4 Establish the right support from the leadership

75

5.4 Three theses – this is how pupil engagement can be increased

76

5.4.1 Thesis 5: Supplementary training course

76

5.4.2 Thesis 6: Follow-up and sparring

78

5.4.3 Thesis 7: The importance of support and sparring from the leadership

6. The method of the report

79

83

6.1 Nested analysis as the methodical framework for the report 85 6.1.1 The theoretical character of the research questions

88

6.1.2 The qualitative analytical method of a nested analysis

93

6.1.3 The selection of case: A central question

94

6.2 The specific research design 6.2.1 The foundation of data

4

96 96


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

6.2.3 The data collection 6.2.4 Analytical strategy

6.3 The development of the competency development course 6.3.1 The need for utilizing pedagogical theory

99 101 107

111 111

TABLE OF CONTENTS

6.2.2 Cooperation with Randers Municipality

6.3.2 The pedagogical foundation for the competency development course

112

6.3.3 Course work for teachers – and pupils

117

6.3.4 Consultant visits for teachers

120

6.3.5 Course work for principals

121

7. Analysis: This is how pupil engagement works

123

7.1 Thesis 1: Motivation as a causal mechanism 125 7.1.1 The pupils’ willingness for active participation

129

7.1.2 The pupils’ commitment to their education

131

7.1.3 Co-ownership as a catalyst

7.2 Thesis 2: Self-confidence as a causal mechanism

132

134

7.2.1 Confidence for speaking

134

7.2.2 Confidence for active participation

135

7.3 Thesis 3: Responsiveness as a causal mechanism

137

7.3.1 Useful and implementable input

138

7.3.2 Adaptation of the education

139

7.3.3 Responsiveness: A requirement for the effects of pupil engagement

140

7.4 Thesis 4: Strengthened competencies as a causal mechanism 142 7.4.1 The pupils’ ability to reflect on their own learning process

142

7.4.2 The pupils’ oral and written competencies

143

7.5 The causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement 145

8. Analysis: This is how you increase pupil engagement

147

8.1 Thesis 5: A supplementary training course can increase pupil engagement

147

8.1.1 Pupil engagement prior to the supplementary training course 149 8.1.2 The supplementary training course increases pupil engagement 150 8.1.3 Teacher-management of pupil engagement is central

154

5


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

8.1.4 Strengths in the supplementary training course – and possible improvements 8.1.4.1 Strengths in the supplementary training course

155 155

8.1.4.2 Possible improvements of the supplementary training course 157

8.2 Thesis 6: Follow-up and sparring increases the effect of the supplementary training course

160

8.2.1 Constraints for increased pupil engagement

160

8.2.2 The value of concrete feedback courses

166

8.3 Thesis 7: Support and sparring from the principal increases the effect of the supplementary training course

167

8.3.1 The importance of the principal for the work on pupil engagement 168 8.3.2 The effect of professional sparring between principals and teachers 8.3.3 The importance of the course for the principals

8.4 This is how you increase pupil engagement

9. Conclusion and putting into perspective

169 170

172

175

9.1 Thesis statements, theory and method 176 9.2 The causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement 177 9.3 Can pupil engagement be increased, and how?

179

9.4 Putting the results of the report into perspective

182

9.4.1 En route to a theory on pupil engagement

182

9.4.2 The third solution in educational-politics

184

9.4.3 Contribution to the literature on political science

188

9.4.3.1 Contribution to the literature on coproduction

188

9.4.3.2 Contribution to the literature on administration in general

190

9.4.4 The development of the supplementary training course

191

Bibliography 195 Appendix 207

6


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

CONTENT

Overview of tables Table 1.1

Page 26 + 85

Overview of the research design, research questions, and the goals for the individual parts of the complete nested analysis on pupil engagement

Table 3.1

Page 49

Comparison of co-leadership and the two types of coproduction

Table 4.1

Page 58

The four theses on the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, and the concepts under which they are known, in the literature on coproduction and pupil engagement, respectively

Table 4.2

Page 64

Complete outline of the theses and the operationalized hypotheses for the analysis of research question 1

Table 5.1

Page 80

Complete outline of the theses and the operationalized hypotheses for the analysis of research question 2

Table 6.1

Page 96

Outline of the data contribution to the analysis from the pupils, teachers and principals

Table 6.2 Page 102 Focus in the interview questions for the pupils, teachers and principals, in relation to the first research question of the report

Table 6.3 Page 103 Focus in the interview questions for the pupils, teachers and principals, in relation to the second research question of the report

7


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Table 6.4 Page 107 End-code-list for the analysis of the interviews, in relation to the research questions in the report

Table 6.5 Page 115 Outline of the structure and the content for the pupils and the teachers in the courses on pupil engagement

Table 7.1 Page 141 Outline of the results of the empirical tests of the nine hypotheses, in relation to the first research question of the report

Table 8.1 Page 148 Display: Concrete pupil engagement in the education after participation in the supplementary training course

Table 8.2 Page 154 Display: Particular strengths and challenges found in the completed supplementary training course

Table 8.3 Page 156 Display: Constraints on increased pupil engagement

Table 8.4 Page 167 Outline of the results of the empirical tests, regarding the eight hypotheses in relation to the second research question of the report

8


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

CONTENT

Overview of figures Figure 1.1

Page 22

Complete causal-link in relation to pupil engagement, including the identification of central and unclarified questions

Figure 4.1

Page 56

Identification of the focus in chapter 4 in relation to the complete causal-link: What is the causal mechanism on the effects of pupil engagement

Figure 5.1

Page 66

Identification of the focus in chapter 5 in relation to the complete causal-link: Can pupil engagement be increased, and how?

Figure 5.2

Page 72 +168

Factors affecting the level of pupil engagement

Figure 6.1

Page 87

The illustration of the causal mechanism between pupil engagement and academic ability, well-being and social commitment, respectively, as an intervening variable

Figure 6.2

Page 87

The illustration of the causal mechanism between pupil engagement and academic ability, well-being and social commitment, respectively, as the link between variables

Figure 6.3

Page 88

Rosato’s model regarding the causal connection between democracy and peace (From Beach and Brun Pedersen, 2013: 38)

Figure 6.4

Page 89

Adjusted model regarding the causal connection in the democratic peace-thesis (From Beach and Brun Pedersen, 2013: 40)

9


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Figure 6.5 Page 113 The illustration of the framework-tool dubbed the Wheel of Success, on which the competency-course for the teachers is built

Figure 7.1 Page 122 Display: The pupils’ statements on motivation as a causal mechanism

Figure 7.2 Page 122 Display: The teachers’ and the principals’ statements on motivation as a causal mechanism

Figure 7.3 Page 129 The primary part of the causal-link in pupil engagement, through its mechanisms of the effect on the independent variables

Figure 7.4 Page 137 The causal-link in pupil engagement, through its mechanisms of the effect on the independent variables, following the analysis of the first three theses

Figure 7.5 Page 142 The complete causal-link in pupil engagement, by way of its mechanisms to the effect on the independent variables

10


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

FOREWORD

Foreword The purpose of The Association of Danish Pupils is to promote the interests of Danish pupils in educational policy-making, to engage and politicize the pupils, and to further strengthen pupil democracy. It becomes a central part of everyday work in The Association of Danish Pupils, to strengthen the pupil councils in the Danish public schools, and putting pupil democracy and pupil engagement on the agenda for educational policy. The importance of these tasks are not simply by principle. We have a fervent desire to develop the school, and to secure a good school life for all pupils. For several years, it has been a core belief of ours that pupil democracy and pupil engagement are important means to that end. We find it equally important that political decisions are not solely based on gut feelings. Even though political decisions are established based on attitude and prioritizations of different standpoints, it is important that political decisions are based on an enlightened and qualified foundation, from which the consequences of different prioritizations and decisions are investigated. It is to our disappointment that the research on pupil engagement has been very limited. For that reason, we are very thankful that a vast majority in the Danish Parliament in June 2013 decided, in relation to the latest agreement on the public schools, to initiate a large trial- and research project on pupil engagement. The project was initiated as a result of the report from 2012 published by The Association of Danish Pupils, which marked the first large-scale and systematic analysis on the effects of pupil engagement. The report concludes that pupil engagement in the education, increases, not only, the pupils’ academic ability, but also their well-being and social commitment. Based on this new trial- and research project, it has become possible to conduct further research on the, otherwise, unanswered questions on pupil engagement. It is imperative for the quality of empirical analyses that they are conducted from the basis of a relevant theoretical starting point. The base of which stems from political science, through the theory of coproduction between employees of the state and the users of the public service, which is why we, similarly to the report from 2012, have chosen an approach through political science. This report never would have been possible to complete without the participation from many people. We appreciate all the help and input received in relation to the work. In this respect, we would like to send an extra thank you to principal Torben Bugge,

11


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

chief-consultant Diana L端bbert Pedersen from Randers municipality, and professor Jens Blom-Hansen from Aarhus University. It is our strong belief that this report provides a good and relevant starting point for the future work on pupil engagement in the public schools, and in the next trial- and research project, which will be implemented in the school year 2014/15. We hope you will find enjoyment in reading this report.

On behalf of The Association of Danish Pupils

Agnete Vienberg Hansen, President March 2014

12


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

SUMMARY

Summary This report concludes the first systematic analysis of these two research questions: How can pupil engagement have a positive effect on the pupils’ academic ability, well-being and social commitment? Can pupil engagement be increased, and, if so, how? These are important questions to answer. The research on pupil engagement, mostly based on international reviews and the 2012 report from The Association of Danish Pupils, has, primarily, concluded that pupil engagement has strong, positive and robust effects on an array of different performance goals set out by the schools. However, the scientific literature in this field does not encompass any systematic analyses, identifying the causal mechanisms facilitating the effects of pupil engagement. Similarly, no previous studies have been conducted studying how pupil engagement can be increased. This report, thusly, contributes to filling two holes in the literature on pupil engagement. Besides filling a scientific hole, the analyses in this report also constitute the primary part of a trial- and research project on pupil engagement, which was established in cooperation between The Association of Danish Pupils and the Danish Ministry of Education. The project is an offshoot of the new public school reform, which was concluded in June 2013, and states the following:

“Pupil engagement and pupil democracy are important factors for the future of development in the school, which is why a project on pupil engagement is being conducted in cooperation with The Association of Danish Pupils. The project can create further knowledge on the effect of involving pupils in the planning and evaluation of the education.”

(Translated by ed.)

Conclusions Based on the completed analyses, we are able to conclude the following in regards to the two research questions: Pupil engagement has a positive effect on pupils’ academic ability, well-being and social commitment, which is supported by two claims. The first and primary reason is that pupil engagement entails adaption to the education, which is based on input from the pupils, and causes the pupils to experience stronger co-ownership of the education. The co-ownership leads to pupils having increased motivation, which is a central part of the causal mechanisms associated with the effects of pupil engagement. The

13


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

secondary reason is that pupil engagement leads to a situation where the education sits better with the way in which the pupils learn, which in turn strengthens the pupils’ academic ability. We are, simultaneously, able to conclude that it is possible to increase pupil engagement by strengthening the teachers’ competencies for pupil engagement, and their prioritization of pupil engagement. A concrete way to complete this could be by developing a competency development course, which consist of a fundamental supplementary training course directed at pupils and teachers, followed by a consultant visit, and a seminar for the principals. The analysis is based on this type of competency development course, conducted in Randers municipality. The analysis shows that a supplementary training course, by itself, leads to a significant increase in pupil engagement. There is, however, a potential for increasing the effect of the supplementary training course by completing a consultant course for the teachers, alongside a seminar for principals in order to secure the support and academic sparring from the principal.

Theoretical background The analyses of the two research questions in this report are completed from a starting point based in political science, but also including relevant pedagogical theory in order to develop the competency development course conducted in Randers municipality. We define pupil engagement as “a continuous cooperation and development process between pupils and teachers, in which the pupils, based on individual competencies, are given co-ownership in their own learning process. The foundation is influence on, and active participation in, the planning, execution and evaluation of the education.” Based on this definition, pupil engagement becomes a specific type of coproduction in the school. Coproduction, a theory describing the effects of cooperation in relation to public coproduction between citizens and government employees, establishes the theoretical framework for this report. Considering that this report is the first empirical analysis of the two research questions, we are unable to find all the necessary theoretical arguments in coproduction. This has prompted us to add arguments from the existing literature on pupil engagement, as well as arguments from the additional literature on administration in political science. Based on this, we have deduced an array of general theoretical theses, all of which have operationalized and testable hypotheses for each of the two research questions, on which we have established the analysis.

14


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

SUMMARY

The method of the report Research in social science has traditionally been influenced by strong struggles between the quantitative and qualitative approach to research. Over the past few years, a stronger recognition has emerged of the fact that these two methods of research are not contrasts to each other, which entails that these methods can supplement one another, and thereby contribute to the value of the answer in regards to questions in social scientific research. This report is part of a joint research project, which takes advantage of the merit of combining different methods. This report, thusly, constitutes the qualitative section of the research project, which is the second of three sections, and is a so-called nested analysis. The report from The Association of Danish Pupils on the effects of pupil engagement constituted the quantitative section of the research project, which was the first of three sections. A quantitative experiment exploring pupil engagement in the 2014/15 school year will form the third and final section. By way of the qualitative research design, we have, through the analysis of the two research questions, sought a thorough understanding of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, and how pupil engagement can be increased, respectively. The foundation of the report is based on interviews with 20 pupils, teachers and principals. The analysis has been completed utilizing closed coding followed by process tracing.

En route to a theory on pupil engagement Based on the previous literature on pupil engagement, specifically the analysis on the effects of pupil engagement from 2012, and combined with this report, we are en route to a complete theory on pupil engagement. The theory, which is based on the empirical analyses, states the following: When pupils are engaged in planning, executing and evaluating the education, it creates the basis for strengthening their academic ability, well-being and social commitment. The primary reason behind this effect is found in the teachers’ adaption of the education, which is based on how input from the pupils strengthens the sensation of co-ownership of the education. Another reason is the found in how the adaption of the education synchronizes itself with the manner in which the pupils prefer to be taught. Three central variables are in play, which all affect the amount of pupil engagement in the education. One is the teachers’ consent to engage the students, another is the teachers’ prioritization of pupil engagement, and finally, the teachers’ competencies for engaging the pupils. Insofar as the teachers are characterized by a professional

15


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

norm regarding the importance of pupil engagement and democratic development in the public school, as is the case in Denmark, it becomes possible to increase pupil engagement by strengthening the teachers’ competencies and prioritization of pupil engagement. This can be achieved by executing a competency development course, consisting of a fundamental supplementary training course directed at pupils and teachers, a follow-up consultant visit, and a seminar directed at the principals.

The Assignment in the Quantitative Experiment Even though we are en route to a theory on pupil engagement, we have to analyze two central circumstances in order to test whether or not the theory is solid. Several studies in social science are driven by the ability to infer causality, meaning the identification of the connected causal consequences used for generalization, which challenges the conclusions by way of endogenous variables. This is also the case for this report. In other words, there is a risk that pupil engagement not only affects the academic ability, but also that academic ability affects the amount of pupil engagement. If this is the case, it strongly challenges the existing conclusions. This possible problem cannot be handled theoretically or statistically, but can only be handled by completing an experiment, in which we establish full control over the chronological order between the individual variables, which removes the risk of an endogenous problem. For this reason, the follow-up to this report, and the final section of the research project on pupil engagement, will be conducting such an experiment in the 2014/15 school year. The experiment will be a large-scale quantitative experiment, which, not only secures a strong internal validity, i.e. the fact that we are certain of the causal connection, but also secures a strong external validity, i.e. the ability to generalize the results. Even though the analysis by The Association of Danish Pupils was conducted quantitatively on a large scale, the question regarding how pupil engagement can be increased, has not previously been analyzed on a large scale. Whether or not the conclusions to the question in this report can be generalized, is the second circumstance that the third section of the research project will determine. This marks the short version of the arguments regarding the causal mechanism explaining the effects of pupil engagement, and how pupil engagement can be increased. The long version is found in the following 200 pages. We wish you a happy reading.

The Association of Danish Pupils March 2014

16


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

01

INTRODUCTION

17


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

1. Introduction 1.1 Thesis statement and relevance Engagement of the pupils when planning, executing and evaluating the education, have strong positive effects of the pupils’ academic ability, well-being and social commitment. This is the conclusion of an analysis on the effects of pupil engagement, which we conducted in 2012 (Andersen et al., 2012). The analysis is based on data from 3,475 pupils in 45 different schools, located in 13 municipalities, and marks the first systematic and quantitative analysis on the effects of pupil engagement. The results are in line with the results in an earlier, and smaller, analysis of democratic involvement by pupils (Mager and Nowak, 2012), which are surprisingly strong and robust. Based on these findings, we have established three primary considerations, which establish the starting point for this report. Primarily, analyses on the effects of pupil engagement are interesting in a political science context, considering that such analyses will contribute to the literature regarding one of the traditional questions in the study of public administration. The question is how the organization of the public service production affects the delivered service. There can be no question that organization of the public service production has an effect on the service received by the citizens, but the question is complex, and can be interpreted from many different points of view. One of the traditional points of view is found in the literature on the principal-agent problem. This section of the administration literature, concerns itself with the effect of the relationship between two or more organizations, or between a manager and employees. The Principal-agent problem is fundamental, and, thusly, takes up a significant part of the literature. The problem occurs from preference asymmetry, and information asymmetry in the relationship between principal and agent. It is, thusly, a fundamental condition in the entire public sector, having significant consequences for the delivery of public service (see, among others, Moe 1984 and Miller, 2005). Another approach to the question, regarding how organization of the public service production affects the delivery of service, is found by studying the way in which the public service is being produced. Rather than investigating the relationship between principal and agent, this approach investigates the effects that the utilized work methods have on the delivery of public service. This approach marks the starting point of analyzing the effects of pupil engagement. The basic assumption for these types of analyses is that there are differences in the effectiveness of delivering public service, and the work method is central to this effectiveness. This is the case when studying enterprising in developing countries, treatment of patients in hospitals, and educating pupils in schools.

18


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

01 INTRODUCTION

Pupil engagement is indeed a work method, or, more precisely, a specific pedagogical approach, which the teachers can implement in the education. The teachers have a great freedom in planning the education, which enables them to tackle the education in many different ways. Whether or not the pupils are engaged, varies from teacher to teacher¹, but the results indicate that that the effectiveness of the education², is affected by the amount of pupil engagement implemented by the teacher. Further analyses of pupil engagement should, aside from strengthening our knowledge on the effects of pupil engagement, also contribute to the literature on political science, which clarifies the significance of work methods in relation to the quality of the public service. Secondarily, the results indicate that there is a strong welfare potential associated with pupil engagement in the education. The statistical analysis in the report from Andersen et al., shows that pupil engagement has a positive effect on both the pupils’ academic ability and social commitment (2012: 30-31, 41). The potential for simultaneous positive effects on three different goals of performance in the public school, constitutes a significant interest for pupil engagement as a work method, especially in the contemporary education political, and social, situation. Analyses on the effects of pupil engagement sit well with the debate in school politics, which in recent decades have reached a still higher priority on the Danish political agenda. A broad political consensus exists, regarding the importance of a high level of education in the population, which is a very important prerequisite for Denmark’s ability to compete in a still growing international competitive market, helping in constituting the foundation for the continuing high level of the welfare system (see among other Regeringen, 2013: 1). The Danish pupils’ results in international comparisons of competencies in, among other things, reading, mathematics and natural sciences, seem to question whether or not it is possible to reach this objective. Time after time, the Danish pupils are surpassed by pupils from the onrushing Asian economies. Having high education political objectives, and one of the highest levels of investment in the public school (OECD, 2013: 165), the results in the international comparisons have generated massive political debate in Denmark. As a reaction to the poor results, the past decades have been marked by several implementations of reform in the Danish public schools, all of which having the purpose ¹ In this regard, it is important to note that the Primary Education Act states in §18 pt. 4 that teachers and pupils, insofar as it is possible, should cooperate on the form, method, choice of material, and goals of the work. Despite this provision, the teachers still hold the responsibility for the education, which means this paragraph must be viewed in a practical manner, in which we assume that the provision serves as a declaration of intent, rather than a claim with legal repercussions. ² When we address the effectiveness of education, we are not referring to economical effectiveness, rather the extent to which the public service (education in this instance) is effective compared to the goals set forth for the area in question (in this instance, among other things but not excluding, the pupils’ academic ability).

19


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

of strengthening the pupils’ academic ability. The right-wing government initiated the wave of reform by negotiating a new agreement on the public school in 2002, which was altered in 2005, and again in 2006 (Regeringen, 2002, 2005 and 2006). Latest was the current social democratically lead government, who continued the wave of reform with a new agreement on the public school in the summer of 2013 (Regeringen, 2013). Such a tempo in reform, initiating such vast changes of the Danish public school within a period of 11 years, has not previously been experienced. When studying the latest publicized results from OECD’s PISA-study, which most likely marks the most well-known international analysis of pupils’ competencies, which, every three years, compares 15 year-old pupils from 76 different countries in the fields of reading, mathematics and natural science, one can note that the effort has not borne fruit. The latest results from 2012 show that Danish pupils have not improved significantly since the first PISA study was conducted in 2000 (OECD, 2013: 19; OECD, 2003: 76, 100, 109). The political interest in the school area is, thusly, unabated. The welfare potential of pupil engagement is particularly interesting in a political context, because it not only shows the possibility of increasing the pupils’ academic ability, but also strengthens their well-being and social commitment. This broad potential is completely in sync with the political agreements on prioritizations in the public schools. The Danish politicians have, in the latest agreement on the public school, passed three overall goals for the public school. Aside from setting goals in relation to the pupils’ academic ability, the politicians have also set a goal diminishing the importance of social background and increasing the pupils’ well-being (Regeringen, 2013: 31). Thirdly, there are still many circumstances regarding pupil engagement, about which we know little to nothing. As has already been mentioned, research so far indicates that pupil engagement has positive effects on several different goals of performance for the school. The number of empirical studies, which systematically investigate pupil engagement, are very limited, and the report from 2012 remains the only analysis investigating pupil engagement on a large scale. In light of the existing knowledge on pupil engagement, two specific questions arise, which are essential for further research. The first question relates to the effect of pupil engagement. Analyses completed through a quantitative research design have their natural strength in analyzing the statistical correlation between the independent and dependent variables, as well as the control for third variables. However, such a research design only leaves the possibility of investigating the causal mechanism itself, which consists of the elements that connect the independent and dependent variables with each other on a theoretical level, and without any empirical tests of the arguments. Similarly, in the qualitative studies of pupil engagement, we do not find a systematic investigation of the causal mechanism.

20


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

01 INTRODUCTION

This leaves us with the conclusion in the existing literature on pupil engagement that identifies positive effects on, not only, academic ability, but also on an array of other variables, i.e. well-being and social commitment. The questions remains, why does pupil engagement have its effect? Pupil engagement can, theoretically, be considered as a certain type of coproduction. Coproduction, as a term, describes situations in which producers and users of the same public service, which in this case would mean teachers and pupils, jointly deliver input to the production of the public service (Brudney, 1983; Brudney and England, 1983; Parks et al., 1981). Studies on coproduction in the public sector have, among other things, identified a higher quality in the delivery of service (Ostron 1996; Boivard, 2007), and strengthened the citizenship (Wilson, 1981; Levine, 1984), whenever public employees coproduce with the citizens on the delivery of service. There are several examples in the literature on coproduction, providing theoretical arguments for the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. As will be argued in the following chapter 2, we are able to identify several arguments on the effects of pupil engagement in the existing literature on pupil engagement. Insofar as these theoretical arguments are not researched and empirically tested, the issue of the causal mechanism still remains. Considering that pupil engagement seems to have surprisingly strong effects on three different goals of performance, the issue becomes whether or not the causal mechanism is as central as it seems, which deserves a more thorough analysis. The second central question relates to whether or not it is possible to increase the pupil engagement. Up until the present, the literature on pupil engagement has concerned itself with pupil engagement as the independent variable. In our reading of the literature, we have been unable to identify research that considers pupil engagement as the dependent variable. If we take a step back and view coproduction in the public sector in a larger perspective, it is possible to identify literature that considers coproduction as the dependent variable, however, not a lot exist. In cases where literature on coproduction concerns itself with part of the causal-link, it is primarily focused on the citizens’ competencies, and the way in which competencies and motivation, affect how much the citizens coproduce (see among others Jakobsen, 2013; Alford, 2002). The issue regarding the possibility of increasing coproduction, by focusing on the public employees, is not considered. An analysis of the possibilities of increasing pupil engagement will, thusly, answer a central question on pupil engagement, and also contributes to developing the literature on coproduction in the public sector. An illustration of the complete causal-link from an array of, still unknown, causes for pupil engagement are demonstrated in the in the following figure 1.1. The two central follow-up questions regarding the existing literature on pupil engagement, and their placement in the complete causal-link are illustrated in the figure.

21


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Figure 1.1: Complete causal-link in relation to pupil engagement, including the identification of central and unclarified questions.

1.2 The background for the report Considering that the political goals in the educational area have, so far, been hard to fulfill; the interest for evidence-based knowledge in the school area has steadily increased over the past few years. In Denmark, this desire has, among other things, led to the establishment of a resource center for the public school under the Ministry of Education, and a research center under the Center for Strategic Research in Education at Aarhus University. The purpose of both of these centers, is to support research in evidence-based and generalizable knowledge in the school area, plus collecting already existing knowledge. In addition to the work in these centers, an array of research institutions, led by the Danish National Center for Social Research (SFI) and the Danish Institute for Local and Regional Government Research (KORA), have established several large-scaled quantitative reports on the educational area; which, among other things, were commissioned by the advisory agency of the Ministry of Education, known as the School Council³ (Skolerådet). Based on the desire for more evidence-based knowledge in the educational area, the report on the effects of pupil engagement (Andersen et al.), as of its release in the fall of 2012, invoked great political interest; particularly with the Minister of Education, Christine Antorini, who, based on the conclusions in the report, has shown great interest in pupil engagement. Concretely, this interest has facilitated the implementation of a larger trial³ In the fall of 2013, the School Council (Skolerådet) changed their name to the Council for Children’s Learning (Rådet for Børns Læring), see: http://uvm.dk/~/UVM-DK/Content/News/Udd/Folke/2013/Nov/131119-Skoleraadet-afslutter-sit-arbejde

22


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

At the initiative of the Minister of Education, the parties involved in the political accord for the new school reform, decided to initiate a project that will create more knowledge on pupil engagement in the school area. In the accord on the new public school agreement, established in June 2013 between the Government, and the Danish political parties known as Venstre, Dansk Folkeparti and Konservative, states the following:

01 INTRODUCTION

and research project, of which this report is a part. Therefore, we would like to add an observation to the background of the report.

“Pupil engagement and pupil democracy are important factors in the future of the school development. Therefore, in cooperation with the Association of Danish Pupils, a pupil engagement project will be completed, which can produce further knowledge on the effects of engaging pupils in the planning and evaluation of the education.� (The Government, 2013:16) (Translated by ed.) This political decision has been followed by an agreement on a three-year trial- and research project on pupil engagement between the Ministry of Education and the Association for Danish Pupils (mention on the agreement: uvm.dk, 2013). The purpose of the trial- and research project is to establish resilient and generalizable knowledge on pupil engagement, and to investigate whether or not it is possible to increase pupil engagement. The project is organized in three stages. The first stage is conducted by The Association of Danish Pupils during the school year 2013/14, where we develop and pilot-tests the toolset, materials and process, which will support the pupil engagement with the purpose of increasing it. In the school year 2014/15, and based on the experiences and conclusions from the first stage, The Association of Danish Pupils, in cooperation with Aarhus University, are conducting a large-scale quantitative experiment on pupil engagement in the public school. In the school year 2015/16, the final stage of the project is initiated, which consists of spreading the knowledge of the results and conclusions in the report. The report enters as the analysis and evaluation of the first stage of the trial- and research project from the school year 2013/14.

1.3 Methodical framework and concrete research questions Due to the report being a part of this larger project, an array of methodical advantages are provided, which strengthens the possibility of a substantial contribution to the

23


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

research-related knowledge on pupil engagement. The methodical literature of the social science has traditionally been influenced by strong struggles between qualitative and quantitative research (see among others King et al., 1994). In later years, a realization has emerged that most of the questions in political science can, profitably, be analyzed by both quantitative and qualitative research designs, considering that these research designs have each their own strength in research. Such a combined quantitative and qualitative research project is called a nested analysis. A nested analysis enables researchers the possibility of utilizing the strengths of quantitative analyses in identifying correlations and controlling for third variables, and the strengths of qualitative analyses identifying the causal mechanism (see among others Lieberman, 2005; Bennett and Elman, 2006). We consider the entire research progress, meaning our report from 2012 and the newly initiated trial- and research project, as one complete nested analysis on pupil engagement in the public school. The first section of the complete analysis was, thusly, the statistical test of a range of concrete hypotheses, dealing with the effects of pupil engagement. The analysis points to two strong and robust statistical connections, which provided the groundwork for the two follow-up questions regarding the causal mechanism, and how pupil engagement can be increased. These questions are introduced in section 1.1 above. The analysis was, however, challenged by one specific factor: The possibility of an endogenous effect between the independent and dependent variables (Andersen et al., 2012: 33-34). The challenge of a possible endogenous problem, originates from the potential mutual influence between the independent and the dependent variables. In other words, based on the quantitative analysis on the effects of pupil engagement, we cannot ascertain the chronological order between the variables. It is a central requirement for causality that the independent variables should be, chronologically, placed before the dependent variables; which means that it is the independent variables that affect the dependent variables. This leaves us with a challenge, which potentially challenges the conclusions of the analysis. Analyses on pupil engagement are, however, not the only analyses that face such challenges, i.e. the possibility of an endogenous problem exists in significant parts of the research on administration. From this basis, the following research in pupil engagement needs to deal with three central questions. 1) What is the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement? 2) How can pupil engagement be increased? 3) Is there an endogenous problem between pupil engagement and the dependent variables? The remaining two sections of the complete nested analysis, concerns itself with these three exact questions. This report is the second section. This report is conducted

24


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

1)

Why does pupil engagement have positive effects on the pupils’ academic ability, well-being and social commitment?

2)

Can pupil engagement be increased, and how?

01 INTRODUCTION

by utilizing a qualitative research design, which is completed in order to closely investigate the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, thereby answering the first of three central questions. The qualitative research design, simultaneously, provides the opportunity of conducting a consistent and thorough analysis, regarding whether or not it is possible to increase pupil engagement in the schools. With that, we also answer the second of the three central questions. Overall, this provides us with the following concrete research questions, which we will attempt to answer in this report:

The quantitative experiment, which will be conducted in the 2014/15 school year, will be completed as the third and final section of the complete research project. This design provides some great benefits, which are profitable when studying pupil engagement. The core of an experiment, is when researchers manipulate the independent variable. This can be done by adding stimulus to a randomly selected experimental group. Afterwards, the analysis compares the results from the experimental group with the results in an equally randomly selected control group, who have not been given any stimuli. By manipulating the independent variable, full control of the chronological order between the independent and dependent variables is secured. This creates a solid internal validity. The experimental research design is, thusly, a highly solid design, whenever the goal for the analysis is causal interference, which is why there is a large, yet unused, potential in experiments in social studies (Andersen et al., 2010: 81). The disadvantage is, however, the way in which experiments can be affected by a weak external validity, i.e. generalization, in cases based on small experiment- and control groups. By completing a quantitative experiment, one can ensure that the external validity is solid. The quantitative experiment of pupil engagement, thusly, provides us with the opportunity for handling the endogenous problem in the connection, and securing the generalization of the results. This will come into effect in relation to the analysis on the effects of pupil engagement, and in the analysis on how to increase pupil engagement. The following table 1.1 shows the complete nested analysis, focusing on the research design, research questions, and the purpose for the individual sections of the project.

25


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Table 1.1: Overview of the research design, research questions, and the goals for the individual sections of the complete nested analysis on pupil engagement.

Part of nested analysis

Research questions Research design

Does pupil engagement have an effect?

Section 1

Quantitative design with data from 3,475 pupils from 45 schools in 13 municipalities.

Result: Yes, it strengthens academic ability, well-being and social commitment.

Section 2 (this report)

Qualitative design

Section 3

Experimental design

Goal: Solving the endogenous problem, and strengthening the control for third variables.

Why does pupil engagement have its effect?

How can pupil engagement be increased?

Goal: Analyzing the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement.

Goal: Thorough analysis of how pupil engagement can be increased. Goal: Analyzing the question in a large-scale and in different intensities.

1.4 The composition of the report All in all, the report consists of nine chapters, including this introduction. We initiate chapter 2 by introducing the existing literature on pupil engagement. As will become apparent, the existing literature is rather limited in scope and quality. Nevertheless, it does provide a small overview on the results of the research in pupil engagement, and, thusly, provides us with some relevant arguments, which we can incorporate in the theoretical presentation of the two research questions in the report. This theoretical presentation is completed in chapters 3-5. We initiate the theoretical presentation in chapter 3, by establishing the theoretical starting point for the analysis. This can be completed by defining the term pupil engagement, followed by an introduction of coproduction as the theoretical framework for the report. Chapter 3, thusly, contains a discussion of how pupil engagement should

26


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

From this basis, we continue chapter 4 by determining what, from four different theses with the matching concrete hypotheses, constitutes the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. This will be started from the most significant theoretical argument regarding this mechanism from the literature on coproduction, and the literature on pupil engagement, respectively. The four theses are each a theoretical expectation to the causal mechanism, and the theses are, thusly, competitive and will, in the empirical analysis, be tested against one another.

01 INTRODUCTION

be understood as a certain type of coproduction, and, in relation to our analyses, which relevant arguments the literature on coproduction contains.

In chapter 5 we will conclude the theoretical presentation by determining three theses with matching hypotheses regarding whether or not, and how, pupil engagement can be increased. The literature on how pupil engagement can be increased, or increasing the type of coproduction which consists of pupil engagement for that matter, is even more limited than the literature on the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. Even if we can utilize coproduction as the theoretical framework, we have to initiate this theoretical presentation, by establishing a theoretical argument on the basis of different arguments from the remaining literature on administration. Only after this, will it be possible for us to determine the three theses with matching hypotheses, which we will test in the empirical analysis. Chapter 6 reviews the method of the report. Chapter 6 is the longest chapter, which is due to the fact that we are facing three large methodical assignments. We begin with a more precise introduction of nested analysis, which constitutes the methodical framework for the report. Nested analysis is a specific methodical approach, with which several methodical guidelines are connected. As will be apparent in chapter 6, this report separates itself in many ways from traditional analyses, where nested analysis form the framework. This forms our reasoning for discussing the consequences of the character of the report, and its relationship to the completion of the second, and qualitative, section of the nested analysis. From this basis, the second part of chapter 6 presents the specific research design of the report. This is where we will explore the interviews with pupils, teachers and principals, which outlines the data foundation in the analysis. Afterwards, we will address the cooperation with Randers municipality, in regards to completing a competency development course related to the analysis, the collection of the empirical data itself, and the use of open and closed coding and process tracing for the empirical analysis itself. In the third and final part of chapter 6, we will present the contents and composition of the competency development course, which we conducted in order to test whether or not it is possible to increase pupil engagement.

27


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Having the theoretical and methodical foundation in place, we will complete the analysis of the two research questions in chapter 7 and 8. Chapter 7 will test the four competing hypotheses, on the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, against each other. Two of the four theses have empirical support. The analysis shows that the effect of pupil engagement on the pupils’ motivation is a central part of this causal mechanism. It also shows, however, that the two theses with empirical support in joint ownership make up the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. Chapter 8 completes the analysis of the second research question in the report, and, thusly, investigates whether or not, and how, it is possible to increase pupil engagement. This analysis shows that it is possible to increase pupil engagement by strengthening the teachers’ competencies and prioritization of pupil engagement, which can be completed through competency development courses. However, the analysis also points out that the competency development courses can be improved in several areas. The report is completed with a conclusion on the two research questions in chapter 9. The theoretical, methodical and empirical parts of the report call for an array of follow-up examinations, which we also discuss in chapter 9. The chapter will concern itself with two major areas. One is the background of pupil engagement, and how we reach this through the analyses on the effects of pupil engagement. Another area is a central deliberation on policy, which this report facilitates. Finally, we will address the theoretical contribution of the report, in relation to the literature on coproduction, and the additional literature on administration; just as we will address the tweaking of the competency development courses, which can, advantageously, be completed before the completion of the quantitative experiment.

28


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

02 29


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

2. Existing knowledge on pupil engagement Prior to the more precise theoretical presentation of the two research questions in the following chapters, an overview of the existing knowledge on pupil engagement will be established. As we have already mentioned, the literature in this area is very limited, and varying greatly in quality. There does, however, exist some knowledge, which constitutes the starting point of the report. In our presentation, we focus on specific studies, which, in one way or another, might hold relevance to this report. The presentation will take up four sections. We initiate the presentation by clarifying the way in which pupil engagement is used in the literature. Subsequently, we will present the results and conclusions, which hold relevance to the two research questions in the report. Finally, we will summarize and present the greatest challenges found in the contemporary literature. This final part of the chapter will lead up to chapters 3, 4 and 5, where we will investigate the theoretical foundation of the report, and conduct relevant discussions leading us to the theses and hypotheses of the report. In 2012, a review of the literature on pupil engagement was published (Mager and Nowak). The review creates an overview of the conclusions found in all the existing empirical studies, which have examined pupil engagement, whether it be to a greater or lesser extent. In relation to the report, an important and relevant criteria for the research, related to the review, is that the majority of the empirical studies concern themselves with the effects of pupil engagement in different decision-making processes in the school (Ibid: 38-39). In order to properly analyze the literature in this chapter, we have investigated, not only the review, but also every referenced article. Considering that the review was published in 2012, one can expect that other relevant articles on pupil engagement could be published in succession to the review. In order to make the report satisfactory and relevant, we have ensured that the most recent published articles has been added to our presentation of the literature. A thorough search through all journals, in which the review has been published, has been conducted, in order to find articles on pupil engagement dating from 2009 and forward. We have included the articles found in this search, even though the amount is quite modest. When dealing with pupil engagement and pupil democracy, one has to note that there is a central distinction between engaging the pupils in the classrooms, and engaging the pupils in the entire school. The first type of engagement relates to engagement in teaching situations, and the other type relates to engagement in decisions for the school, which are of a more general and overall character. Even though this report has its focus on pupil engagement in the teachings, we have opted to investigate the part of the literature that deals with pupil councils, school councils and similar engaging institutions. This choice has been made due to the very limited

30


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Considering that this report deals with pupil engagement, which concerns itself with teachers’ approach to education, we find ourselves on the crossroads between political science and pedagogy. There is a limit to the amount of literature, concerning itself with the term pupil engagement in the same way as we do, which is from a political science perspective. The research in the literature, however, gives us an array of important and essential arguments, which will assist in clarifying and framing the concrete absence and challenge in contemporary literature, dealing with this area.

2.1 The concept of pupil engagement To begin with, we will introduce the way in which the concept of pupil engagement is treated and used in the literature. It is not until chapter 3 that we will discuss and define the concept of pupil engagement, which we will be using in this report.

02 EXISTING KNOWLEDGE ON PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

literature, which solely deals with pupil engagement in the teachings. The existing literature in this area is methodically limited to case studies, or smaller comparative analyses, which means that the conclusions have a weak external validity. Secondly, we believe that the general background of the report benefits, not only, the frame of understanding of the report, but also, to present the current knowledge on pupil engagement, both in and outside the classroom.

When examining the existing literature, two central terms appear, which are connected, but not equal, to the concept of pupil engagement. The two terms are student participation and student voice. The term student voice is, not surprisingly, used when dealing with the way in which pupils are heard, which is in relation to pupil councils and other political decision-making in the school (Mitra, 2004: 652-654; Fielding, 2001: 125-127; Levin, 2000: 154-156). The term is, however, also used in a much broader sense, in order to describe the interactions between teachers and pupils in the classroom, in which the pupils express praise and critique, relating to the teacher’s work, or cooperates with the teacher when tackling urgent issues such as bullying, or tackling practical tasks in, and around, the school. In some instances, student voice is also used when the teacher gives feedback on the, already, composed curriculum list (Rudduck and Fielding, 2006: 221-222; Rudduck, 2002: 125; Mitra, 2009: 311-313; Cook-Sather, 2007: 344-346; Cook-Sather, 2006: 360-364). The term is, thusly, used in a very broad sense throughout different studies. Compared to the focus of pupil engagement in the education, found in this report, it does not seem to be utilized in any direct sense, where pupils are given participation in decision-making, and are actively engaged in the planning and execution of the education. Rather, it is utilized as a type of evaluation tool in the education. The term describes a possibility for pupils to be heard in miscellaneously general, and practical, decisions in and around the classroom.

31


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The most commonly used concept in the literature is pupil engagement. The concept is even broader than student voice, and is used to describe the involvement of pupils in class- and pupil councils, but also to describe a more direct involvement of pupils in relation to the school reforms, planning of the school day, and for concrete engagement of pupils in the education (Rudduck and Fielding, 2006; Mitra, 2004; Harber and Trafford, 1999: 45-46; Wilson, 2007: 91-98). Once again, it does not seem that a complete and precise definition of the concept exists. Large sections of the literature are dealing with the concept in many different relations, without a clear limitation of what the concept entails, and what the concept of pupil engagement does not entail. An example of the lacking definitional demarcation can be found in studies, where pupil engagement is considered a process in which pupils are taught to take responsibility for their own education. This can be observed in situations where teachers actively encourage pupils to take an interest in the methods and styles of teaching, from which they gain the most. This interest is, afterwards, left inexplicit, which means the contents of the methods and the styles of teaching are unexplored (Harber and Trafford, 1999: 45-46; McPartland et al., 1970: 3-6: Schultz and Oyler, 2006: 439-455). In other parts of the literature, pupil engagement is considered as a more formalized tool of democracy, which is connected to the European declaration on Citizen Education, from 1999, which aims to involve pupils in important decisions in the school area (Hannam, 2009: 5-9; Inman, 2002: 5-13; Shier, 2001: 107-108; Tisdall et al., 2008: 343345; Torney-Purta, 2001:282-287). Throughout the remainder of the report, the concept of pupil engagement will be utilized whenever we refer to articles, where the formal term utilized is student voice or pupil participation. We have chosen this approach with the reasoning that it has not been of significant importance, whether the argument found in the book, or the article, has used the formal term of pupil engagement or student voice. This choice entails that whenever we have formulated arguments from the literature on the effects of pupil engagement, with the associated theoretical mechanisms, some of these arguments will be from studies that concern themselves with focus on pupil councils, or similar institutions. As already mentioned, these studies have, consciously, been included, considering that they assist in identifying relevant arguments for the theoretical presentation.

2.2 Which effects do pupil engagement have, and why? We would like to further explore our basic knowledge of pupil engagement, based on the existing contemporary literature. The purpose of this paragraph is to provide a clear overview of which effects the literature generally points to, when relating to pupil engagement, and which causal mechanisms lead to these effects. The paragraph is,

32


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

33


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

for reasons of clarity, structured following the dependent variables, which dominate the literature, and hold relevance for our further investigation.

2.2.1 Academic ability Even though the pupils’ academic ability would, normally, be considered as a particularly important dependent variable in the educational area, there are not many tangible studies on academic ability found in the literature, dealing with the effect of pupil engagement, in relation to academic ability. The studies are, for the most part, case studies, which, generally, do not utilize concrete measurable variables, i.e. grades or other quantitative goals for the education (e.g. scores on a test), which can support the conclusion on the positive effect on academic ability founded in pupil engagement. The general results in relation to the pupils’ academic ability, shows that pupils are, evidently, academically strengthened in different ways from engagement. The effect is especially present in relation to the pupils’ academic abilities, and abilities in problem solving. As mentioned before, these are only descriptions in general terms, and only in very few cases, measured from the pupils’ grades or other concrete goals. Instead, the majority of studies are conducted in a more qualitative way, which, through interviews with pupils and teachers, point out that pupil engagement, among other things, stimulates the pupils’ sense of responsibility in relation to the school work, which in turn strengthens their academic ability. Several studies from this field show that strengthening the sense of responsibility increases the pupils’ commitment to their school work, gives the pupils increased self-esteem, provides self-confidence in relation to own academic abilities, and strengthens their confidence in the school and the teachers. There are, thusly, an array of mechanisms being activated with the engaged pupils, which ultimately supports the pupils’ academic abilities in a positive manner (Harber and Trafford, 1999: 46-53; Gillece and Cosgrove, 2012: 235-237; Hannam, 2001: 60-64; Davies et al., 2006; Rudduck, 2002; NiCheng, 2012: 352-353). These results are also supported by other studies in this area, which, among other things, grant that pupil engagement increases self-confidence and the pupils’ motivation. Through pupil engagement, pupils experience a greater sensation of co-ownership and real authority in relation to the school day, and the completion of the education. Several of these studies go into further detail about the deep-rooted causal mechanisms related to pupil engagement. Here, they point out that when pupils actively take part in decisions in and around the school, and feel, in a real way, that they are being involved in decision-making, it strengthens, not only, the sensation of co-ownership, but also the motivation for school work in general. This results in an increase in the pupils’ academic ability (See among others: Cotmore, 2004: 57-64; Kaba, 2000: 25-32; Furtwengler, 1996: 36-39; Gilleece and Cosgrove, 2012: 235-237; Mitra 2008:

34


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The few quantitative studies also indicate that different forms of pupil engagement can have positive effects on the pupils’ academic ability. Here we find, among other things, that the pupils’ academic level, based on the grade point average of the class, is increased when pupils are engaged in different decisions in and around the classroom (Hannam, 2001:50-65, 9-10). The study in question was limited to twelve British schools, and the results seemed to have a greater significance in regards to the academically challenged pupils in the schools. Furthermore, different considerations should be made in relation to the results from the class-level, and the lacking control for relevant background-variables. In that context, it is important to note that Gilleece and Cosgrove find, in their quantitative multilevel analysis, that the increased positive effect on the pupils’ academic ability is greatest with pupils originating from homes, where the parents have a higher education (Gilleece and Cosgrove, 2012: 231, 236237). There are, thusly, no clear quantitative results in the contemporary literature, and the results seem to vary, depending on whether or not the studies have succeeded in accurately controlling for relevant background-variables.

02 EXISTING KNOWLEDGE ON PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

311-315; Hannam, 2001: 7-10, 50-65; Flutter and Rudduck, 2004: 22-28; Jensen and Simovska, 2005: 151-153; Patmor and McIntyre, 1999: 77-78).

Other studies suggest that pupil engagement is evident in forms different from merely listening to the pupils’ inputs in relation to the education. Pupils may also directly engage in cooperation between the pupils and the teacher, in developing and implementing the education, which, to a small degree, has been evident in, among other places, the United States, Canada and Great Britain (Mitra, 2004: 651-652). Studies in these parts, also based on a qualitative case study, show that the pupils’ academic ability has been improved. Pupil engagement in this area includes a structured framework for enabling pupils to be heard, and having a direct influence in relation to choice of curriculum, and method of teaching. However, these studies are not supported by quantitative determination of the pupils’ academic abilities, but have been presented from the perspective of pupils’ experience and the teachers’ observations. It should be noted that the increase in academic ability, with which the pupils have benefitted, often stems from being engaged in different processes in the education and school, which have been viewed from a greater level of abstraction. This entails that their competencies, in relation to problem-solving, have been strengthened from the increase in coresponsibility (Mitra, 2004: 653, 663-681; Oldfather, 1995: 131-136; Rudduck and Flutter, 200; McPartland et al., 1970: 19-25). The review of the literature, thusly, shows that pupil engagement is in some ways related to positive effects, when we are dealing with academic ability. This goes well with the conclusion in the 2012 report. The remaining part of the literature seems to be lacking in terms of concrete goals for academic ability, which can emphatically

35


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

support the quantitative results, regarding the fact that pupil engagement actually strengthens the pupils’ academic ability.

2.2.2 Democratic competencies and increased social commitment Not surprisingly, the pupils’ democratic competencies and social commitment take up a large part of the literature on pupil engagement. This is especially evident in the part of the literature that concerns itself with the effects of pupil engagement in relation to pupil councils, which, naturally, focuses on democracy and social commitment. The historical, as well as the theoretical, tradition for engaging pupils through formalized channels, such as pupil- and class councils, have emerged in order to strengthen the pupils’ democratic sense, as well as their capacity for generally involving themselves in society. A common trait for the conclusions in these studies, is the notion of a positive effect on the pupils’ democratic abilities and their general social commitment, which is particularly evident when pupils are involved in the decision-making in relation to pupil councils, and shaping of the education (See among others: Osberg, Pope and Galloway, 2006; Kaba, 2000; Cotmore, 2004; Mitra, 2009; Angell, 1998; Alderson, 2000; Gilleece and Cosgrove, 2012; Furtwengler, 1996; Weller, 2009; Davis et al., 2009). If we follow this line of thought by investigating the causal mechanisms, it becomes evident that pupil engagement provides the pupils with the possibility of increasing their own influence on school policy, and joint agreements in the classroom. When pupils are engaged in the democratic processes in school, it helps develop their empathic and deliberative abilities, which stems from negotiations on the ground rules and norms in the class, in the education, and in the school in general. Another development is a maturation of the pupils’ cooperative skills, and the ability to help each other in being heard through sharing information, and in the planning of different class- and school arrangements (Angell 1998: 168-172; Gilleece and Cosgrove, 2012: 228-239; Mitra, 2004: 667-679). Case studies and quantitative studies both support the argument of how democratic competencies are developed, through relaying input from the pupil councils, and giving them the opportunity to debate and negotiate. The ability to debate gives an increase in the pupils’ social commitment, which, in turn, provides greater courage for participation in political discussions. Pupil engagement, thusly, activates a sensation of co-ownership, and strengthens the pupils’ self-confidence, which can be observed in new behavioral patterns, in which the pupils openly exchange opinions and discuss (Harber and Trafford, 1999: 46-53; Gilleece and Cosgrove, 2012: 235-237; Rudduck, 2002: 127-129; Flutter and Rudduck, 2004: 22-77; Katsenou, 2013: 244-245). The mentioned studies investigate the concrete mechanisms, which are the cause for improved democratic abilities, and increased social commitment from the pupils. The theoretical investigation and

36


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

2.2.3 Leadership and tolerance In our previous report, we investigated, not only the above-mentioned two dependent variables of academic ability and social commitment, but also, whether or not pupil engagement has an effect on pupil’s well-being. In the international literature there is, generally, no emphasis on, what we in Denmark call, the pupils’ well-being. As was evident in the above-mentioned presentation, motivation, self-confidence and increased social consciousness are derivations of pupil engagement, which can be seen when the pupils’ academic ability, or social commitment, is increased. On the other hand, we do not find any studies that directly investigate the pupils’ well-being as the dependent variable. Instead, a greater extent of focus is on the effects of pupil engagement in relation to the pupils’ tolerance and their abilities for leadership (See among others: Mitra, 2004: 667-669; Osberg, Pope and Galloway, 2006: 340-343; Alderson, 2000: 130-132; Wallin, 2003: 55-59).

02 EXISTING KNOWLEDGE ON PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

background for pupil engagement, understood through the effect of different causal mechanisms leading to a strengthening of the pupils’ social commitment, is generally rather insufficient in the literature. The empirical findings in many of the studies, thusly, seem to lack an actual theoretical framework or explanation.

Among other things, these studies show how pupil engagement, in relation to the decision-making process, implementation of school reform, and other school related decisions, can strengthen the pupils’ abilities for leadership, through a sensation of being heard and having influence. In addition to this, studies show that pupil engagement strengthens relationships between teachers and pupils, and the tolerance between pupils, due to a larger part of the responsibility for the school related decision-making, being given to the pupils. In that way, pupils are coerced into dialogue and cooperation in their efforts to find possible solutions, which used to be a responsibility that solely belonged to the teachers and the schools (See among others: Osberg, Pope and Galloway, 2006: 340-343; Mitra, 2004: 667-669; Mitra, 2009: 311-315; Davies et al., 2009: 33-35).

2.3 How can pupil engagement be increased? As the above-mentioned review of literature has shown, there is an indication in the existing knowledge on pupil engagement that positive effects can be achieved if pupil engagement is increased. Specifically in relation to the second research question in this report; it becomes interesting to investigate the possibilities of increasing pupil engagement. In this paragraph we, thusly, shift the focus to the causal connection, and investigate the reasons for pupil engagement, and how pupil engagement can be increased.

37


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

This is not a question that is handled very adequately in the literature. Very few studies exist that explicitly complete analyses, in which pupil engagement is the dependent variable. This meagre part of the literature deals with the themes in very superficial terms, which, among other things, is by identifying the changed conditions in the framework, and general supplementary training for the teachers, as important variables. The studies are mostly focused on the institutional framework and limitations associated with the schools. In that regard, some studies identify an array of interesting institutional barriers, i.e. the problems of changing ingrained and traditional teacherpupil roles in relation to pupil engagement. All in all, the literature is hardly dealing with specific initiatives, which could theoretically increase pupil engagement (Ruddock and Fielding, 2006: 226-229; Fielding, 2001: 129-132; Holdsworth, 2000; Lodge, 2005; Cook-Sather, 2006 and 2007; Mitra, 2008: 318-332). Upon reviewing the literature, it is possible to find a few arguments of a theoretical nature. In some cases, these relate to how pupil engagement can, specifically, be increased in the schools (Shier, 2001; Hart 1992; Fielding, 2001; Flutter and Ruddock, 2004: 23-77; Oldfather, 1995: 131-133). The first argument in this regard, relates to the idea that the development of academic abilities is not simply an individual process, in which the teachings can be compared to a broadcast, which the pupils themselves are responsible for receiving and learning. The education should be viewed as a social constructivist process, in which the pupils are considered as co-players, who participate in the education by taking part in constructing their own educational environment. The education is, thusly, viewed as a social process, in which the direct interaction between pupils and teacher is crucial for the outcome of the teachings (Oldfather, 1995: 131-133). If we, in continuation to the social constructivist way of thinking, explore some concrete examples on how pupils can participate in constructing an educational atmosphere, which academically and socially support the pupils, and contributes to strengthening their competencies; we cannot circumvent the so-called “ladder of participation�. The model is developed in 1992 by Roger A. Hart, Professor of Environmental Psychology, but has continuously been updated and modified by Hart himself, and other academics in the field (see among others: Hart, 1992; Shier, 2001: 109-110; Hart, 2008: 19-31). In its original edition, the model was developed as a typology over different degrees of participation, in various projects in and outside of the school and the classroom. The model extends from manipulation of the pupils on the lowest step, to complete engagement on the highest step. The pupils take the initiative here, and decide, in cooperation with the teacher, which activity should be completed first (Hart, 1992: 8-15). This model, however, has reaped quite a lot of criticism, which, among other things, is due to an observation of considering it as a ranking ladder with a clear hierarchy, in which the lowest step, with manipulation, is the worst, and every step upwards signifying an improvement until the

38


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

2.4 Challenges in the literature As the above-mentioned review of the literature has shown, it becomes apparent that the literature, in several central areas, is insufficient, when trying to answer the two research questions. Based on this review of the literature, we can determine that four specific challenges exist in contemporary literature, which are important to investigate.

02 EXISTING KNOWLEDGE ON PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

pupils are liberated through complete pupil engagement on the highest step (Shier, 2001; Hart, 2008). Hart noted, in a later article that, although the model itself resembles a ladder in an upward-moving process, it should not be viewed in this manner. Hart argues, similarly to this report, that pupils can be placed in many different steps on levels of engagement, depending on the manner of education that their school, teacher and class is used to. Reaching the highest step is, as such, not an end goal. Different pupils have different requirements in regards to the level of engagement, and what might be optimal pupil engagement for some pupils, might be too much or too little for others (Hart, 2008). In addition to this, the model has been limited in order to explain what happens on the individual levels of pupil engagement, represented by the ladder. It does not research further into how the process surrounding pupil engagement should be conducted; instead, it deals with a description of how pupil engagement should be conducted, which is the proper understanding of the ladder.

Even though large parts of the literature deals with the effects of different types of pupil engagement, and the causal mechanisms behind them, the empirical studies are methodically weak, and almost exclusively deal with case studies, or comparative studies conducted in one school, or in a small number of schools. Every study, thusly, only investigates very few units, which signifies a great challenge in the generalizability of the results (see among others: Apple and Beane, 2000; Haber and Trafford, 1999; Hart, 2008; Hart, 1992; Hannam, 2001; Davies et al., 2006; Rudduck, 2002; Mitra, 2008). Case studies and comparative case studies are, naturally, not problematic as such, but the existing literature on pupil engagement shows a low external validity, alongside a lack in utilizing the strength of the qualitative research design, which is to complete a thorough analysis of pupil engagement. It should be mentioned that the biggest part of contemporary literature has a larger focus on developing the pupils’ democratic abilities, and their social commitment, by way of the pupil councils, and not directly in relation to the teachings in the classroom. In relation to pupils’ academic ability, it becomes apparent that an array of methodical challenges are present in these readings. The current readings of pupils’ academic ability seem to be uncertain and lacking. Often times, the results are reported, based on qualitative interviews with the teachers and pupils. This entails that solid and

39


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

concrete quantitative readings are lacking, which, among other things, can help secure the statistical security of the observed effect of pupil engagement. Furthermore, this can help secure that no other circumstances have an effect when the case studies conclude that pupil engagement leads to greater academic ability among the pupils. We have, already, begun to tackle this challenge, which is by way of the report from 2012. (Andersen et al.). This report, however, also had some methodical challenges, stemming from the possible endogenous problem between the independent and the dependent variables, which is a discussion we shall revisit. In addition to that, it is striking that the underlying theoretical foundation for the empirical studies is not present, or is extremely lacking. The studies are, in many cases, not explicitly founded on a theoretical argument, instead they are vague in their explanations and definitions of the concept alongside their empirical findings. Considering that the preferred research design, often times, is qualitative case studies, one might find it curious that none these studies have a specifically strong theoretical foundation, regarding the analysis on the effects of pupil engagement. Finally, the largest gap in the literature seems to be pupil engagement viewed as the dependent variable. Very few studies address concrete tools and methods for utilizing pupil engagement. The studies dealing with this side of pupil engagement, seem exclusively to present general considerations, in regards to the level of importance of the level to which pupils are engaged. These studies do not concern themselves with concrete strategies, tools and methods for increasing pupil engagement. We can, thusly, conclude that the quality of the current studies on pupil engagement, both theoretically and methodically, are at an underdeveloped stage. The studies are often imprecise and lacking, or at the very least have a limited, theoretical foundation when dealing with pupil engagement. However, the review of the existing literature provides a decent overview of the things we already know, and which gaps we will find in the literature. We will utilize this knowledge in the remaining part of this report, especially in the presentation of the theoretical foundation for answering the research question, and when we, in relation to the literature, conclude and put the contribution of the report into perspective.

40


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

03

PUPIL ENGAGEMENT AS COPRODUCTION

41


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

3. Theoretical framework: Pupil engagement as coproduction The following three chapters will be dedicated to clarifying the theoretical foundation of the report, and establishing the theoretical expectation and hypotheses, which will be tested in the empirical analysis of the research questions. Here in chapter 3, we will initiate an introduction of the overall theoretical framework, used for the analysis on both research questions in the report. This will be completed through four steps. We will begin with defining the concept of pupil engagement, as it will be utilized in the report, which enables us to secure a clear and delimited framework, for the understanding of the concept. When the definition of pupil engagement has been established, we will introduce the theory on coproduction, including a new distinction between different types of coproduction. Such a distinction is relevant for the understanding of pupil engagement as coproduction, which is the main theme in the third section of the chapter. The importance of this distinction becomes very clear, when the theory on coproduction is applied to the two research questions. This will be done in the fourth, and final, section of the chapter, in which we investigate the theoretical argument from the literature on coproduction, which becomes useful for us in the investigation of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, and possibilities for increasing pupil engagement. The theory on coproduction takes us some of the way, but also leaves several theoretical gaps to be answered. The reason being that the two questions have not previously been empirically analyzed with coproduction as the theoretical foundation. This entails that there is no current clear and adequate theoretical framework in place in the literature on coproduction, which can be utilized in the analysis. Therefore, we will apply the literature on coproduction to the extent possible, and will, in chapters 4 and 5, supplement this theory with relevant theoretical arguments from the literature on pupil engagement, alongside the additional literature on administration. By way of the combination of these arguments, it will be possible for us to conclude an array of overarching theoretical theses, with added concrete and operational hypotheses for each of the two research questions in the report.

3.1 Defining the concept of pupil engagement As the review on the existing literature on pupil engagement in chapter 2 showed us, there is no current clear and unequivocal definition of pupil engagement as a concept. The concepts of pupil participation and student voice are widely used in studies on democratic engagement of pupils in different ways within the school, but these concepts are very generally used. Pupil participation and student voice are used to describe everything from engagement of the pupils in the classrooms, to engagement

42


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

In a theoretical discussion of the definition of a concept, one will often take a starting point in already existing definitions, from which one can base an argument. This, however, is not possible, since none of the existing studies on pupil engagement have established a precise definition of the concept. The assignment of securing a clear definition becomes even more important, but also entails that we have to make sure to identify and clarify all relevant relationships in regards to the definition. We will initiate the process of dealing with the definition of the concept, by taking a step back, and investigating the origin of pupil engagement, which we then place in the context of a Danish school. In this context, it is important to emphasize that the definition of pupil engagement should not, exclusively, deal with certain relationships in a Danish context. The definition should describe an empirical phenomenon, which is generalizable in the scholastic world. Focusing on the origin and overview of the placement of the concept in the Danish school, provides us with an understanding of the context, in which the concept should be understood. Following the manner in which the context has been introduced, we will define the concept, by clarifying an array of relevant questions, not least of which, relating to the type of pupils who should be engaged, how they are engaged, and in which decisions they are engaged in establishing. Pupil democracy and engagement of pupils in decision-making regarding the education have their roots in the progressivism. Progressivism originated in the beginning of the 20th century as a pedagogical theory, which specifically focuses on education as a human and democratic process of culture (from the German concept Bildung) (Bentzon, 1989). In the Danish education-political and pedagogical debate, the ideas of progressivism have, among other things, influenced the so-called reform-pedagogy. The ideas of the human, and democratic process of, culture has placed pupil democracy and engagement of pupils on the school-political and pedagogical agenda. These ideas are still influencing the culture in the Danish schools, even though some of the ideas from reform-pedagogy have, lately, been in retreat.

03 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: PUPIL ENGAGEMENT AS COPRODUCTION

in formal democratic forums, i.e. pupil councils. Likewise, they are utilized in relation to pupil influence on anything from overarching school reforms, to what goes on in the classroom. It is, however, not advantageous to fuse these relationships together. There is a great difference between engagement of pupil councils, and engagement of pupils in the classroom. The first relationship concerns itself with the engagement of a group of elected pupils, who participate in general decision-making in the school; the other relationship concerns itself with engagement of pupil in relation to the education.

We can observe the central placement of pupil democracy, and engagement of the pupils in the public school, by noting its placement in the Act on primary and lower secondary education, not least in the preamble. Section 3 of the preamble clearly states that “The

43


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

public school should prepare pupils for participation, co-responsibility, rights and duties in a society with freedom and democracy. The school should, thusly, be characterized by intellectual liberty, equality and democracy” (translated by ed.)(Government order on the Public School). The prioritization of the democratic engagement and formation of the pupils, is further emphasized in Article 18 Section 4, which states that “In every class and every subject, teachers and pupils continuously cooperate on determining the goals, which are sought accomplished. The pupils work is organized with these goals in mind. The establishment of these work forms, methods and choice of material should, as much as it is possible, be established in cooperation between the teachers and the pupils” (translated by ed.) (Ibid). When dealing with the definition of pupil engagement, it is important to remember the different understandings between pupil democracy, which translates to influence in the school by way of representative forums i.e. pupil councils, and pupil engagement, which translates to engagement in the educational situation itself. The two types of engagement vary in the type of pupils who are being engaged, and where the pupils’ sphere of influence is established. These differences have already been discussed, and they appear to be so central that it becomes very relevant to work with two different terms. This report focuses on pupil engagement in the classroom. Entailing that we focus on every single pupil in every single class, and their level of engagement, and not just the elected members of the pupil councils. The next important point to emphasize, is that we do not consider it to be pupil engagement when pupils are merely engaged in one lesson. Pupil engagement is a process, a cooperation, between teachers and pupils, which is founded in the execution of the teachings, and, thusly, occur over a longer period of time. Therefore, it is not something which takes place in one or two specific manners. The concept describes a cooperative relationship between teachers and pupils, which has its starting point in the competencies of individual pupils and individual classes; and in a situation where pupils have influence on the entire education, from the planning, to the execution, and evaluation. These deliberations and arguments form the basis of our definition of pupil engagement, which is as follows:

Pupil engagement is a continuous co-operative and developmental process between pupils and teacher, in which pupils, based on individual competencies, obtain co-ownership of their own educational process, by way of influence on, and active participation in, the planning, execution and evaluation of the education.

It is important, in continuation to this definition, to state that there are different levels

44


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Having the definition of pupil engagement in place, we are able to continue with the introduction of the theoretical framework for the report. In the next section, we will, initially, introduce the theory on coproduction, before entering into a discussion on how pupil engagement can be understood as a certain type of coproduction.

3.2 Introduction to coproduction Coproduction is a concept that describes a situation, in which citizens and public employees deliver input for the production of public service. The theory on coproduction concerns itself with the way in which the effects of this cooperation shows on the production itself. Based on the above-mentioned definition of pupil engagement, it seems obvious to consider pupil engagement as an interesting, but overlooked, type of coproduction in the school area. The following two sections will focus on this discussion, which we will initiate with a further introduction to the concept of coproduction, and its theory. The theory on coproduction emerged in the beginning of the 1980s (Brudney, 1983; Brudney and England, 1983; Parks et al., 1981), as a reaction to observations that the quality of the public service was often at a higher level, when a close relationship between user of the public service and the public employees is established (Ostrom, 1996: 1079; Brandsen et al., 2012: 2). This observation has found support in systematic, empirical studies on the effect of coproduction. The main argument of the theory is, thusly, that coproduction between citizens and public employees increases the quality of the public service (Ostrom, 1996; Bovaird, 2007) and strengthens citizenship (Wilson, 1981; Levine, 1984).

03 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: PUPIL ENGAGEMENT AS COPRODUCTION

of pupil engagement, and, thusly, different degrees of pupil influence. At the same time, it is important to stress that this definition disregards an array of decisions. Pupil engagement does not concern itself with influence on the composition of lessons, or the curriculum for the individual courses. The teachers are still in charge of the curriculum, while following the national academic goals. Rather, pupil engagement is concerned with pupils having influence on the planning, execution and evaluation of the education, and thereby the implementation of the overall curriculum.

The interest in the citizens’ active participation in the public production of service, has significantly increased since the 1980s (Bovaird, 2007; Aligica and Tarko, 2013), which forms the reason for the constant development behind the literature and definition of the concept of coproduction. Gradually, this has been established through a discussion of how the concept should be understood. Even though this discussion, in some areas, has clarified and demarcated the concept in a stronger manner than it had been in the 1980s, new discussions in other areas have emerged, in which agreement has yet to be reached (Pestoff, 2012: 15). Among other things, the discussion concerns

45


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

itself with the extent to which coproduction only occurs in the delivery of service, or if it also relates to coproduction, when linked with citizen involvement in the development of policy by itself. It is not a part of the purpose of this report to try and reach a complete clarification of the theoretical discussion regarding the concept of coproduction. The core of this report is to determine the understanding of the concept of coproduction, which forms our starting point, and investigate the background for the decisions, in relation to the relevant definitional choices. A characteristic of the early literature on pupil engagement is seen in Whitaker’s usage of the concept of coproduction in a very broad sense, which is employed to describe different types of interaction between citizens and the authorities. From Whitaker’s point of view, coproduction can be observed when citizens assist in the delivery of the public service, and when a citizen and the authorities have been in a dialogue about harmonizing expectations in relation to the public service (Percy, 1984: 433). Because this definition is as broad as it is, we lack a stronger delimitation of the concept, which makes it difficult to handle the concept in a theoretical context. Subsequently, Ostrom has defined coproduction more narrowly as “the process through which inputs used to produce a good or a service are contributed by individuals, who are not ‘in’ the same organization” (Ostrom, 1996: 1073). Different from Whitaker, Ostrom emphasizes that in order to talk about coproduction, one has to focus on the production of the public service. She does not consider input from citizens on development of policy as coproduction. We agree with this central delimitation from Ostrom. Formulation on policy is conducted on a general and overall level, and deals with decisions regarding what type of service should be delivered, and how many resources need to be prioritized, alongside which criteria for quality should be in play. An example of this could be how one should organize the public school, or how treatment of cancerous diseases should be handled in the health services. Service production, on the other hand, relates to the daily implementation of overall political decisions, e.g. education in the school, or care of the elderly in the retirement homes. It seems obvious that formulation of policy, and service production, are two very different processes, which makes it equally obvious to utilize two different concepts for understanding. When the concept of coproduction is being utilized in the following section, we are focusing on coproduction in the service production. The definition from Ostrom, however, does not concern itself with the duration of the relationship between citizens and the public employees. Her definition does not exclude the idea that coproduction can be present, even though the citizens and the public employees merely delivered collective input for one day, or one hour, to the service production. We are not claiming that there are no advantages by such a short-term collective coproduction. We will argue, however, that it is more interesting

46


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Cooperation between citizens and the public employees, revolving around the production of the public service, has to be in place, and this cooperation has to be long-term. This constitutes two central delimitations on the concept of coproduction. These delimitations form the basis of the definition on coproduction in this report, which we state as “a process, in which citizens and the authorities, in a continuous and long-term process, deliver input for the production of a public benefit or a public service.”

3.3 Pupil engagement as coproduction We are basing the following on the above-mentioned definition on the concept of coproduction, in which we consider pupil engagement to be coproduction between pupils and teachers. This consideration makes it necessary for the theoretical presentation to introduce a distinction between the two types of coproduction. Even though we have established that coproduction deals with the actual production of public service, the idea of pupil engagement as coproduction illustrates that the citizens can deliver two very different types of input to this form of service production.

03 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: PUPIL ENGAGEMENT AS COPRODUCTION

to investigate the cooperation between citizens and public employees, in relation to the coproduction, when this is in place over a longer period of time. Large parts of the public service production, i.e. education, care of the elderly, and local development projects, all take place over a longer period of time, a lot longer than just one day, or one week. The relationship between citizens and the public employees will be, everything else considered, different in relation to the long-term delivery of service, compared to a cooperation in public service over a short period of time, followed by not working together any more. We need to introduce a central determination on the concept of coproduction, considering that Bovaird determines that the relationship between citizens and the authorities should be a long-term relationship, before it can be considered as coproduction. Bovaird’s definition states that ”…the provision of services through regular, long-term relationships between service providers (in any sector) and service users or other members of the community, where all parties make substantial contributions.” (2007: 847).

We can illustrate this point further, by examining the educational area. Education is often accentuated as one of the areas, in which coproduction in the public sector is expected to be the strongest. The argument here is that the purpose of education is to develop pupils’ competencies and cognitive abilities, or as it is also know, changing the pupils (Porter, 2012: 150). A precondition for the development of these competencies and cognitive abilities is found in the pupils’ active participation in the education, which is facilitated through doing homework, actively participating in class discussions, and finishing assignments from the teachers with great vigor. These

47


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

inputs from the pupils on the education, are traditionally connected with coproduction in the educational area (Percy, 1984: 435; Parks et al., 1981: 1003; Ostrom and Davis, 1991: 324 and Aligica and Tarko, 2013: 732). These input signify the type of coproduction that deals with active participation from the citizens. When dealing with pupil engagement, we recognize that we are handling a different type of coproduction. As mentioned in section 3.1, pupil engagement is a cooperation and development process, in which pupil have influence on, and participate in, the planning, execution, and evaluation of the education. In relation to coproduction with active participation from the citizens, the framework is established by the public employees, who decide how the service should be delivered. The citizens’ role is to actively participate and deliver input, as a part of the production of the public service. When we investigate pupil engagement, the situation is quite different. Input from the pupils in this type of coproduction, is input for, and participation in, the decision-making process regarding how the education should be completed (even though the teachers, formally, have the competency for decision on this question). Pupil engagement, thusly, still relates to input from citizens in regards to the production of service. It does, however, not solely focus on influence on the formulation of policy. In that case, pupil engagement would relate to influence on decision-making, which are way ahead of decisions made for how the education concretely would manifest itself in the classroom, i.e. how implementation of the new school reform should be conducted. Based on this, we will have to introduce a distinction that goes beyond the distinction between coproduction and the service production in the public sector and cogovernance4, which Brandsen and Pestoff (2006: 497) call the involvement of citizens in the actual policy-making. This new distinction between different types of coproduction, stems from the fact that several forms of input exist, from which the citizens can deliver to the service production. One type of input, is the active participation of the citizens in relation to service production. In relation to the above-mentioned, it is this type of input that has a traditional relationship with coproduction. The other type of input is illustrated by pupil engagement, and relates to the idea that citizens can also deliver input by participating in decisions, regarding the way in which the production in the public sector should be administered. This is a very relevant distinction, which will become even clearer when we, in the following, discuss the theory on coproduction in relation to the two research questions in the report. We have compared the two types of coproduction in table 3.1, by studying an array of different parameters in order to show the difference between them. In addition to that, we have incorporated 4

48

Brandsen and Pestoff distinguishes between input for policy-making, and service production from individuals, the authorities, and organizations. The above-mentioned types of coproduction, and co-governance, solely focus on individuals, since focus on coproduction with organizations is not relevant in answering the research questions in this report.


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Table 3.1: Comparison of co-leadership and the two types of coproduction. Co-leadership

Coproduction Influence

Active participation

Part of the serviceproduction

Formulation of policy

Decision regarding the execution of service-production

The serviceproduction itself

Who makes the decisions?

The public employees and the citizens in joint cooperation

The public employees and the citizens in joint cooperation

The public employees

The citizens’ input

Policy input

Input for how service should be produced

Activity in the production of the public service

Example

Involvement of pupil councils and implementation of school reform

Pupil engagement in planning, executing and evaluating the education

Pupils’ homework, active participation in discussions in the classroom

After having introduced how pupil engagement can be understood as an example of a certain type of coproduction, we are almost ready to investigate how we, based on the existing literature on coproduction, should understand the two research questions. Before addressing this issue, we would like to note that there are quite a few gaps in the literature on coproduction, which makes it even more interesting to further investigate pupils’ coproduction with the school. Even though the general consensus is that pupils’ active participation in the education is essential for their ability to learn, we have, in our research of the literature, been unable to find a single empirical study that studied the effects of the pupils’ coproduction on their teachings. To the extent that there has been research in the school area, it has been focusing on coproduction with the pupils’ parents (e.g. Jakobsen, 2013; Percy, 1981: 436; Marschall 2006 and Ostrom, 1996: 1077).

03 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: PUPIL ENGAGEMENT AS COPRODUCTION

co-governance in order to utilize a different concept, with which we can align the two types of coproduction.

When we investigate coproduction with parents, it is possible to find many studies, especially due to the research on pupils’ socioeconomic backgrounds, and viewing these as a question on parents’ ability to coproduce with their children in their relationship with the schoolwork (Porter, 2012: 153-156). Although pupils are the central users in the school area, and despite the great interest in coproduction in the educational area, the empirical studies have only focused on parents, and not on the pupils’ coproduction

49


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

50


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

3.4 Coproduction on the research questions With that, we have established the overall theoretical framework regarding pupil engagement as a specific type of coproduction. This theoretical framework will form the starting point for the remaining part of this chapter, also including chapter 4 and 5, in which we formulate the theoretical expectations for the analysis on the research questions. These expectations will be investigated by utilizing the remaining part of chapter 3 to examine the extent of the theory on coproduction. As will become apparent, the literature on coproduction delivers an array of central theoretical arguments, however, the literature is unable to deliver a satisfactory theoretical foundation for the two analyses. In chapter 4 and 5, we will, thusly, supplement the arguments from the literature on coproduction, with relevant theoretical arguments from the literature on pupil engagement, in addition to the literature on administration. Based on this, we will be able to establish a complete theoretical understanding of each of the two questions, and develop an array of theoretical theses, which can be utilized in testing the empirical analysis.

3.4.1 Why does coproduction work? We will begin by investigating the question of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. Initially, it is important to mention that we look to a basic understanding, which concerns itself with the part of the literature dealing with increased quality as a result of coproduction. Academic ability, well-being and social commitment are all variables that deal with the quality of the school. The effect of coproduction on quality takes up the majority of the literature, however, Percy also analyses the effect of coproduction on expenses, when producing a public service (1984: 436). We have omitted this part of the literature, in relation to this presentation.

03 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: PUPIL ENGAGEMENT AS COPRODUCTION

with the school. One must consider this to be very spectacular, which means, in this manner, this report helps fill a gap in the existing literature.

In the literature on coproduction, we find several different ideas for causal mechanisms behind the effects of pupil engagement, which all seem relevant. All these examples are, however, theoretical ideas for causal mechanisms, which is evident in their primary formulation in discussions on how one can identify positive effects of coproduction. Thorough and systematic investigations of the way in which the independent variable gets its effect on the dependent variable, is not found in the existing literature on coproduction. One of the central theoretical mechanism that have been identified, which is impossible to avoid, is that coproduction has an effect due to an increase in the complete amount of input, which happens when citizens’ input is added to the input from the public

51


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

employees (Ibid: 435). This mechanism is somewhat obvious, particularly when investigating the type of coproduction, in which the most important factor is the citizens’ active participation in the production of service, especially considering that the end goal is to develop the citizens’ competencies. When dealing with engagement, this idea for the causal mechanism does, however, not seem too obvious. We focus on situations, in which citizens have influence on how service should be produced. This mechanism will, thusly, not be further investigated. It seems more obvious to look at three other ideas, regarding the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. Ostrom (1996: 1075) and Percy (1984: 437) both point to how coproduction can affect the responsiveness of the public employees, and the extent to which they adapt their work to the production of the public service, based on the citizens’ wishes and needs. Responsiveness, thusly, marks one idea. Percy has an adamant focus on how responsiveness, by way of coproduction, can lead to adjustments of the public service, allowing it to align better with the citizens’ wishes. It seems obvious that adjustments of the public service, based on the input from citizens, will, not only, lead to an adjustment in relation to the citizens’ wishes, but that it will, also, lead to a higher quality in the public service. This is able to come in effect, because defects or flaws in the service can be noted by citizens, which means it can be adjusted in the service production itself, or in cases where the citizens, as users of a specific service, have good ideas for how the service could be improved. Another idea for the causal mechanism is empowerment. Ostrom introduces the mechanism of empowerment in relation to a case studio of the school sector in Nigeria (1996: 1078). The study has its starting point in a situation where the state strips the citizens’ of a great deal of the local autonomy over the schools, and replaces it with increased central control. This decision will cause citizens to engage in less coproduction, and as a consequence of this, the quality of the schools decreases. A third idea for the causal mechanism is recognition, which is another idea found with Percy (1984: 438). He argues that coproduction, as a public service, gives the citizens a sensation of their efforts holding importance, or put differently, that they are recognized alongside their efforts. This type of recognition can lead to e.g. increased social commitment from citizens, because it provides citizens with the belief that their input can be recognized in other contexts. We can, thusly, identify several theoretical ideas on the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, taking its starting point from the theory on coproduction. We do, however, still lack empirical support for these ideas, which is why this report delivers an interesting contribution to the literature on pupil engagement, but also to coproduction in a general sense. In the following chapter 4, we will utilize the three aforementioned ideas

52


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

3.4.2 What leads to coproduction? We are now able to advance to the second research question. In order to investigate the question regarding how coproduction between citizens and the public can be increased, it is necessary to take a closer look at the fundamental premise enabling successful coproduction. This fundamental premise requires that cooperation between citizens and the public employees function. The citizens should deliver their input in relation to the service production, and the public employees should ensure the involvement of the citizens. From these two parties, it seems obvious to begin with the investigation of the citizens. The public employees are paid to deliver a service, whilst the citizens, on the other hand, are recipients of a public service, to which they are not duty-bound, to the same extent, in participating in the delivery. There is also a greater focus on what factors make citizens coproduce, which takes up the majority of the literature relating to the causes for coproduction. The literature on coproduction focuses on three central factors, which are all necessary for citizens’ coproduction. The citizens require the necessary resources, which, among other things, include time for coproducing, and knowledge about what to do. They require the ability to provide relevant input for service production, and they require the motivation to put effort in to their coproduction (Ostrom, 1996: 1082; Pestoff, 2012: 21-24; Alford, 2002: 35+50; Jakobsen, 2013: 29). Although all three factors are necessary, and altogether sufficient for citizens’ coproduction, the research has had a particular focus on citizens’ resources and the abilities for coproducing. The literature provides many examples of theoretical arguments stating that the state can, through special initiatives, increase the citizens’ coproduction, by strengthening the relevant resources for coproduction in the citizens (Percy, 1984; Rosentraub and Sharp, 1981; Brudney, 1983; Alford, 2002; Jakobsen, 2013:29). The logical argument here is that the state can increase the citizens’ abilities and knowledge through education and information.

03 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: PUPIL ENGAGEMENT AS COPRODUCTION

on the causal mechanism, which will form the starting point for establishing an array of theses on the causal mechanisms. Considering that the ideas are, exclusively, theoretical founded, and since they hold a limited prioritization in the literature, we will supplement them with an array of arguments that we find in the literature on pupil engagement. From this, we can secure a theoretical foundation, being as satisfactory as possible, which can be established before initiating the empirical analysis.

Meanwhile, only a few studies exist, having completed empirical tests of this theoretical argument. Among these are Schneider (1987), Folz and Hazlett (1991) and Marschall (2006), who all find positive effects on citizens’ coproduction from public initiatives. The conclusions in these studies are challenged by several methodical

53


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

problems, among these are, especially, the possibility of an endogenous relationship between the independent and the dependent variable (Jakobsen, 2013: 31). In order to address these methodical problems, Jakobsen completed a quantitative experiment, discerning whether or not coproduction can be strengthened through public initiatives. He finds that the state, by procuring relevant educational material for immigrant parents, is able to increase the parents’ support for their children’s linguistic development. He uses these results in order to conclude that the state, through special initiatives, can increase the citizens’ coproduction. Our knowledge, regarding how coproduction between citizens and the state can be increased, is, thusly, still on an introductory level. The above-mentioned studies deal, explicitly, with the type of coproduction, in which citizens are actively participating in the production of the public service itself, and not the type of coproduction, in which citizens are involved in decisions regarding the manner in which the service should be produced. When one wishes to address the question of how much coproduction can be increased, the type of coproduction in question becomes an essential factor. This is illustrated by our work with pupil engagement. When dealing with this type of coproduction, in which citizens should be given influence on how the public service is produced, the public employees gain a certain gatekeeper function. The literature has previously pointed out that the legal opportunity for the public employees to adjust the service, e.g. that teachers are able to adjust the education, is a necessary prerequisite for establishing coproduction (Ostrom, 1996: 1082). It is a necessary, but not adequate, prerequisite. If citizens are to have influence on the production of a service, over an extended period of time, the ongoing cooperation between citizens and public employees is decisive, in a manner different from citizens only participating in the service production that the public employees have organized. The public employees’ function as gatekeepers is founded in their control and decisions on the area, in which citizens are given influence, when they gain influence, and how involvement in the decision-making takes place. This type of coproduction, thusly, establishes the role of the public employees to be very central, which holds some importance when dealing with the question of whether or not coproduction can be increased. This is especially the case when investigating pupil engagement, which, in that way, deals with a group of citizens, the pupils, who, all things considered, should be viewed as a relatively under-resourced group of citizens. Until this point, there has not been any mentionable focus on the public employees in relation to studies on how pupil engagement can be increased. It, thusly, becomes our task, in this report, to discern the cases in which the public employees hold particular importance, and how we can improve these relationships, in order to increase pupil engagement. These questions will be investigated in chapter 5, which will formulate an array of theses, regarding how it is possible to increase pupil engagement.

54


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

04 55


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

4. Theses on the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement In this chapter we are presented with two assignments, both of which have the purpose of deducing the theoretical expectations for the analysis, relating to the question of, what the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement is. The first assignment is deducing an array of overarching theoretical theses, regarding what the causal mechanism might be. This will be completed from a combination of the theoretical arguments from the literature on coproduction, which we have just finished investigating in chapter 3, alongside the literature on pupil engagement, which we have investigated in chapter 2. These theses will be manifested as general descriptions of mechanisms, by way of which we expect pupil engagement to have some effect. In order to make the theses testable in the empirical analysis, the second assignment of this chapter is to deduce an array of operational expectations to each of these theses in the form of concrete hypotheses. These hypotheses will express what we can expect to find in the analysis, insofar as the theses are to gain empirical support. Our focus in this chapter in relation to the complete causal-link, regarding pupil engagement, is illustrated in figure 4.1.

Figure 4.1: Identification of the focus in chapter 4 in relation to the complete causal-link: What is the causal mechanism on the effects of pupil engagement

As we have already mentioned, there is a gap in the literature, in relation to both the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, but also on a more general scale, regarding the effects of coproduction in the public sector. This does not, however, entail that we lack existing knowledge, on which we should further investigate, in order to support this report; it

56


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

It is important to note that some of the theses, which will be presented in the remaining part of this chapter, are not necessarily mutually exclusive. It seems palpable that several mechanisms can co-exist in order to establish the effect on the pupils’ academic ability, well-being and social commitment. Likewise, it is likely that a causal mechanism can have an effect on one or two of the dependent variables, but does not have an effect on all of them. In order to make it possible to complete an empirical analysis of the mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, it is still, to begin with, necessary to deduce limited theses, and implement a test of the matching hypotheses, individually. Based on the results of the analysis, it becomes possible to discuss the extent to which, and how, the different theses eventually come together as a complete causal mechanism, and the way in which the individual causal mechanisms hold importance for one or more, but not all, of the dependent variables. We identified three different theoretical ideas for the causal mechanism in chapter 3, which jointly, or separately, might constitute the reason behind the positive effects of the type of coproduction, of which pupil engagement is an example. It becomes relevant, however, to, not only, investigate the literature on coproduction, but also to investigate the arguments we find in the existing studies on pupil engagement. As we argued in chapter 2, the literature found here, points to positive effects from pupil engagement on an array of dependent variables, and we find a significant amount of suggestions, for how these effects can be found. When focusing on pupils’ academic ability, well-being and social commitment, and relate the arguments from the literature on pupil engagement, with the arguments from the literature on coproduction, we can establish four general theoretical theses, which all stand out. These are: Motivation, self-confidence, responsiveness and strengthening of competency, respectively. In the following table 4.1, we have joined these four theoretical ideas for the causal mechanism together. We have compared the mechanisms with the ideas and theories from the existing literature, from which the deduction has been founded. The following four sections will be dedicated to a presentation, one by one, of how the mechanism has been identified, how we expect it to function, and, finally, which operational expectations we have of the analysis.

04 THESES ON THE CAUSAL MECHANISM BEHIND THE EFFECTS OF PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

only means that the existing knowledge on the causal mechanism, is primarily characterized from theoretical arguments on the expected causal mechanism. Distinct empirical analyses of the causal mechanism, whether these are independent studies, or a part of the investigation of the effects of pupil engagement or coproduction, are not available at this moment.

57


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Table 4.1: The four theses on the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, and the concepts under which they are known, in the literature on coproduction and pupil engagement, respectively. Motivation

Selfconfidence

Concept in the literature on coproduction

Empowerment

Recognition

Concept in the literature on pupil engagement

Desire for participation, involvement, co-ownership

Self-confidence, self-esteem

Responsiveness

Strengthening of Competency

Responsiveness

(Empathic and deliberative abilities)

4.1 Thesis 1: Strengthened motivation as a causal mechanism The first thesis for the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement is motivation. The literature on both coproduction and pupil engagement provides us with an array of different concepts, all of which, fundamentally, deal with the extent to which pupil engagement provides increased motivation, which in turn provides a higher quality of the public service. Ostrom (1996: 1078) describes this phenomenon as empowerment, which is when citizens gain influence on the production of the public service; in other places, one might encounter the same argument, i.e. desire for participation (Andersen et al., 2012: 19), increased social commitment and co-ownership (Cotmore, 2004: 57-64, Kaba, 2000: 25-32; Furtwengler, 1996; 36-39; Gilleece and Cosgrove, 2012: 235-237; Mitra, 2008: 311-315; Hannam, 2001; 7-10, 50-65; Flutter and Rudduck, 2004: 22-28; Jensen and Simovska, 2005: 151-153; Patmor and McIntyre, 1999: 77-78). All these different concepts are, however, fundamentally based on the same basic idea, which is the idea that influence on production of the public service increases motivation, and thereby the desire, the will, and the interest to actively participate in the production of public service itself. Based on these theoretical arguments, the notion that motivation is a causal mechanism, can be observed when pupils are, continuously, engaged in the planning, execution and evaluation of the education, which provides greater co-ownership to the education, due to influence on what is happening. The sensation of co-ownership provides a greater desire for participation and for learning, or, in other words, that motivation increases. Increased motivation causes a rise in pupils’ commitment in their education, which, in turn, causes an improvement in the pupil’s benefit from the education, manifesting in the teachings. At

58


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Based on these arguments, Thesis 1 is established thusly: Pupil engagement has its effect, because it increases pupils’ motivation. Insofar as this thesis is to be empirically supported, two conditions need to be met. First of all, we have to observe that the pupils are more inclined to participate actively in the education, which comes as a result of being engaged in, and having influence on, the planning, execution and evaluation of the education. Even though a greater desire for participating should, by itself, lead to more well-being, and possibly greater social commitment, it is not enough, if it should also have the same effect on pupils’ academic ability. If motivation is to function as a causal mechanism for all three dependent variables, it will also become necessary that pupils’ actual commitment to their education increases, which means that, as a result of pupil engagement, they put more effort in to their schoolwork. Thesis 1 can be concretized in the following two hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1a: Whenever they are engaged, pupils have a greater desire for actively participating in the education Hypothesis 1b:

Whenever they are engaged, the pupils are more committed to their education.

4.2 Thesis 2: Strengthened self-confidence as a causal mechanism The second thesis for the causal mechanism is increased self-confidence. This is an argument we meet several places within the literature, even if it is described somewhat differently. One of the central arguments regarding self-confidence, found within the literature on coproduction, argues that influence on how a public service is produced, provides citizens with a sensation that their efforts are of value, which gains them recognition (Percy, 1984: 438). We can find similar points in the literature on pupil engagement. Pupil engagement provides the pupils with a greater sense of responsibility, which leads to increased self-confidence, and increased self-esteem (Harber and Trafford, 1999: 46-53; Gilleece and Cosgrove, 2012: 235-237; Hannam,

04 THESES ON THE CAUSAL MECHANISM BEHIND THE EFFECTS OF PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

the same time, motivation provides pupils with a greater desire to attend school, thusly affecting pupils’ well-being, just as it affects pupils’ commitment for what happens outside the school. Based on this, we expect motivation to be a causal mechanism, which could provide us with the link between pupil engagement as the independent variable, and each of the three dependent variables.

59


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

60


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

It seems obvious that self-confidence influences well-being and social commitment. When self-confidence and belief in oneself increases, it seems obvious that you feel better and thrive, and that you gain the courage for greater commitment in school, alongside other places in society. As we discussed in the above-mentioned section, academic ability, compared to these variables, is found later in the chronological order, we do, however, expect that self-confidence also has a positive effect on pupils’ academic ability. One could argue that if you believe in your own academic proficiency, it should become easier to receive new input, which translates to developing competencies and cognitive abilities. Based on these arguments, Thesis 2 is established thusly: Pupil engagement has its effect, because it increases pupils’ self-confidence. Insofar as support for this thesis should be found within the analysis, it is important that we identify strengthened self-confidence as a result of pupil engagement. First of all, it would prove self-confidence if pupil engagement provides pupils with the courage to speak up in the classroom, alongside entering into debates, or ask questions in a forum, where all their classmates are listening, and able to comment on the statements. Likewise, it would be an expression of increased self-confidence if the pupils gain greater courage for actively participating in the other parts of the education. Thesis 2 can, consequently, also be concretized in the following two hypotheses:

Hypothesis 2a:

Whenever they are engaged, pupils feel more confident with speaking.

Hypothesis 2b: Whenever they are engaged, pupils feel more confident with actively participating in their education.

04 THESES ON THE CAUSAL MECHANISM BEHIND THE EFFECTS OF PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

2001: 60-64; Davies et al., 2006; Rudduck, 2002; NiCheng, 2012: 352-353). We unify this mechanism under the term self-confidence, because it marks a common ground between the arguments in the two sources, stating that influence provides the citizens, which in our case relates to the pupils, with a sense of influence, and a feeling that their contribution holds importance. These developments lead to a greater belief in one’s own ability, self-confidence.

4.3 Thesis 3: Responsiveness as a causal mechanism The third thesis has only been addressed in the literature on coproduction, but does, however, not seem less relevant, considering that pupil engagement provides pupils

61


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

with influence on the education. It revolves around the idea that pupil engagement might have its effect from teachers adapting the teachings, based on inputs from the pupils. The thesis is, thusly, centered on responsiveness from pupils’ inputs. We have discussed this argument in chapter 3, where we identified that the fundamental idea revolved around a situation, in which citizens are given influence, on the way in which the public service should be produced, which in turn will enable the service to better adapt to the need of the citizens, thereby improving the quality. An example of this can be observed when dealing with pupil engagement in the school area. This is a part of the definition for pupil engagement, i.e. that pupils have influence on the planning, execution and evaluation of the education. A prerequisite needed here, is that we can identify substantial influence, which is when pupils’ input is converted into concrete actions by the teacher, although, this does not entail that the teacher has to utilize every single input the pupils provide. Based on these arguments, Thesis 3 is established thusly: Pupil engagement has its effect, because teachers adapt the education, based on inputs from the pupils. Responsiveness strikes one as especially relevant as a causal mechanism for the effect on the pupils’ academic ability. An example of this is a situation, where pupils deliver usable input for the teacher, which in turn could lead to a change in the structure of the education that fits better with the way in which the particular pupil learns. One might also imagine a situation, where the teachers’ responsiveness can affect the pupils’ wellbeing; an example of this could be a situation, in which the teacher adapts the teaching in a way that makes it more exciting for the pupils. It is, however, hard to identify a direct link between responsiveness and pupils’ social commitment. Based on a fundamental assumption that teachers only will adapt education, based on input from the pupils, when it increases the quality of the education, we have to expect to identify two relationships in the analysis, insofar as we are to find empirical support for Thesis 3. It is crucial that pupils deliver usable and implementable input for the education, and that teachers adapt the education based on pupils’ input. Once again, we can concretize the thesis in the following two hypotheses:

62

Hypothesis 3a:

Pupils’ inputs are useful, and possible to implement in the education.

Hypothesis 3b:

The teachers adapt the education, based on input from the pupils.


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The fourth and final mechanism, which we will test in the analysis, is immediate strengthened competencies, as a result of pupil engagement. This mechanism does not take up a great deal in the existing literature, however, as we have already noted, this holds great relevancy (Andersen et al., 2012: 18). Likewise, the literature on pupil engagement argues that pupil engagement can strengthen pupils’ empathic and deliberative abilities. We feel that this argument should be empirically tested, considering the obvious argument that pupil engagement teaches pupils to enter into a co-operation with the teachers, which will establish the pupils’ wishes and inputs for the education. We do not believe that pupil engagement solely strengthens these abilities. In order for pupils to deliver inputs for the education, it is necessary to constantly exercise their communicative skills, and their ability to reflect on their wishes and needs for their teachings. We argue that this idea can be broadened to encompass the theory that pupil engagement generally strengthens pupils’ competencies in an immediate fashion, thusly having an effect on pupils’ academic ability. Based on these arguments, Thesis 4 is established thusly: Pupil engagement has its effect, because it strengthens pupils’ academic ability in an immediate fashion. It would support Thesis 4, if the analysis shows that pupil engagement supports the pupils’ ability to reflect on which type of education fits optimally with their needs, and that pupil engagement rehearses the pupils’ oral and/or their written abilities. Contrary to the hypotheses in Thesis 3, it is not necessary to find empirical support for all three hypotheses in order to substantiate the thesis, even though it would, obviously, support the results if completed. The three hypotheses for Thesis 4 are as follows:

Hypothesis 4a:

Whenever they are engaged, pupils become better at reflecting on the type of education fitting optimally with their needs.

Hypothesis 4b: Whenever they are engaged, pupils becomes verbally stronger. Hypothesis 4c:

04 THESES ON THE CAUSAL MECHANISM BEHIND THE EFFECTS OF PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

4.4 Thesis 4: Strengthened competencies as a causal mechanism

Whenever they are engaged, pupil becomes better at written work.

63


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Dermed har vi nu på baggrund af den eksisterende litteratur om samproduktion og elevinddragelse udledt fire teoretiske teser med tilhørende konkrete hypoteser for, hvad kausalmekanismen bag elevinddragelsens effekter er. Vi kan dermed slutte den teoretiske gennemgang af rapportens første forskningsspørgsmål. For overskuelighedens skyld har vi samlet både teser og hypoteser i nedenstående tabel 4.2.

Table 4.2. Complete outline of the theses and the operationalized hypotheses for the analysis of research question 1. Thesis Thesis 1:

Thesis 2:

Thesis 3:

Thesis 4:

Pupil engagement has its effect, because it increases pupils’ motivation.

Hypothesis Hypothesis 1a

Whenever they are engaged, pupils have a greater desire for actively participating in the education.

Hypothesis 1b

Whenever they are engaged, the pupils are more committed to their education.

Hypothesis 2a

Whenever they are engaged, pupils feel more confident with speaking.

Hypothesis 2b

Whenever they are engaged, pupils feel more confident with actively participating in their education.

Pupil engagement has its ffect, because teachers adapt the education based on input from the pupils.

Hypothesis 3a

Pupils’ inputs are useful, and possible to implement in the education.

Hypothesis 3b

Hypothesis 3b: The teachers adapt the education based on input from the pupils.

Pupil engagement has its effect, because it strengthens pupils’ academic ability in an immediate fashion.

Hypothesis 4a

Whenever they are engaged, pupils become better at reflecting on the type of education fitting optimally with their needs.

Hypothesis 4b

Whenever they are engaged, pupils becomes verbally stronger.

Pupil engagement has its effect, because it increases pupils’ self-confidence.

Hypothesis 4c

64

Whenever they are engaged, pupil becomes better at written work.


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

05 65


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

5. Theses on how pupil engagement can be increased Following the establishment of the theoretical expectations on how pupil engagement has its effect, the report turns to investigate the second research question of the report, in which we discuss the extent to which, and how, pupil engagement can be increased. Our focus in the causal-link is, thusly, moved, which means that we are considering pupil engagement to be the dependent variable, which has been illustrated in figure 5.1. As has been completed in chapter 4, we will deduce both the overarching theoretical theses for the research question, as well as the matching hypotheses. In order to complete this task, we will initiate the chapter with a theoretical discussion, regarding the factors affecting the level of pupil engagement in the school. Based on this, we will enter into a discussion, in which we identify the initiatives we expect to have an increasing effect on pupil engagement. When these discussions have been concluded, it will put us in a position from where we can deduce the theses and hypotheses.

Figure 5.1: Identification of the focus in chapter 5 in relation to the complete causal-link: Can pupil engagement be increased, and how?

Chapter 3 investigated how pupil engagement presents an example of a certain type of coproduction, in which citizens have influence on how public service should be produced. In that context, we established that in order for this type of coproduction to function, the resources of the citizens hold great importance, however, it is even more essential that public employees conduct themselves in a manner that allows the participation from citizens. Based on this, the question regarding whether or not pupil engagement can

66


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

As we have already discussed, the existing literature on pupil engagement has hardly occupied itself with pupil engagement as the dependent variable. Some studies argue that there are theoretical relationships holding importance for pupil engagement; during our research of the literature, however, we have been unable to locate any studies supported by empirical data. The existing theoretical arguments are equally sporadic, which means that we will not be able to find an overall theory, for how pupil engagement can be increased, or, for that matter, an overall theory for how the behavior of teachers can be adjusted, making them more compliant for coproduction or pupil engagement. We had the opportunity in chapter 4 to deduce the most relevant existing theoretical arguments from the literature, and set the stage for testing these arguments against each other in the empirical analysis, but this research question contains a larger and different challenge. To a much greater extent, it is necessary to support the theoretical argument, based on the deduced arguments from different parts of the literature on pupil engagement, and the literature on administration, which will enable us to deduce an array of theoretical arguments, relating to how pupil engagement can be increased.

05 THESES ON HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT CAN BE INCREASED

be increased, relates to the question regarding how one can affect the behavior of the teachers, which would result in a higher degree of pupil engagement in the education. It does not, to the same extent, revolve around the challenge of how citizens’ resources can be increased, which is the main focus of many studies where coproduction is the dependent variable. Our focus in this chapter, thusly, rests on how the behavior of the teachers can be affected. This does not entail that pupils are not added into our consideration of the teachers’ work. The pupils’ relation to the analysis of this research question, is mostly interesting in the sense that the concrete initiatives should try and affect the behavior of the teachers. This is our reasoning for waiting with an investigation of the pupil’s role for chapter 6, which deals with the method of the report.

We will, thusly, investigate the theoretical foundation for answering the second research question of the report. This will be completed in four sections. Initially, we will introduce two challenges, which are central when wanting to create behavioral changes in public employees. In the second section of the chapter, we will supplement with two general challenges by deducing three variables, all of which are especially important in regards to public employees, specifically when wanting to increase the type of coproduction, represented by pupil engagement. It is a question of whether or not the public employees are willing to co-produce, their prioritization of the task in everyday life, and their competencies for co-producing. Based on these arguments, the third section of the chapter will discuss the two general challenges, and the three deduced variables, in relation to the already existing knowledge on teachers’ behavior. The purpose of this section is to reach an understanding of the conditions, in which particular focus should be placed, in order to increase engagement of the pupils. Section four will, based on the arguments from the first three sections, conclude the

67


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

chapter, by deducing the theoretical expectations for how pupil engagement, through different initiatives, can be increased. Similar to chapter 4, this will be conducted in the form of overall theses, and concrete hypotheses.

5.1 Challenges in creating behavioral changes In order to deduce the theoretical expectations for how pupil engagement can be increased, one must begin by investigating which challenges are, generally, important to tackle, particularly when wanting to create behavioral changes in public employees. Based on the existing literature, there seem to be two central challenges. One is the institutional relationships, the other is the support, encouragement, and sparring from the management.

5.1.1 Institutional relationships One of the main arguments in institutional theory, relates to how institutions affect, or more precisely determine, behavior by establishing settings, in which the players, in the given circumstance, can navigate. This is also the case in public institutions. The institutions can be both formal and informal. When dealing with public organizations, an example of formal institutions can manifest itself in lawmaking in a given area, but also rules about working hours, or different internal rules deciding how a specific task should be handled. The informal institutions often link themselves to the specific organization in question, manifesting in a specific organizational culture, or a specific profession based on professional norms. Winter and Nielsen describe the effect of the institutions on public employees in a particular manner, arguing that institutions affect the actual structure of possibility that the public employees have in relation to their work (2008: 139). The Act on primary and lower secondary education demands, as we have mentioned earlier, that teachers engage the pupils, but there lacks any litigatory demands to this legal provision. The teachers have a great deal of autonomy on how they, concretely, conduct the teachings in the classroom, which causes formal institutions to seem irrelevant for the analysis. Contrary to this, informal institutions are interesting due to their professional set of norms. Professional norms seems to hold great importance for the behavior in the large groups of employees in the public sector. Informal institutions can have such a significant effect that they nullify the effect on behavior, which is normally seen through economic incentives (See among others Andersen and Jakobsen, 2009). Considering that institutions condition the actual structures of opportunity for the public employees’ behavior, we can, thusly, observe an importance in dealing with affecting the public employees’ behavior. Due to this

68


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

5.1.2 Significance of the leadership The theory of motivation crowding argues that outside regulation, whether this comes in the form of incentives or any other type of regulation, is perceived as controlling the public employees, which might crowd (push) the inner motivation away (Frey, 1997). The outside regulation can, thusly, end up having the exact opposite effect of what one might, immediately, expect (Andersen and Pallesen, 2008). Even though our knowledge in this area is still rather limited, there are studies which argue that the leaders’ approach to the implementation of the new command systems, can affect the employees’ perception of the degree to which the implementations are seen as controlling. This perception is dependent on whether the leaders complete the implementation in a harsh manner with demands, or in a softer manner with a higher degree of dialogue (Mikkelsen et al., 2012). These arguments are, for several reasons, particularly relevant, when dealing with the question of whether or not the public employees’ behavior can be affected. First and foremost, the initiatives chosen for implementation can quickly become similar to management, which entails that the employees’ perception becomes central. The argument of the implementation from the management is especially interesting, considering that new initiatives in the public sector, more often than not, do not emerge with the leader of the lower level employees, but emerges with a superior administrative or political authority. This situation forms the starting points of this analysis, and we should, thusly, be attentive towards the perception of the different initiatives, but in particular to the influence of the closest leaders, and the perception of the initiatives.

05 THESES ON HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT CAN BE INCREASED

observation, it is important to clarify whether or not the existing informal institutions in this area oppose or, as is also possible, support the behavioral change, wanted from the employees.

5.2 Important parameters for increased pupil engagement We are faced with two general challenges, which manifest in the institutional relationships, and the actions of the management; both of which are important to note, when analyzing the question regarding whether or not the behavior of the public employees can be affected in a certain direction. The next thing we need to investigate, is the question regarding which relationships are particularly relevant, when wanting to strengthen the type of coproduction, of which pupil engagement is an example. The starting point for this overview, comes from the argument in chapter 3, which argues that public employees are particularly important in relation to answering this question.

69


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

We pointed out in chapter 3 that it is not enough for the public employees to have a legal opportunity to change the service production, based on input from the citizens, which is evident in coproduction, where the citizens are involved in the decisions of the service production itself. The public employees have a central function as gatekeepers, in relation to how citizens gain influence in this process, and on what the citizens have influence. In our analysis, the teachers are the central players. The teachers’ function as gatekeepers emerges, because, as with many other public employees, they have a great deal of assessment in relation to the execution of their work. Every single teacher assesses, to a great extent, how he or she plans the teachings, in order to complete the curriculum, and reach the academic goals with a given class. Two of the three relationships are a direct result from this assessment. First of all, the assessment means that the teachers’ willingness to give the pupils influence is vital. If the teachers do not want to give the pupils influence, and involve them in the planning, execution and evaluation of the education, and if they do not want to engage the pupils more than what they already do, it will practically not happen. Naturally, the teachers’ willingness might depend on many different circumstances. Given the fact that pupil engagement is a certain type of work method for the teachers, and also an expression of a certain pedagogical approach to the education, it seems obvious that the teachers’ understanding of what is important, in relation to the education, holds great importance for their willingness to give the pupils influence. The second relationship is the teachers’ prioritization in everyday life. As with all other public employees, the teachers have scarce temporal resources, but often times many assignments. A teacher’s assignments in their everyday life, spans from the education itself, to correcting class assignments, parental contact, preparation of the teachings, handling the personal well-being of the pupils, and the social dynamics, alongside many other relationships in the school. As Lipsky (1980) points out in his study of the behavior of lower level employees, public employees often handle the situation of having limited resources and many tasks, with an array of defense mechanisms, e.g. incorporating set routines, or trying to avoid difficult clients. Lipsky is, however, particularly focused on lower level workers, who occupy themselves with clients and administrative procedure. Rather than expecting traditional defense mechanisms from the teachers, who are dealing with coproduction, and not administrative procedures, we can expect a prioritization between the teachers’ different assignments. A teacher is unable to prioritize all their assignments equally high, which means that some assignments will, inevitably, have less focus than others. Pupil engagement is an assignment which requires time, because the education cannot simply be planned individually by the teachers, but has to be adjusted based on inputs from the teachers, just as the teachers have to focus on pupil engagement as

70


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The third important parameter is the teachers’ competencies. This cannot be directly deduced from a teachers’ assessment, but deals with how citizens’ resources can be supported effectively. Jakobsen (2013) has shown that the public, through initiatives such as educational material utilized for children’s language acquisition, can support the citizens’ resources, which in turn will increase the level of coproduction. As made evident, this study does not focus on the type of coproduction that relates to influence on how the public service should be produced; instead, this study focuses on the citizens’ active participation in the service production itself. The distinction between these two types of coproduction, which we introduced in chapter 3, shows its relevance once more. When citizens are supposed to gain influence, as is the case with pupil engagement, we are dealing with a process, where the continuous interplay, or cooperation if you will, between the pupils and the teachers is absolutely pivotal. In that type of landscape, it is impossible for pupils’ resources to only be supported by materials or information coming from the teachers. Rather, it revolves around how teachers continuously conduct themselves when planning, executing, and evaluating the education. The teachers’ actions are particularly important, due to a recognition that pupils are considered a relatively weak resourced group. In addition to this, the teachers have to support pupil engagement, and prioritize pupil engagement, but it is equally important that the teachers know what they need to do, in a concrete sense, in order to assist the pupil in the process of engagement itself. This is why the teachers’ competencies are particularly important.

05 THESES ON HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT CAN BE INCREASED

soon as they begin planning the education. If pupil engagement is to be strengthened, it is important that the teachers, not only, have a wish for engaging the pupils to a greater extent, but also that this assignment holds importance for the teachers, which causes them to prioritize it in a busy everyday life.

In this relation, it is worth noting that we, once again, observe a gap in the literature. Competencies always hold a great deal of importance on behavior, in such a way that competencies hold a greater importance whenever an assignment is less characterized by routine and significantly more complex. Since many assignments in the public sector, i.e. education, are, without a doubt, complex, it is curious that studies of the importance of cognitive abilities, knowledge, and competencies on behavior, are the least systematic, and explicitly researches part of the implementation of public politics (Winter and Nielsen, 2008: 133). The empirical support, for the argument on the importance of competencies, is, thusly, rather limited, which means that our study of pupil engagement, also contributes in this field, helping close the gap in the literature.

71


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

5.3 Changing the teachers’ behavior in order to increase pupil engagement Based on sections 5.1 and 5.2, we are able to identify an array of fundamental variables and relationships, which all hold importance to the way in which public employees behave, and are equally relevant, in relation to the question regarding whether or not, and how, it is possible to increase pupil engagement. The correlation between all these variables has been illustrated in figure 5.2. In relation to this, we would like to emphasize a couple of arguments, which concern the variables of volition, prioritization, and competencies, all of which have been investigated in the section above. As will be investigated in the following overview, the teachers’ motivation for working with pupil engagement, is especially dependent on the professional norms. Volition is, thusly, not an immediate part of the graphic illustration of the expected correlation. On the other hand, norms are. Prioritization of pupil engagement is, similar to the norms, included as a conditional variable. The reason behind this is that we, based on the above-mentioned overview, expect that external initiatives will be able to affect the competencies; however, the effect of the competencies on the level of pupil engagement are conditioned by the professional norms, and the teachers’ prioritization of pupil engagement, respectively. With that, figure 5.2 ends up looking as such:

Figure 5.2: Factors affecting the level of pupil engagement

INSTITUTIONS: NORMS AND PRIORITIZATIONS

EXTERNAL INITIATIVES

PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

COMPETENCIES

ACTIONS OF THE MANAGEMENT

Based on this overview, we have, thusly, established a general theoretical framework for the analysis on how pupil engagement can be affected. Against this background, the next assignment at hand, is to identify which of these variables would be the most effective to affect, followed by an identification of how this effect can be established.

72


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

5.3.1 Volition: An existing norm on pupil engagement When addressing volition in relation to the public employees, it can be viewed in two different lights. One is to consider volition as a personal preference of policy with the public employees, relating to whether or not, and how, they would like to work. This perspective stems from Brehm and Gates (1999), who, among other things, use this understanding in their analysis of the behavior of lower level employees in the public sector. Another way is to view the workers in a collective perspective, and, thusly, investigate volition as an expression of an informal institution. In the above-mentioned, we have already discussed that informal institutions, understood as professional norms for how one should educate, and characterizations of good quality in the education, are strongly represented in the teacher area. Based on these strong professional norms, we will, in the following, investigate teachers’ motivation for pupil engagement, having the starting point in a collective perspective. It is worth noting that the idea of professional norms by itself, entails that the norms, insofar as it is possible, are the same for a certain professional group in a certain country, yet may differ within the same professional group, when compared to different countries. The aim of this report is to be able to make a general statement about pupil engagement across different borders. The existing professional norms are, however, absolutely central in determining which initiatives should hold a particular focus in order to increase pupil engagement. With that, we are unable to avoid having a starting point in a certain country with particular professional norms. Due to obvious reasons, this report has its starting point in Denmark.

05 THESES ON HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT CAN BE INCREASED

In order to answer these questions, we use this section to investigate how volition, prioritization, and competencies for pupil engagement are at this current time, alongside the importance held by the closest managers on the school area.

As we have already discussed, in relation to our definition of the concept of pupil engagement, engagement of the pupils and democratic culture stands strong in the Danish school tradition. There also seems to exist a particularly strong norm on this among the Danish teachers, especially when comparing them with teachers from Sweden, Finland, England and Scotland. The attitude among Danish teachers is, to a much higher extent compared to teachers from the other countries, affected by a high quality in the schools, which is defined by actively involving pupils, and that it holds great importance for pupils to become responsible citizens (this is the result of a special data collection conducted by Ozga et al., 2011; see more at folkeskolen.dk, 2011). The arguments, relating to some groups of public employees influenced by the thought that they should, individually, control the service production (Percy, 1984: 441), alongside the problems of static and traditional teacher/pupil roles in relation to

73


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

pupil engagement (Ruddock and Fielding, 2006: 226-229; Fielding, 2001: 129-132; Holdsworth, 2000; Lodge, 2005; Cook-Sather, 2006 and 2007; Mitra, 2008: 318332), seems to deliver a secure foundation in relation to this analysis. Considering that we at this time can identify a norm relating to the importance of pupil engagement, it becomes unnecessary to focus on affecting this norm in order to increase pupil engagement.

5.3.2 The need for securing priority Apart from the above-mentioned argument that teachers consider engagement of the pupil as an important part of the quality of the public school, we are unaware of any studies, which has investigated the amount to which pupil engagement holds importance in the teachers’ everyday life. In relation to this parameter, we have to stick with the notion that teachers generally have a normal day with many different assignments, and that teachers experience a heavy workload (see e.g. ftf.dk, 2012). Based on this, it seems important to work with securing a prioritization of pupil engagement in everyday life, in order to strengthen the complete level of pupil engagement.

5.3.3 Competencies should be developed We have already discussed the particular importance of the teachers’ competencies in relation to pupil engagement. The teachers decide in which areas the pupils should be engaged, and, in a practical sense, decide how the pupils should be engaged. The competencies are, thusly, central, which is mainly due to the importance of teachers knowing, in what way they can engage the pupils in the education. If the teachers are unsure in this area, it is likely that they will not utilize pupil engagement as a part of the education. The competencies are also central, mainly because they affect the quality of the utilized engagement, which in turn determines whether or not pupil engagement is successful. In this area there is no empirical data, which at this time clarifies, precisely, how strong the teachers’ competencies in pupil engagement are. We have, however, investigated the agreed upon rules for the education to become a teacher (government order regarding the education as professional bachelor for becoming teacher in the public school (Translated from the law text: bekendtgørelse om uddannelsen til professionsbachelor som lærer i folkeskolen)), and concrete descriptions of subjects and modules on the education to become teacher (see e.g. ucn.dk). Neither the government order, nor the concrete subject descriptions, provide demands for, or descriptions of, concrete educational courses for pupil engagement. The idea of co-determination is found is both documents, but primarily as a value which holds importance for the education. This is in addition to the above-mentioned argument, relating to engagement and democratic

74


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

If the goal is to increase pupil engagement, then the development of the teachers’ competencies for pupil engagement, must be considered a central mission. In relation to the question regarding which competencies, precisely, need to be strengthened, we come closer to the edge of political science literature. If our goal is to develop the teachers’ competencies in pupil engagement, we cannot solely view competencies on pupil engagement as competencies within coproduction. The competencies for coproduction are inevitably tied in with the specific competencies in a certain profession, which entails that it in this case relates to the teachers’ pedagogical professionalism. Pupil engagement is a specific approach to education, a pedagogical toolset, which the teachers are free to choose whether or not they will utilize. This is the reasoning behind the importance of developing their pedagogical competencies. When dealing with development of competencies, in relation to pupil engagement, we find ourselves in the field of tension between social science theory and pedagogical theory. This does, however, create quite the challenge, considering that pedagogy is not the favorite subject of someone who works with political science. In this theoretical chapter, we keep to a general discussion regarding development of competency within pupil engagement, as being important in order to increase pupil engagement. The importance of the pedagogical theory is, however, an essential argument. The question regarding which specific competencies should be developed, is a question which, for the most part, is more relevant to answer adequately with a discussion of the concrete initiatives, which are being implemented in order to strengthen teachers’ competencies. We will, therefore, return to a discussion of how we have handled this challenge in chapter 6, which deals with the method of the report.

05 THESES ON HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT CAN BE INCREASED

culture being an important part of Danish teachers’ professional norms. It does not, however, state that the teachers have been trained in precisely how it, utilizing different tools, is possible to engage the pupils in the education.

5.3.4 Establish the right support from the leadership In an earlier study on the importance of the leaders’ implementation of management enterprise on the employees’ perception of the initiatives, Mikkelsen et al. (2012) utilized the public school area in Denmark as their case. The conclusion, stating that a strict implementation increases the perception of management enterprise as being control, was based on an analysis of the principals’ implementation of the obligatory student plans. Based on the conclusions from the crowding theory, it seems that the actions of leaders, in relation to their work with strengthening pupil engagement, are, seemingly, important, especially when considering that teachers are particularly influenced by public service motivation (Andersen et al., 2010). Public service motivation can also be viewed as inner motivation. It is from this standing point that crowding theory becomes relevant.

75


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The basis here is that the initiatives for strengthening pupil engagement do not come from the closest leader, but rather from a superior authority. Based on the abovementioned arguments, it becomes important to establish the proper managerial handling of the initiatives being implemented. Naturally, it is also important that the leaders support the initiatives, and, in this relation, particularly important that they secure a strong sense of dialogue with the teachers about the initiatives, alongside professional sparring regarding the work with pupil engagement. An approach in this soft manner, will secure that the initiatives are not perceived as controlling, but rather as supporting the teachers’ work.

5.4 Three theses – this is how pupil engagement can be increased Based on the above-mentioned theoretical overview, we are able to reach the relationships, which all require central focus, if we wish to affect the teachers’ behavior, and guide them towards pupil engagement. Since there, in a Danish context, already exists a professional norm that pupil engagement is important, one should shift focus to the teachers’ prioritization of pupil engagement in an already busy day, meaning that the teachers’ competencies in the area need to be developed and strengthened, and that it is important to establish the proper managerial handling of the external wish for pupil engagement. These three relationships are the starting point of this section, where we will deduce three theoretical theses for how pupil engagement can be increased, alongside our follow-up of concretizing these theses into operational hypotheses.

5.4.1 Thesis 5: Supplementary training course When wanting to strengthen the pupil engagement with the teachers, the development of competencies for the teachers, presents itself as the absolute central assignment. This is why the obvious primary initiative is to complete a supplementary training course for the teachers. A supplementary training course will establish the development of the teachers’ competencies, on a general level, and give the teachers some concrete tools and methods for increasing pupil engagement. This argument is supported by the existing literature on the effect of supplementary training. Once again, we find that the number of existing studies, on the effect of supplementary training courses, is low. However, a significant amount of the studies on the effects of supplementary training are conducted as experiments, which secures the chronological control of the causal-link. Analyses of the public administration, almost always, present a challenge in the possible presence of an endogenous relationship between the independent, and the dependent variables of the analysis, which we have discussed earlier in this report. The control and the chronological order have a strong effect on the conclusion, regarding the way in which supplementary

76


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The idea of implementing a supplementary training course, as a central initiative for increased pupil engagement, is further emphasized by the notion that the duration of the training will not only have an effect on the teachers’ competencies. A result of the participation from the teachers in the supplementary training, will be seen in an increase in time spent working on pupil engagement, which we expect will signify, in a clear manner to the teachers, the importance of pupil engagement. This effect might help secure having pupil engagement at a greater level of prioritization in their everyday life. Our expectation is that a supplementary training course would strengthen the teachers’ competencies in pupil engagement, alongside strengthening their prioritization of pupil engagement. Pupil engagement will, thusly, increase. Based on these arguments, the 5th Thesis of the report forms itself thusly: A supplementary training course for teachers can increase pupil engagement, due to the way in which it develops the teachers’ competencies, and secures a greater prioritization of pupil engagement. The primary, and obvious, test of this thesis, is to analyze whether or not the supplementary training courses actually have an effect on the amount to which teachers engage the pupils in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the education. Based on these arguments, the first hypothesis for Thesis 5 is established thusly:

Hypothesis 5a:

05 THESES ON HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT CAN BE INCREASED

training, from these studies on leadership, has a positive effect on managerial behavior (Weber et al., 1996; Dvir et al., 2002; Hassan et al., 2010; Kelloway et al., 2000).

After participating in a supplementary training course, the teachers are more likely to engage the pupils in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the education.

Empirical support for the hypothesis cannot, however, stand alone. Based solely on this single hypothesis, it can be difficult to conclude whether or not the supplementary training course has had an effect, based on an increasing prioritization of pupil engagement, or if the effect is based on the development of competency. We are in need of two additional hypotheses. One concerns itself with the methods and tools from the supplementary training, and if these are being utilized by the teachers. The other concerns itself with whether or not the supplementary training courses have established a great prioritization of pupil engagement with the teachers. We expect a positive effect of the supplementary training on competencies and prioritization alike. Based on these arguments, the two hypotheses are established thusly:

77


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Hypothesis 5b: The teachers utilize the tools and methods from the supplementary training courses in their teachings. Hypothesis 5c: The supplementary training increases the teachers’ prioritization of pupil engagement in the education.

5.4.2 Thesis 6: Follow-up and sparring Learning skillsets in supplementary training is one thing, implementation, after returning to your own school, is something completely different. A supplementary training course will provide general knowledge of how you work in a specific area, while presenting you with concrete tools and work methods, all of which can be tested in practical exercises. Back at the school, it is important to convert the skillset and points from the supplementary training course into practical solutions for the classroom. There are quite a few obstacles connected with this idea e.g. that pupils respond in an unexpected way to certain exercises, or that the methods need to be adjusted to the specific educational course, being conducted at the given time. As we have reviewed in the above-mentioned part of the report, we expect an effect of the supplementary training in pupil engagement, in spite of the challenges that may present themselves in the implementation of the material in teachers’ everyday lives. We also expect that, during the implementation phase of the learned tools and methods in pupil engagement, additional follow-up, sparring, and assistance for the teachers will strengthen the effect of the supplementary training. Based on these arguments, Thesis 6 is established thusly: Subsequent follow-up and sparring with the participants of the supplementary training course, increases the effect of the supplementary training. This thesis gain empirical support in one of two ways. The first way is that the teachers are challenged in the implementation phase of pupil engagement in the education. An example of this could be due to insecurity with the teachers, and the way in which they can successfully work with the learned tools and methods in their own class, or because concrete attempts to work with pupil engagement did not lead to the expected reaction from the pupils. These arguments lead us to the first hypothesis on Thesis 6:

78


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

There is a challenge for the teachers, when back at their own schools, in implementing the methods and tools from the supplementary training courses in the education.

Another way for the Thesis to attain empirical support, is that a concrete course with follow-up and sparring makes it easier for the teachers to implement the tools and the methods for pupil engagement in the education. This argument leads us to the second hypothesis on Thesis 6:

Hypothesis 6b:

Follow-up and sparring help the teachers with the implementation of the tools and methods.

5.4.3 Thesis 7: The importance of support and sparring from the leadership As we have discussed in the above-mentioned review, if we want to increase pupil engagement, the actions of the immediate leaders are important, which can be attributed to the lack of initiative from the teachers, and this constitutes the initiative as an external phenomenon. Based on the motivation crowding theory, and the study by Mikkelsen et al. (2012) on the opportunity for public leaders to affect to perception of new initiatives for administration, it seems particularly important to secure a soft implementation of the initiatives for increasing pupil engagement. Our focus here is on the effort behind the initial supplementary training for increasing pupil engagement. The actions of the principal should, thusly, affect the teachers’ perception of the initiative for increasing pupil engagement, which in the end affects the amount of behavioral influence. Insofar as the principals contribute with a soft implementation of the initiative, by expressing support for the teachers’ work, alongside professional sparring with the teachers on the supplementary training, the initiative should, to a greater extent, be viewed as supportive of the teachers’ work, rather than seem controlling.

05 THESES ON HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT CAN BE INCREASED

Hypothesis 6a:

The effect of the supplementary training course will, thusly, be strengthened, and based on these arguments, Thesis 7 is established thusly: Support and sparring from the principal increases the effect of the supplementary training.

79


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

80


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Similarly to the previous theses, we require concrete testable hypotheses, in relation to this analysis, which focus on the individual elements of the arguments behind Thesis 7. The first part of the argument in relation to Thesis 7, revolves around the idea that the support from principals, is an important part of the principals’ soft implementation of the initiative for increasing pupil engagement, which makes it seem obvious to begin testing, whether or not the support from the leaders, when working with pupil engagement, is important for the teachers. Insofar as Thesis 7 should hold, we should identify empirical backup for the following hypothesis:

Hypothesis 7a: Support from the principal is important for the teachers in their work with strengthening pupil engagement.

In addition to the second part of the argument in Thesis 7, one could argue that professional sparring between the principals and the teachers, when working with pupil engagement, also constitutes an important part of the soft implementation of the external initiative from the principals. In order to test this argument, we are, similarly to Thesis 5 and 6, dependent on analyzing the principals’ professional sparring, alongside analyzing the importance of this professional sparring, in relation to the teachers’ work with increased pupil engagement in the education, which follows the teachers’ participation in the supplementary training. Insofar as this part of the argument is to gain empirical support, it is necessary to identify professional sparring from the principals for this work, alongside a recognition that this professional sparring has assisted the teachers in their work with pupil engagement. Based on these arguments, the remaining two hypotheses for Thesis 7 can be established thusly:

Hypothesis 7b: The teachers have had professional sparring from the principal, in relation to working with pupil engagement. Hypothesis 7c:

The professional sparring from the principal, in relation to pupil engagement, has assisted the teachers in working with pupil engagement..

With this, we are able to conclude the theoretical review in the following pages, which we conduct with an overview of Thesis 5, 6, and 7, with belonging hypotheses in table 5.1. Chapter 6 will follow with a review of the method of the report.

81


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Table 5.1 Complete outline of the theses and the operationalized hypotheses for the analysis of research question 2 Thesis Thesis 5:

Thesis 6:

Thesis 7:

82

A supplementary training course for teachers can increase pupil engagement, due to the way in which it develops the teachers’ competencies, and secures a greater prioritization of pupil engagement.

Subsequent follow-up and sparring with the participants of the supplementary training course, increases the effect of the supplementary training.

Support and sparring from the principal increases the effect of the supplementary training.

Hypothesis Hypothesis 5a

After participating in a supplementary training course, the teachers are more likely to engage the pupils in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the education.

Hypothesis 5b

The teachers utilize the tools and methods from the supplementary training courses in their teachings.

Hypothesis 5c

The supplementary training increases the teachers’ prioritization of pupil engagement in the education.

Hypothesis 6a

There is a challenge for the teachers, when back at their own schools, in implementing the methods and tools from the supplementary training courses in the education.

Hypothesis 6b

Follow-up and sparring help the teachers with the mplementation of the tools and methods.

Hypothesis 7a

Support from the principal is important for the teachers in their work with strengthening pupil engagement.

Hypothesis 7b

The teachers have had professional sparring from the principal, in relation to working with pupil engagement.

Hypothesis 7c

The professional sparring from the principal, in relation to pupil engagement, has assisted the teachers in working with pupil engagement.


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

83


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

6. The method of the report After having completed the seven theoretical theses for the two research questions, we arrive at the review of the method of the report. This task is quite extensive, which on one hand is due to the purpose of the report, in answering the two research questions, and on the other hand due to the report being the second, and qualitative, part of a larger research project, which is organized as a nested analysis, divided in to three parts. The central task in this methodical chapter is to determine the research design of the report, which establishes the specific method for the empirical analysis. Considering that the report is a part of a larger nested analysis, it becomes necessary to initiate with an introduction of this methodical framework, which we will complete in chapter 6.1. This introduction will emphasize the reasoning behind, there being an advantage found in combining quantitative and qualitative analyses in a nested analysis. Simultaneously, this will clarify that the literature on nested analysis establishes an array of demands for how a nested analysis should be conducted. These demands are, however, established on the basis of a set of assumptions, relating to the character of this type of analysis. We will, thusly, review the character of this report, and investigate how it differs from other analyses, in which nested analysis form the methodical framework. Based on this, we can discuss the consequences of the character of the report, and its effect on the completion of the qualitative analysis as a part of the nested analysis. Based on the introduction of the methodical framework regarding the report, chapter 6.2 will contain a review of the specific research design, alongside a review of our choices, in relation to the determination of the research design. This review will determine, which we have addressed in chapter 5, our need for developing, and conducting, a competency development course, which enables us to complete the empirical analysis of the three theses for the second research question in the report, which addresses the extent to which, and how, pupil engagement can be increased. Based on Thesis 5, 6 and 7, the competency development course should contain a supplementary training course for the teachers, followed by assistance for the implementation of pupil engagement in the education, alongside initiatives for securing support and sparring from the leaders in the teachers’ work with pupil engagement. We have completed this course in Randers Municipality, which, consequently, establishes this municipality, as the one in which the empirical data for the analysis has been gathered. This data is utilized in both the first and second research question. In addition to this, chapter 6.2 will investigate how we have converted the individual hypotheses in to the interview questions, and that the data has been collected through 20 interviews with pupils, teachers and principals. The 20 interviews have, primarily, been coded by using closed coding, followed by the completion of a process tracing analysis of the seven theses.

84


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Considering that the competency development course is crucial for the analysis of the second research question of the report, the development of this course becomes pivotal in relation to the report. At the same time, this is an assignment that challenges our social scientific academic ability. As discussed in chapter 5, the teachers’ competencies for pupil engagement are primarily pedagogical competencies. Based on our social scientific knowledge of coproduction and general supplementary training, we are unable to develop this type of course. It is an absolute necessity to base such a course in pedagogical theory. The final part of this chapter, chapter 6.3, will, separately, deal with the way in which we have developed the concrete course, based in pedagogical theory, and how the complete competency development course is composed.

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

Chapter 6.2 will, thusly, specify how we, concretely, have handled the methodical demands from the literature on nested analysis, in relation to the specific character of the analysis.

6.1 Nested analysis as the methodical framework for the report The primary task of this methodical chapter, is introducing the nested analysis as a methodical framework surrounding the report, and the overall research project on pupil engagement. As we have already discussed in the introduction of the report, the nested analysis is a methodical approach, which has its basis in the notion that qualitative and quantitative methods are not contrasts to each other, rather they can support one another. These methods each have their own research strengths, and are able to, in different ways, add value to the empirical analyses of research questions. Lieberman argues that “…the nested analysis approach has no particular affinity for any single theoretical approach, except for a more general positivist goal of causal inference.” (Lieberman, 2005: 437). The idea of combining quantitative and qualitative methods for a nested analysis, has emerged from a political scientific goal of being able to identify general causal connections. Apart from this goal, there is no affiliation between nested analysis and one single methodical approach. Studies on international politics surrounding the democratic peace theory, which is the thesis that democratic states do not enter into war with one another, is a good example of why nested analysis is relevant. Quantitative analyses have supported this thesis, which seems to create an empirical foundation for the theoretical notion that democratic states do not enter into war with one another. The quantitative analyses are, however, unable to identify the reason behind the unwillingness of democratic states to fight one another (Beach and Brun Pedersen, 2013: 10). Quantitative analyses find their strength in analyzing the correlation between the independent and the dependent variables, while simultaneously controlling for relevant third-party variables. These analyses do,

85


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

however, have shortcomings when dealing with the fourth criterion5 for causality: The theoretical instance for the connection, or, said differently, the mechanism connecting X to Y. A quantitative analysis of the democratic peace theory cannot fully answer the impact that democracy has on a society, which is the reason behind the unwillingness of said country to enter into a war with another democratic state. This shortcoming in quantitative studies is not a problem in natural scientific studies, where we are dealing with deterministic connections, and where correlations between two variables is sufficient for concluding causality. Social scientific studies, where the focus is on social creatures and therefore a complex world, have a central theme revolving around the mechanism ‘the causal pathway’ and discussion of causality (Lieberman, 2005: 442). Correlation in social scientific studies is not enough for concluding causality. In reality, correlation might be a result of another underlying connection. Quantitative and qualitative studies are different in their analytical interest. Quantitative analyses seek to identify and isolate the average effect of an independent variable on a dependent variable, which is also known as “effects of causes”. Qualitative studies seek, however, to explain how different effects are found, thereby a focus on ‘causes of effects’ (Bennett and Elman, 2006: 457-458; Mahoney, 2010: 132-133; Mahoney and Goertz, 2006: 230). When investigating different analytical interests, it becomes clear that the two methodical approaches are well-suited for supplementing each other. A quantitative analysis, in a nested analysis, has the ability to identify the effects of an independent variable on a dependent variable, and a qualitative analysis is, subsequently, able to identify the reasoning behind the existence of the effect6. The research project on pupil engagement utilizes the advantages of a nested analysis. In the first part of the research project, the quantitative analysis concluded that pupil engagement has a strong and robust effect on pupils’ academic ability, as well as their social commitment and well-being (Andersen et al., 2012). This report is followed by two qualitative analyses of how pupil engagement can be increased. It is expected that one concludes a nested analysis after completing the quantitative and qualitative segments. In this case, however, we will conduct a third segment of the research project, which comes in addition to the quantitative and qualitative analyses. The third part of the research project is established as a quantitative experiment

86

5

The third criterion is a correct chronological order between X and Y. With the example of the peace theory, the chronological order can be determined by reviewing historical data. In cases where the chronological order cannot be theoretically determined, quantitative and qualitative methods, alike, find their shortcomings. In situations such as these, it becomes necessary to utilize experimental method or process tracing.

6

Rækkefølgen kan naturligvis også være omvendt, så en nested analysis begynder med en kvalitativ analyse og følges op med en kvantitativ analyse. Det er en væsentlig diskussion i litteraturen, hvilken analyse man bør starte med, og hvordan man specifikt bør følge op på den kvantitative analyse med en kvalitativ. Denne debat vender vi tilbage til i afsnit 6.1.3.


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

on pupil engagement. The purpose of completing this experiment is to handle the challenge of a possible endogenous relationship between the independent variable, being pupil engagement, and the dependent variables, being academic ability, social commitment, and well-being. The purpose of the experiment is, thusly, to secure the chronological order of the causal-link, which is completed by removing the possibility for mutual influence between the independent and the dependent variables. As we have discussed earlier, an endogenous problem poses the biggest challenge for the results of the prefatory quantitative analysis on the effects of pupil engagement (Andersen et al.). The experiment handles this challenge, and by completing the quantitative experiment in a large scale, we are, not only, able to gain a strong internal validity in in the entire nested analysis, i.e. securing the causal connection, but also gain a strong external validity, i.e. generalizability. A strong external validity is especially relevant for the continuous analysis of the question regarding the extent to which, and how, pupil engagement can be increased. This report, thusly, constitutes the first empirical analysis of this question, and considering that we complete a qualitative study, the external validity is low. Based on this, the quantitative experiment provides, not only an answer to the possible endogenous problem, but also with generalizable results for a central research question. An overview over the entire research project can be viewed in table 1.1, which we have added here, for the sake of general comprehension.

Table 1.1: Overview of the research design, research questions, and the goals for the individual parts of the complete nested analysis on pupil engagement. Part of nested analysis

Research questions Research design

Does pupil engagement have an effect?

Section 1

Quantitative design with data from 3,475 pupils from 45 schools in 13 municipalities.

Result: Yes, it strengthens academic ability, well-being and social commitment.

Section 2 (this report)

Qualitative design

Section 3

Experimental design

Goal: Solving the endogenous problem and strengthening the control of third variables.

Why does pupil engage-ment have its effect?

How can pupil engagement be increased?

Goal: Analyzing the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement.

Goal: Thorough analysis of how pupil engagement can be increased. Goal: Analyzing the question in a largescale and in different intensities.

87


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

6.1.1 The theoretical character of the research questions A significant part of the discussion on the methodical literature on nested analysis, revolves around the way in which one should tackle the qualitative analysis and the case selection. In other words, the methodical discussion revolves around the preferable concrete method, one might utilize in order to reap the benefits of combining quantitative and qualitative methods. In order for us to be able to discuss the methodical approach to the qualitative analysis in this report, it becomes necessary to complete the prefatory discussions. In order to determine the method of analysis, we need to establish an understanding of the theoretical character of the research questions, which is absolutely crucial for addressing the analysis and case selection. On this basis, we initiate this subchapter with a discussion of the different definitions of the causal mechanisms, alongside the perspectives on the character of a causal mechanism, of which these definitions are an expression. We will, subsequently, review the perspective on causal mechanisms, on which the two research questions are an expression. From this basis, the two following subsections will review this material, in comparison to the consequence of the theoretical character of the research questions in relation to the case selection, followed by the analysis. The subsections will clarify the importance of the different intermediate results, in their relation to the determination of the research design for this report. We will begin by reviewing the first research question of the report: Why does pupil engagement have a positive effect on the pupils’ academic ability, well-being, and social commitment? As we have discussed in chapter 3 and 4, and as the question itself presents as obvious, the core of the first research question of the report, is an analysis of the mechanism explaining our findings of positive effects from pupil engagement on pupils’ academic ability, well-being and, social commitment. Up until this point, we have characterized this as the causal mechanism behind the positive effects of pupil engagement. Causal mechanisms can, however, be defined in different ways, which entails an importance in further investigating the question of how causal mechanisms can be defined, and how this research question and the derived theses, based on this investigation, should be understood. In that context, we should emphasize that the purpose of this review is not to deliver a complete and adequate theoretical, or for that matter philosophical, discussion of causality and causal mechanisms, nor is it practically possible. We will, accordingly, focus on one particular part of the literature on causal mechanisms. This part deals with a discussion on the distinction between causal mechanisms as the link between variables, and causal mechanisms as the intervening variable, which constitute the discussion relevant for the determination of the method of the report. For the sake of overview, we have, in anticipating of this distinction, illustrated the difference

88


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

.

Figure 6.1: The illustration of the causal mechanism between pupil engagement and academic ability, well-being and social commitment, respectively, as an intervening variable.

ACADEMIC ABILITY

PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

INTERVENING VARIABLE

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

between these two understandings, of the character of the causal mechanisms, in the following figures 6.1 and 6.2.

WELL-BEING

SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Figure 6.2: The illustration of the causal mechanism between pupil engagement and academic ability, well-being, and social commitment, respectively, as the link between variables.

ACADEMIC ABILITY

WELL-BEING

PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The Causal Mechanism

Starting from one specific approach, causal mechanisms can be understood as an array of intervening variables between the independent and the dependent variables (Beach and Brun Pedersen, 2013: 46). This is the case with the definition of causal mechanisms

89


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

argued by King, Keohane and Verba, stating that “This definition would also require us to identify a series of causal linkages, to define causality for each pair of consecutive variables in the sequence, and to identify the linkages between any two of these variables and the connections between each pair of variables.” (1994: 86; Beach and Brun Pedersen, 2013: 46). Causal mechanisms express, through this understanding, the reason behind the connection of the independent and the dependent variables. This argument can be illustrated starting from a qualitative analysis of the democratic peace theory. Rosato has investigated the causal mechanism between democracy and peace, which has lead him to a concrete argument, in which he argues that the democratic form of governance, by way of accountability, leads to antagonisms against political elitists, insofar as they adopt unpopular political decisions, which in turn has a negative effect on the politicians’ responsiveness for groups of anti-war sympathizers, in particular. These group constraints, established by anti-war sympathizers, thusly lead to peace. Accountability and group constraints are intervening variables, which can be empirically investigated (Ibid: 38). If accountability and group constraints, alike, can be identified, this model is unable to explain in detail, the way in which democracy leads to peace.

Figure 6.3: Rosato’s model regarding the causal connection between democracy and peace (From Beach and Brun Pedersen, 2013: 38)

DEMOCRACY

ACCOUNTABILITY

GROUP CONSTRAINTS

PEACE

A different approach to causal mechanisms, which focuses on the way in which the independent variable affects the dependent variable, is to view them as the link between the variables themselves. This is the approach argued by Hernes, who says that “a mechanism is a set of interacting parts – an assembly of elements producing an effect not inherently in any one of them. A mechanism is not so much about ‘nuts and bolts’ as about ‘cogs and wheels’ – the wheelwork or agency by which an effect is produced” (Ibid: 29). With this understanding of the causal mechanisms, the analytic example found in the democratic peace theory, will focus on the concrete actions, which lead from democratic governance to peace. Insofar as Rosato has utilized this understanding for his analysis, his argument would change, and argue that interest groups, in dealings with the government, campaign against war, and that the government follows by conducting conciliatory foreign policy, which leads to peaceful relations between other democracies (Ibid: 39).

90


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Adjusted model regarding the causal connection in the democratic peace-thesis (From Beach and Brun Pedersen, 2013: 40)

Kausalmekanismen

DEMOKRATI

AGITERING

REAKTION

Interessegrupper (krigsmodstandere)

Regering afhÌngig af støtte fra grupperne af krigsmodstand

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

Figure 6.4:

FRED

When utilizing the discussion of causal mechanisms, as we are utilizing as a starting point for this review, Beach and Brun Pedersen argues that the intervening variables are not, fundamentally, expressing a causal mechanism (Ibid: 36). A discussion of this argument might develop into a longer theoretical and philosophical discussion, which we will not enter into in this chapter. This report solely focuses on the two different perspectives on the definition of causal mechanism, where both are interesting and contribute with valuable input for the understanding of the precise connection between an independent and dependent variable. An analysis of the causal mechanism has its basis in the perception that one or more intervening variables are in play, which provides us with more information on the reasons are for the effects of the independent variable; said in other words, an identification of the variables by which it functions. An analysis of this type does not provide knowledge on the exact nature of the independent variable, i.e. how it, step by step, has its effect on the dependent variable. In order to answer this question, it is required to view the causal mechanism as the link between the independent and the dependent variables. Although we are dealing with two definitions of the same concept, and although one can discuss what the ideal definition is, we argue that there is an analytic advantage gained by viewing the different definitions as different perspectives, all of which contribute some amount of value. The review of the difference makes it seem obvious, which constitutes the importance of the definition of the causal mechanism, and why this holds significance for the analytical

91


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

method. The perspective on the causal mechanism is of necessity, when determining how to study it. Therefore, the understanding of the theoretical character of the research questions holds importance, in relation to the determination of the research design in the report. Naturally, the analysis could be completed by focusing on the link between the independent and the dependent variables in each research question, while focusing on the intervening variables. However, a closer look at the concluded theoretical theses shows that the logical result of the focus of the theses reveals that they are characterized as the intervening variables. The theses for the causal mechanism between pupil engagement, and the positive effect on pupils’ academic ability, well-being, and social commitment are motivation, responsiveness, recognition, and immediate strengthened competencies, respectively. Naturally, these theses hold focus on the way in which pupil engagement gains its effect on the dependent variables, which constitutes the reason for their deduction, but does not identify, step by step, how the variables are connected. Instead, the theses serve as the intervening variables. They illustrate the expectations that pupil engagement gains its effect by way of increasing pupils’ motivation, issued by teachers’ responsiveness, and by way of recognition of the pupil, and/or by way of immediate strengthened competencies. The same is the case when viewing the second research question of the report, which relates to the way in which pupil engagement can be increased. Until now, we have not addressed the analysis of this question as an analysis of a causal mechanism, but rather as an analysis of identifying anything with the ability to increase pupil engagement. Nevertheless, we are dealing with a qualitative analysis, in which we wish to closely examine the connection between the initiatives, on which we have established our theses, alongside the teachers’ behavior. It becomes relevant to consider the research question, alongside the theoretical character of expectation for the above-mentioned distinction between the two perspectives on a causal mechanism. The theoretical expectations clearly show that this research question, also, deals with an investigation of the connection, while focusing on an array of intervening variables. In this case, we expect that certain external initiatives will affect the teachers’ competencies and prioritization of pupil engagement, and that the initiatives, in that way, will lead to an increase in pupil engagement. Competencies and prioritization of pupil engagement can, thusly, be viewed as intervening variables. The research question has, on its own, a different character than the first research questions, and does not hold focus on the way in which a given effect is empirically identified. Naturally, this is in relation to the fact that the analysis of this research question constitutes the first empirical analysis of this particular question. In spite of this difference, the formulation of the research questions themselves holds significance in the establishment of an analysis of the connection between the external initiatives and level of pupil engagement, alongside two intervening variables.

92


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The understanding of the theoretical character of the research question, as described here, holds great importance for the qualitative analytical method. The literature on nested analysis, generally, sets the stage for the qualitative analysis being completed, either as fuzzy set case analyses, or as process tracing analyses (See among others Lieberman, 2005: 437, alongside Bennett and Elman, 2006: 459+468). The basic idea of fuzzy set case analyses is that each case is given a value between 0 and 1 in relation to their membership of a given category. The value of 1 represents full membership, and the value of 0 represents no membership. The method provides an opportunity for removing irrelevant variation between the cases, i.e. finding differences in countries being fully democratic or extremely democratic. The method is particularly strong for analyzing necessary and adequate connections (Ibid); however, it is not relevant for our analysis, considering that our empirical domain is not comprised by cases of countries or areas, but deals with people in the form of pupils, relating to the first research question, and the teachers, relating to the second research question. The literature suggests utilizing process tracing, as the analytical method, in cases where one wishes to investigate causal mechanisms. Process tracing is, thusly, the obvious method for this analysis of our two research questions. On the other hand, process tracing is an analytical method, which is extensively discussed in the methodical literature, and our distinction between the two perspectives on the causal mechanism, thusly, becomes particularly relevant. The discussion regarding process tracing is strongly connected to the understanding of causal mechanisms.

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

6.1.2 The qualitative analytical method of a nested analysis

One approach to process tracing is viewing it as a method, which can be utilized for analyzing the link between different variables. It is, thusly, an approach that connects itself to a specific perspective on causal mechanisms, of which Hernes’ definition is an expression (Beach and Brun Pedersen, 2013). Insofar as we wished to complete this type of process tracing analysis in this report, we should have derived the expectations for the individual parts in the connection between the variables, i.e. the actions, which is illustrated in the above-mentioned in figure 6.4. Based on this, it would be necessary to have completed the empirical analysis, in order to clarify whether or not empirical evidence exist for each of the steps in the process. A particular focus would be needed for identifying the, so-called, smoking gun evidence, which is completed in order to prove the existing connections. The imagery from crime fiction emphasizes that this type of process tracing holds focus on identifying a link, i.e. evidence for a connection between the independent and the dependent variables, which one can compare to catching a murderer with a smoking gun in his hand.

93


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Our approach to the analysis is different, which can be attributed to the perspective on causal mechanism, expressed by the seven theses. The method of analysis in the report should provide a result for the assignment of investigating whether or not the specific hypotheses can be empirically identified, which entails that there is empirical support for the derived intervening variables for the different theses. Although this method differs from the method described in this section, it is also called process tracing (See among other George and Bennett, 2005: 205-232). We, thusly, follow the methodical literature on nested analysis, by utilizing process tracing to analyze the two research questions of the report, but emphasize that this process tracing7 holds focus on testing the concrete hypotheses for each of the seven theses, which we investigated in chapters 4 and 5. The advantage to this approach is that it is easier to identify, and subsequently, measure intervening variables as the causal mechanism, than it is to identify the link between variables (Beach and Brun Pedersen, 2013: 37). The way in which we, more precisely, have completed this task, will be addressed in chapter 6.2, in which we review the specific research design.

6.1.3 The selection of case: A central question A discussion that finds itself central in the general qualitative literature, and the literature on nested analysis in particular, is the discussion relating to the way in which one should select cases for a qualitative analysis (e.g. Lieberman, 2005: 443448; Bennett and Elman, 2006: 461; Mahoney and Goertz: 239-241; Rohlfing, 2008; Beach and Brun Pedersen, 2013: 153-171). The discussion is particularly evident in the literature on nested analysis, which can be attributed to two reasons. First of all, it is primarily the researchers in international politics and comparative politics, who utilize nested analysis. The primary empirical domain found in research projects, within these areas of political science, are often times countries, areas, and events. In advance of the case selection, one has a rather extensive knowledge on specific cases, which, often times, encompass the value of the case, and its effect on the independent and the dependent variables. Therefore, there is a natural focus on which of the different cases one should select for an empirical analysis. Second of all, the case selection is particularly important in the literature on nested analysis, due to the literature giving cause to completing the case selection among those cases that were a part of the prefatory qualitative analysis, and based on the individual circumstances surrounding the cases in the quantitatively identified connection (see Lieberman, 2005 for an introduction on this line of thought; Beach and Brun Pedersen, 2013: 153-171 for a discussion on the method of selection, and Rohlfing, 2008 for a critique of Lieberman’s suggestion for use of method). 7

94

We are fully aware that Beach and Brun Pedersen (2013) would argue that their approach is the correct type of process tracing, while other approaches cannot be described as process tracing.


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

Naturally, the case selection is important, in relation to answering the two research questions in this report; there is, however, a different character of the analysis, compared to the starting point of the methodical literature. Our empirical domain does not comprise of countries, areas, or events, but rather individuals in the form of pupils and teachers. The prefatory quantitative analysis on the effects of pupil engagement has its starting point in subject data on the pupils, and when dealing with increasing the pupils’ engagement, the teachers naturally become the central players. We are, thusly, unable to select specific pupils, based on their values in the quantitative analysis, considering that their answers were anonymous, as is the norm when dealing with subject data. Likewise, we are unable to select teachers based on the quantitative analysis, which initiates the study of pupil engagement as dependent variable in the research project. Similarly, it is not practically possible to have a starting point in schools as the empirical domain, which would enable one to select one or more specific schools to serve as cases, based on particular characteristics of the school. Previous to the analysis, we have not had access to the same amount of data, available to the public on the individual schools, as we would have had if we were dealing with countries or historical events. A big part of the available information needs to be found at the municipal level, from which there is a quite a long way to the individual pupil and teacher. In relation to the selection of case for this qualitative analysis, which, in practice, is a selection of certain people, we are required to stick to two main arguments. First of all, the quantitative analysis showed that although pupil engagement varied from pupil to pupil, all the 3,475 engaged pupils were engaged to some extent (Andersen et al., 2012: 24). Considering that the majority of pupils are engaged in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the education, when dealing with the relation to the case selection, it seems unlikely that we spoil the possibility for studying the causes behind the effect of pupil engagement. Second of all, it is not possible to complete the analysis of the second research question without initiating with the development and execution of a supplementary training course. By completing this type of course, we automatically ensure the possibility of analyzing the effect of the course, among the participants in question. The circumstances surrounding the analysis, thusly, entails that the case selection, of necessity, is conducted differently, compared to the way in which the literature recommends conducting for the qualitative part of a nested analysis. Considering that we run the risk of selecting cases, which definitely spoils our possibility of completing the analysis itself, the most important task, in relation to case selection, becomes avoiding a distortion of the analysis. In relation to the following chapter 6.2, regarding the method of the report, which deals with the case selection. Our main focus here will be to avoid a distortion from the selected cases.

95


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

.

6.2 The specific research design The above-mentioned overview made the reasons clear for the advantage in combining quantitative and qualitative analyses in a nested analysis. The overview made it clear that although the literature on nested analyses argues for a certain approach to the qualitative part of the complete research project, the concrete research design is, in the end, dependent on the character of the analysis. We have, thusly, already discussed how this report utilizes process tracing for the analysis, in a very specific perspective on the character of the causal mechanisms, alongside a discussion of our approach to case selection, which differs from the approach in the literature. The following section will provide an overview of the specific research design for the analysis. The overview will be completed in four parts. The two primary parts of the section will investigate the data foundation for the analysis. This part will, therefore, focus on the type of data utilized for the empirical analysis, alongside a discussion of the importance of gathering data from pupils, teachers, and principals. Thereupon, the focus shifts to the cooperation with Randers municipality, and the execution of the competency development course and collection of the data in this municipality. The third part of the section will focus on the way in which the collection of data itself has been conducted, with a specific focus on the way in which we have converted the individual hypotheses to concrete interview questions. The fourth, and final part, of this section will investigate the analytical strategy, which establishes the way in which we have utilized coding of the transcribed interviews, alongside process tracing for the analysis.

6.2.1 The foundation of data We initiate this section by investigating the data foundation, from which our empirical analysis has its starting point. The discussion regarding the theoretical character of the research questions and the theses, ended with an important argument relating to the determination of the data foundation. The analysis of both research questions can be characterized as a process tracing analysis of a mechanism, constituted by the connection between an independent and a dependent variable, by way of one or more intervening variables. The data foundation is, thusly, characterized in such a way that it is possible to investigate, whether or not these intervening variables can be empirically identified. There is no evidence of any written sources that might have assisted in establishing the starting point for this analysis, which would often have been the case if we were dealing with, e.g., an analysis of a country. The relevant relationships surrounding the education in a specific classroom, and the teachers’ behavior, have not been determined in writing, which forces us to locate the relevant data foundation with the central players in school.

96


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Naturally, the pupils and the teachers are pivotal in relation to the analysis of the first research question in the report, which deals with the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. The pupils’ learning is the goal of the education, and it is their academic ability, well-being, and social commitment that the quantitative analysis recognizes as being affected positively from pupil engagement. The teachers are central players in this relation, because they are responsible for the education. Their reaction to the pupils’ input is, thusly, important as it leads to pupil engagement; similarly, it is the teachers who experience the way in which pupils react to being engaged in relation to the education. The principals have previously worked as teachers, similarly to our expectation that several of them, from time to time, oversee the teachers’ teachings. One might, thusly, expect that the principals have experience from the pupils’ reactions to pupil engagement, and subsequent knowledge on the effects of pupil engagement on the pupils.

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

The analysis is, thusly, established on a collection of interviews with pupils, teachers, and principals8. All of these participants are able, in different ways, to contribute with knowledge on the necessity for completing the empirical test of the hypotheses for the seven theoretical theses.

In relation to the analysis of the second research question, it is, obviously, the teachers who are the central players. It is the teachers’ behavior that the different external initiatives are meant to affect. The pupils and principals can, however, also contribute with useful knowledge for the analysis. The pupils have knowledge regarding what goes on in the classroom, which entails knowledge on the way in which initiatives have affected education and the educational situation. The principals can contribute with knowledge, for the part of the analysis dealing with the effect of support and sparring for the teachers. All three groups of players are, thusly, able to contribute with useful knowledge, all of which being useful for the analysis of both research questions. We have gathered these contributions, for each of the two questions, in table 6.1.

8

In some cases, it might not be the actual principal, but rather it might have been a pedagogical leader. We will, however, only use the principal description for any representative of the school administration, who have participated in the competency development course and interviews.

97


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Table 6.1: Outline of the data contribution to the analysis from the pupils, teachers and principals. Pupils Research question 1: Why does pupil engagement have positive effects on pupils’ academic ability, well-being, and social commitment? Research question 2: Can pupil engagement be increased, and how?

Teachers

Principals

Knowledge on the importance that pupil engagement has on the education.

Knowledge on the importance of pupil engagement, and its effect on the education, alongside the pupils’ reactions to being engaged.

Knowledge on the importance of pupil engagement, and its effect on the education, alongside the pupils’ reactions to being engaged.

Knowledge on the amount to which teachers engage the pupils after having participated in supplementary training courses, and whether or not they utilize the tools and methods from the courses*.

Knowledge, which is relevant for all three theses:

Knowledge on, whether or not, support and sparring from the principals is, generally, important for the teachers, and whether or not it specifically holds value in relation to the participation of the teachers in the supplementary training courses.

Based on the initiatives, is pupil engagement increased? Are competencies and prioritizations strengthened? Are follow-ups and sparring important? Are support and sparring from the principals important?

*

As will be discussed in section 6.3, two of the teachers will participate in the supplementary training course, which entails that they will obtain knowledge on the methods and tools, being a part of the training.

As we have discussed earlier, there is some presence of pupil engagement in every class, which opens the possibility of completing the analysis of the first research question of the report by collecting data on the existing pupil engagement. The analysis is not as straight forward in relation to the second research question of the report. As we have discussed in the theoretical review of chapter 5, we are in need of developing and conducting a supplementary training course for the teachers (Thesis 5), which will enable us to test whether or not pupil engagement can be increased by strengthening teachers’ competencies and prioritization of pupil engagement. In continuation to this course, it becomes necessary to complete a course with follow-up and sparring

98


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

with the teachers, in relation to their implementation of the methods and tools in the school (Thesis 6). Finally, it becomes necessary to complete an initiative, which could secure the support and sparring from the principals in relation to the work with pupil engagement (Thesis 7). The complete set of courses, containing these three elements, are referred to as a competency development course. It is a large task to develop, and conduct, this type of competency development course. The task in reviewing the contents and composition of the course, will, thusly, lead us to a separate section, which constitutes section 6.3. In this chapter, we will exclusively focus on how the competency development course has been conducted, and how this is connected to the data foundation of the analysis.

6.2.2 Cooperation with Randers Municipality The participants for the competency development course, which also constitutes the interview participants, have been found by way of a cooperation between Randers Municipality, where the focus have been conducting the competency development course for two pupils, two teachers and the principal from a collection of schools in Randers Municipality. This cooperation forms the starting point for the case selection. As we discussed in section 6.1.3, the primary task, in relation to the case selection for this empirical analysis, is choosing a case that does not run the risk of distorting the analysis. A review of the relationships in the school area in Randers Municipality, and the concrete cooperation with Randers Municipality, show that there are no conditions pointing to such a problem. As mentioned earlier, we do not have access to a great deal of particularly relevant characteristics on the school level, instead we rely on an overview of an array of variables on the municipality level, which holds importance for the situation for the individual school, and shows that Randers Municipality should be viewed as a completely average Danish municipality in the school area. In the index of the ministry of economic affairs and the ministry of the interior, Randers only scores a little better than the national average, and the pupils are, thusly, generally not from particularly wealthy or particularly underprivileged families. The population density in urban areas is also just around the national average. On the other hand, the net expenditures of the municipality on the public school has an average of 9.6% per pupil, which is above the average for the 98 Danish municipalities (The Key Figures from the Municipalities (translated by ed. from De Kommunale Nøgletal,) 2013). This difference does, however, not seem to be of great significance, which entails that we should not encounter a significant problem in selecting pupils, teachers, and principals from schools within Randers Municipality for this analysis. It is, thusly, not necessary for us to complete the analysis in a municipality that precisely expresses the average for Denmark; our priority is on avoiding a distortion of the analysis.

99


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

In the cooperation agreement with the Association of Danish Pupils (see appendix 1), Randers Municipality committed themselves to identifying a minimum of four schools for participation in a competency development course, in return, the pupils, teachers and principals from the participating schools would receive the courses at no expense. From this basis, Randers Municipality has encouraged all the principals from the public schools, who have classes that will graduate within a minimum of 3 years, in the municipality to register for the courses, but it has been voluntarily for the individual principals, whether or not the school has been registered for the project. Voluntary participation, usually, entails a risk of self-selection, which means that participation from the people, or organizations, are all positive or negative, which is dependent on the project type. This risk does not pose a big problem in this case, considering that it is the principals, and not the teachers being the main players of the competency development course, who have registered for the course. Naturally, we are unable to refuse that some principals may have spoken with the teachers before registering for the course. In fact, this seems rather likely. The experience with the participants of the courses, left us with the impression that teachers with a positive attitude and teachers with a negative attitude participated equally, which entails that no systematic, or problematic, self-selection was present. In relation to this, it is worth noting that even if there had been a problematic self-selection, the quantitative experiment, following this report as the third and final part of the complete nested analysis, would take this problem into account. The participating schools in the experiment will be found by random selection, and the subsequent analyses of the experiment will not contain any form of problematic self-selection. Considering that all 9 principals from Randers Municipality have opted to register their schools for the project, we can safely make the assumption that they have all had a positive attitude towards the project. It does, however, not pose a significant problem for the analysis, considering that it is the teachers’ behavior that the competency development course has a particular focus on affecting. From a pool of 22 public schools in Randers Municipality, all of which have classes with pupils who will graduate within three years, nine schools have participated in the course. The principals from eight of the nine public schools have been interviewed, following their participation in the course9. Considering that two pupils and two teachers from every school participated, it has, due to lack of resources, not been possible to interview all pupils and teachers. Before completing the competency development course, thusly before we knew the concrete pupils and teachers participating, we randomly selected three public schools from the complete pool of nine schools. All in all, six pupils, six teachers and eight principals have, thusly, been interviewed in relation to the empirical analysis.

9

100

The ninth principal had to cancel in the last minute, which means that this principal was not interviewed.


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Even though we, from this basis, are working with data from different schools, we still consider the analysis as a single case study of pupil engagement. As a result of this, our purpose for the analysis is not to compare the individual people in the interview, or schools, with each other, then to analyze the consequences of the differences between them, as one would do in a comparative case study. Instead, our purpose is to complete an in-depth process tracing analysis of whether or not the individual hypotheses can be empirically identified, and, in this manner, test to see which of the theses gain empirical support. The people for the interviews will, thusly, not be compared with each other to analyze differences, but rather supplement each other in order to attain the best possible understanding of the connections.

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

In addition to this, we concluded the second training course for pupils and teachers by completing a joint evaluation of the course, which held focus on the specific content of the course, but also having some focus on the way in which the course generally worked in relation to the work with pupil engagement in the school.

6.2.3 The data collection The data collection from the six pupils, six teachers and eight principals, has been conducted by completing individual semi-structured interviews. By conducting semistructured interviews, we have secured that every interview will clarify all the subjects that we wanted clarification on, but also that we have had the opportunity to follow the conversations, and conduct the proper follow-up questions for any interesting statements. This has strengthened our chance for securing every nuance, which we consider as having an essential strength with these types of in-depth, and qualitative, analyses. From that basis, the composed interview guides contain questions for all the subjects that we wanted to address, but have all functioned as a checklist for the individual interviews. Considering that we have conducted interviews in three different groups of players, who all contribute with different value for the analysis, we have developed an interview guide for each group of players. In addition to this, the approach has secured our ability to adjust the language between them. We have a situation where all the teachers and principals have a pedagogical education, which entails an understanding of pedagogical technical terms, but the pupils, being 13-14 years old, obviously lack this education. As a result, the questions for the pupils are formulated in a simpler and comprehensible language, without any technical terms, and the interview is conducted with a greater focus on creating security for the interview situation. Every interview has been structured in the same manner. For each of the subjects touched upon in the interview, we initiate with asking an open question. This approach secures that the participants for the interview has the opportunity of replying with spontaneous

101


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

and immediate answers (Harris et al., 2010: 158), and that they are able to talk freely about the subject, without being led in a specific direction. As will be made clear by the analysis in chapter 7, this approach proves to be particularly advantageous in relation to the analysis of the four competing hypotheses on the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. We have prepared an array of follow-up, and more specific, questions, as a follow-up to the initial opening questions. These are put forward in cases, where the participants of the interview have not touched upon a subject that is important to clarify in relation to the analysis of the different hypotheses. As we have already discussed on several occasions, the different groups of players contribute with value in different ways, all in relation to the way in which they answer the research questions. In table 6.2 and 6.3, found in the following pages, we have garnered an overview on the focus of the questions for each of the groups of players, in relation to the interviews. The tables, thusly, provide us with an overview on the way in which the collection of data, by way of three different groups of players, have been conducted, and subsequently derived into the hypotheses from chapter 4 and 5. There are two approaches to the questions regarding the four hypotheses for the first research question, which deal with the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. Every participant for the interviews have been asked these questions. The interview questions for the hypotheses relating to thesis 1, 2, and 4 are initiated with a single open question, which asks to the significance of pupil engagement on the educational situation. This question is, eventually, followed by concrete questions for the individual hypotheses. The questions for the hypotheses, relating to Thesis 3, are somewhat different, due to the importance for the analysis in gaining knowledge on the type of inputs pupils provide for the education, and how the teachers utilize these inputs. The teachers are, to a great extent, the focus of the analysis of the second research question of the report, relating to the amount to which, and how, pupil engagement can be increased. The teachers have been posed questions for all three theses, with a focus on the relevancy of the supplementary training course, as well as their general follow-up initiatives from the teachers, and/or the principals, on the work with pupil engagement, alongside the value of the concrete completed follow-up initiatives. Table 6.3 will also show the hypotheses, for which pupils and principals have contributed with knowledge. The pupils have been asked questions in regards to eventual changes in the education, which happened following the competency development course. The principals have, in that relation, been asked questions in regards to their utilization of the supplementary training course for the employees in the school, and the way in which they have utilized the tools and methods provided from the courses in which they participated

102


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

103


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Table 6.2: Focus in the interview questions for the pupils, teachers and principals, in relation to the first research question of the report. Theses

Thesis 1: Pupil engagement has its effect, because it increases pupils’ motivation.

104

Hypotheses

Focus of the questions for the pupils

Focus of the questions for the teachers and principals

1a: Whenever they are engaged, pupils have a greater desire for actively participating in the education.

Initiating question: When teachers engage the pupils, what effects are observed on the education?

1b: Whenever they are engaged, the pupils are more committed to their education.

Insofar as commitment and willingness are not present in the pupils’ answers, we specifically ask towards their presence.

Thesis 2: Pupil engagement has its effect, because it increases pupils’ self-confidence.

2a: Whenever they are engaged, pupils feel more confident with speaking.

The starting point is found in the initiating questions for the pupils, as observed by Thesis 1.

The starting point is found in the initiating questions for the teachers, as observed by Thesis 1.

2b: Whenever they are engaged, pupils feel more confident with actively participating in their education.

Insofar as confidence in speaking and confidence in actively participating are not a part of the pupils’ answer, we specifically ask towards their motivation in relation to pupil engagement.

Insofar as confidence in speaking and confidence in actively participating are not a part of the teachers’ answer, we specifically ask towards the pupils’ self-confidence in relation to pupil engagement.

Thesis 3: Pupil engagement has its effect, because teachers adapt the education based on input from the pupils.

3a: Pupils’ inputs are useful, and possible to implement in the education.

The pupils are asked the following questions: How do the teachers react to the input from the pupils? Which type of effect does this have on the education? What type of input are they putting forth?

The teachers are asked the following questions: What type of input is typically put forth from the pupils? How do they utilize the input in relation to the education?

Thesis 4: Pupil engagement has its effect, because it strengthens pupils’ academic ability in an immediate fashion.

4a: Whenever they are engaged, pupils become better at reflecting on the type of education fitting optimally with their needs.

The starting point is found in the initiating questions, as observed by Thesis 1.

The starting point is found in the initiating questions for the teachers, as observed by Thesis 1.

3b: The teachers adapt the education based on input from the pupils.

4b: Whenever they are engaged, pupils becomes verbally stronger. 4c: Whenever they are engaged, pupils become better at written work.

Insofar as the pupils do not mention directly that they gain knowledge, whether it is reflection, verbal competencies or written competencies, we specifically ask in regards to what they learn from this process.

Initiating question: When being engaged, how do pupils react? Insofar as commitment and willingness are not present in the teachers’ answer, we specifically ask about the pupils’ motivation in relation to pupil engagement.

Insofar as the teachers do not mention directly that the pupils gain knowledge, whether it is reflection, verbal competencies or written competencies, we specifically ask in regards to what the pupils learn from this process


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Focus in the interview questions for the pupils, teachers and principals, in relation to the second research question of the report. Theses

Hypotheses

Focus of the questions for the pupils

Focus of the questions for the teachers and principals

Thesis 5: A supplementary training course for teachers can increase pupil engagement, due to the way in which it develops the teachers’ competencies, and secures a greater prioritization of pupil engagement.

5a: After participating in a supplementary training course, the teachers are more likely to engage the pupils in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the education.

The pupils are asked questions in relation to how they have worked with pupil engagement in the school, after participating in the course, alongside asking to whether or not the teachers use the concrete tools and methods in relation to the teachings.

The teachers are asked questions in relation to how much they, generally, can use from the supplementary training course, and how they found the course in this relation; in addition to questions relating to the amount to which they can utilize the concrete methods and tools, with which they have worked.

Thesis 6: Subsequent follow-up and sparring with the participants of the supplementary training course increases the effect of the supplementary training.

6a: There is a challenge for the teachers, when back at their own schools, in implementing the methods and tools from the supplementary training courses in the education.

Thesis 7: Support and sparring from the principal increases the effect of the supplementary training.

7a: Support from the principal is important for the teachers, in their work with strengthening pupil engagement.

5b: The teachers utilize the tools and methods from the supplementary training courses in their teachings. 5c: The supplementary training increases the teachers’ prioritization of pupil engagement in the education.

6b: Follow-up and sparring help the teachers with the implementation of the tools and methods.

7b: The teachers have had professional sparring from the principal in relation to working with pupil engagement. 7c: The professional sparring from the principal, in relation to pupil engagement, has assisted the teachers in working with pupil engagement.gelse.

Focus of the questions for the principals

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

Table 6.3:

Teachers, who have received follow-up and sparring, are asked questions relating to their need for follow-up and sparring, alongside questions investigating the way in which the concrete follow-up and sparring has had value for them. The teachers are asked questions in relation to their cooperation with the principal on the education, the principal’s work with pupil engagement, and the possible need for assistance and support from the principal.

The principals are asked questions in relation to their general usage of supplementary training, and what they have been able to utilize from the course, in which they have participated, working on pupil engagement in the school.

105


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Apart from the above-mentioned overview of our focus in the questions, in relation to the individual groups of players, we have annexed the three specific interview guides in appendix 2-4. Two relationships are particularly important in relation to the three specific interview guides. Primarily, we focused questions on the different subjects, by asking questions in regards to specific situations from the education, e.g. how the pupil have reacted to concrete situations involving pupil engagement. This approach secures that the participants in the interview are guided in a concrete direction, which entails that we, and not the participants of the interview, are able to interpret the situations from the teachings. Secondarily, all groups of players have been asked questions in regards to what pupil engagement means to them, alongside questions in regards to how they experienced their part of the competency development course, in which they have participated. These questions, investigating the way in which the participants of the interview understand the concept of pupil engagement, have, for the remainder of the interview, enabled us to focus on their understanding of pupil engagement. Insofar as it may have significantly diverged from the definition forming the basis of the entire analysis, we have been able to use some resources on specifically asking the correct questions, which became relevant whenever we used pupil engagement as a term. The purpose of asking questions in relation to the competency development course itself, has been to secure knowledge in relation to the importance of the effect identified in the specific composition of the course, but also to secure the possibility of evaluating the course. In the third section of the complete nested analysis, it is essential to the experimental research design to focus on the competency development course, which entails importance in considering eventual adjustments ahead of completing the quantitative experiment. The interviews have been conducted after the pupils, teachers, and principals have completed the entirety of the competency development course. Due to practical reasons, the interviews with the six pupils and six teachers have been completed at the site of the course, directly following the last day of the course, whilst the principals have been interviewed at their own schools. All 20 interviews have been transcribed in their full length, which, all in all, have given 189 pages of interview material. These can be attained in an anonymous transcript, should anyone wish to see them. In addition to the individual interviews, we, in relation to completing the competency development course, concluded a joint evaluation of the complete courses for each of the three participating groups. Considering that in the region of 36 people (18 teachers and 18 pupils) have participated in this evaluation at the same time, it has not been practically applicable to transcribe the evaluation in the same manner, as has been possible with the individual interviews. Instead, we have chosen to

106


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Based on this, we can conclude the review of the collection of data for the empirical analysis. We, thusly, only need to review the analytical strategy in the following section, alongside the development of the competency development course in section 6.3, which allows us to enter into the empirical analysis.

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

take notes during the group evaluations, which greatly focus on the content and composition of the specific competency development course. These notes have been a part of the background knowledge, in relation to forming the analysis itself. Whenever we utilize arguments from the group interviews in the analysis, it will be explicitly evident.

6.2.4 Analytical strategy In section 6.1, we determined that the end goal of the analysis on the two research questions, is characterized by being the identification of possible intervening variables between our independent and dependent variables. Considering that our approach for the analysis is an empirical test of the theoretically derived theses and hypotheses, we are dealing with a hypothetical-deduction, and have developed the three interview guides based on the derived hypotheses. This prompts us to utilize a deductive analytical strategy (see among others David and Sutton, 2004: 203-207 and Jakobsen and Harrits, 2010: 173-191). In order to test the extent to which the hypotheses for each of the seven theses find empirical support, we complete a process tracing analysis of the transcribed interviews. For the sake of the process tracing analysis, we have coded the interviews with a starting point from a closed coding list, which have been established based on the hypotheses. The usage of closed coding is possible, because our theoretical terms and expectations for the analysis have been clearly defined, beforehand. We have, thusly, not generated new codes during the course of the analytical process. The end-coding-list utilized, which can be viewed in the following table 6.4, consists of a code hierarchy, and, thusly, contains rather abstract over-coding and specific undercoding. Abstract over-coding and specific under-coding are also known as manifest and latent coding, and this approach secures that the manifest over-coding are linked to the latent under-coding. An example of over-code is motivation, which is connected to the three under-codes, willingness for participation, engagement in the education, and reasons behind increased motivation. The fundamental arguments to this approach for the coding, is that it is easier to handle the many codes, which naturally follow in situations where one wants to complete qualitative analyses of abstract terms and relationships, all of which have their starting point in the interview data. The code list contains a total of 10 over-codes, each of which have 2-5 under-codes. Seven of the 10 over-codes are formulated from a basis of the theoretical theses, and

107


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

the related latent codes are, thusly, heavily based on the hypotheses. During the coding process, this approach secures that we code all the comments from the participants of the interviews that deal with the overarching thesis, as well as the specific hypotheses. As made clear by table 6.4, we have added an extra under-code, relating to the reasons for the individual effects for each of the four theses, which have been derived in relation to the first research question, regarding the mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. As we have discussed earlier in this chapter, the derived mechanisms are greatly characterized as a sort of intervening variable between the independent variable pupil engagement, and the three dependent variables. It does, however, seem relevant to identify, insofar as the participants for the interviews touch on these areas, the additional steps connecting pupil engagement with the mechanisms. The undercodes have been derived in order to detect statements revolving around these themes. On the other hand, it does not seem logical to add this type of under-coding to the three over-codes, which all deal with theses for the second research question of the report. These theses happen to have a somewhat different character. They focus on the way in which the complete competency development course affects the teachers’ competencies and prioritization of pupil engagement, and it, thusly, becomes obvious that increased competencies for, and prioritization of, pupil engagement, from the teachers, is a result of the course. Apart from the codes that relate to the theses and hypotheses, the code list contains three other manifest codes with associating latent coding. The code relating to pupil engagement is utilized in order to gain insight into the understanding of pupil engagement by the participants of the interviews. The code related to the level of pupil engagement is utilized in order to gain knowledge on the teachers’ average level of pupil engagement, in addition to the amount to which they experience other constraints in increasing pupil engagement, different from the ones we have derived theoretically. The code relating to the composition of the training course, is utilized in order to analyze and evaluate, the way in which the developed competency development course has worked. The following table 6.4 marks the conclusion on the review of the specific research design of the report. This chapter has investigated the data foundation utilized for the empirical analysis, how we have gathered the data, and, finally, how we analyze said data. From this basis, it is necessary to review the development and content of the competency development course, which allows us to complete the analysis itself.  

108


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

End-code-list for the analysis of the interviews, in relation to the research questions in the report. Primary-codes

Under-codes

Pupil engagement

Description All statements and descriptions of the perception and understanding of the concept of pupil engagement.

Level of pupil engagement

• Norm regarding the integration of engagement in everyday life • Wanting more engagement • Constraints for engagement

All statements of the descriptions that deal with the level of pupil engagement (current as well as potential).

Motivation

• Wanting to participate • Commitment to the education • Reasons for increased motivation

All statements regarding mechanisms dealing with motivation, which activate with the pupils, in relation to increased pupil engagement.

Self-confidence

• Courage for speaking • Active in the classroom • Reasons for increased motivation

All statements regarding selfconfidence, which activate with pupils, in relation to increased pupil engagement.

Responsiveness

• Adjustments to the education • Useful input • Reasons for increased responsiveness

All statements regarding the teachers’ adjustment of the education, based off the pupils’ inputs.

Competencies

• • • •

All statements regarding pupils’ competencies in relation to increased pupil engagement.

Supplementary training

• More engagement • Use of toolset • Focus on pupil engagement

All statements regarding the effect of the supplementary training course.

Composition of the training course

• • • • •

All statements regarding the way in which the composition of the training course functions.

Effect of the principal

• Importance of support from the principal • Sparring with the principal on pupil engagement • Effect of sparring with the principal

All statements regarding the course for the principals, and its relevancy,

Follow-up

• The need for follow-up and feedback • The value of follow-up and feedback

All statement regarding the consultant visit, and its relevancy.

Reflection Oral competencies Written competencies Reasons for increased competencies

The scope of the course The content of the course Pupil participation Several courses Miscellaneous in relation to the course

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

Table 6.4:

109


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

110


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Earlier in this chapter, we established that the development and execution of a competency development course is a central task, in order to complete the analysis of the second research question of the report. We have also reviewed the way in which the competency development course has been conducted in Randers Municipality, where pupils, teachers and principals from nine of the 22 schools in the municipality participated, all of which are from classes that graduate from public school within three years; this overview has, several times throughout the chapter, been referred to. We still need, however, to review the development of the competency development course. This investigation will be conducted in the third, and final, section of chapter 6, regarding the method of the report. We have set aside an entire chapter for this assignment, considering that it is extensive and central for the analysis, as well as for the second research question of the report, alongside the completion of the quantitative experiment in the third and concluding part of the research project on pupil engagement.

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

6.3 The development of the competency development course

The review of the competency development course will be completed in five sections. The first two sections of the chapter focus on, the way in which we handle the challenge of the shortcomings of political science, which is in relation to the development of the specific competency development course that holds the purpose of increasing pupil engagement. In the final three sections of the chapter, we will follow with a review of the individual parts of the course as a whole. One after the other, we will discuss the supplementary training, manifested as a course for teachers and pupils, cf. Thesis 5, a consultant visit focusing on helping the teachers in their implementations of the methods and tools from the courses, cf. Thesis 6, and a course for principals, which is conducted in order to secure their help and sparring in relation to the teachers, cf. Thesis 7.

6.3.1 The need for utilizing pedagogical theory The competencies that we wish to develop, can on one hand be understood as the teachers’ competencies for coproduction, which fits well with our political scientific knowledge on coproduction. On the other hand, there is no way to get away from the fact that the teachers’ competency in pupil engagement is inevitably connected to the teachers’ pedagogical professionalism. In order to develop a competency development course for teachers, where the end goal is to increase pupil engagement in the schools, it is very much the teachers’ pedagogical competencies that have to be developed further. In order to develop said competency development course, we cannot solely have our starting point in knowledge from political science, but also have to include pedagogical theory. The complete competency development course is, thusly, developed from a basis of

111


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

many years of work with pupil democracy and engagement of pupils in Danish schools, which the Association of Danish Pupils have. Many of the employees in our organization are volunteering pupils from the public schools10, who all have great experience in working with developing pupil democracy in the schools. In addition to the volunteers, this project has prompted us to hire two teachers, who in addition to their education as a teacher, have studied on a Master Degree level at the Department of Education at Aarhus University, formerly known as DPU. Additionally, in the development process, we have gained input from a corps of educational consultants from the Ministry of Education, interest organizations in the schools area, e.g. The Danish Union of Teachers, The National Association of Schoolparents, and Local Government Denmark. However, it is important to emphasize that even though the pedagogical theory is central, the political scientific ability is not without relevancy for the development of the course. This is particularly important in relation to developing the structure for the competency development course, where political science can contribute with relevant arguments from the literature. We will discuss this importance in the following sections.

6.3.2 The pedagogical foundation for the competency development course The pivotal task in relation to developing the competency development course, is establishing a course that strengthens the teachers’ competencies for pupil engagement, and increased their prioritization of pupil engagement. It is, thusly, these tasks that have gained our focus, in our development of the course. One can expect that the teachers’ participation in a competency development course will lead to increased prioritization of pupil engagement, considering that the course emphasizes the importance of pupil engagement. In developing the course, we have had a significant focus on, the way in which teachers’ competencies for pupil engagement can be strengthened. Similarly, it is a pivotal starting point for the competency development course that we are dealing with an external wish for increasing pupil engagement. It is, thusly, not the teachers from Randers Municipality themselves, who have taken up the initiative for increasing pupil engagement. The initiative comes from the Ministry of Education and The Association of Danish Pupils, which might open up for the possibility of resistance against the initiative from the teachers. As we have discussed earlier, the Danish teachers are influenced by a professional norm on the importance of pupil engagement 10

112

After graduating from 9th grade, nine pupils have chosen to spend a year doing volunteer work for The Asso ciation of Danish Pupils, which entails that they spend a year with the secretariat of the organization.


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

For this particular reason, the existing knowledge on pupil engagement becomes a pivotal starting point for the course. By utilizing the conclusions on positive effects of pupil engagement, not only on pupils’ academic ability, but also an array of other quality goals for the school, it becomes possible to illustrate for the teachers that pupil engagement adds a great value to the education. We are, thusly, able to create an understanding of the importance of engaging the pupils in the planning, execution and evaluation of the education, which creates support for the course. Political scientists have researched on pupil engagement, which makes this task somewhat easier. As reviewed in chapter 2, there is an array of other studies that all have a stronger pedagogical character, which all reach the same results. The same can be said for the professor in education from New Zealand, John Hattie. Hattie has completed an extensive meta-study of the research in the educational area. Among his conclusions, we find that pupil engagement holds importance, due to its ability to render the teachings visible (2013: 47), which is established through feedback and evaluation.

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

(folkeskolen.dk; 2011), which entails that one should expect the teachers to have an innate positive attitude towards working with increased pupil engagement. In a situation where the initiative comes from an external source, as is the case with pupil engagement, the participation of the competency development course runs the risk of being considering something the teachers have to participate in, and not something that they want. Although we are dealing with competency development, and not strict demands of leading, it is necessary to stay attentive towards a challenge in an unfortunate approach, which might spark resistance with the teachers (cf., among others, the arguments from Mikkelsen et al., 2012).

Pedagogically, pupil engagement can be considered as a continuous feedback process, in which pupils deliver input, or feedback, for the teachers, in the planning, as well as the execution and evaluation of the education. Pupil engagement, thusly, has fundamental associations with pedagogical arguments on the theory that all teaching require feedback (Hartberg et al., 2012), and that dialogue and mutual recognition are important tools for the pupils’ learning and competency development. Pupil engagement as a continuous feedback process between pupils and teachers, and the importance of feedback for the teachings, are, thusly, fundamental pedagogical arguments, from which the competency development course has been developed. In order to increase the probability of the course having an effect, and gaining support with the teachers, it has been important to us that the competency development course should not dictate, on one or more, specific types of education to the teachers. It is important that the concrete formation of the education is developed decentralized by each individual teacher (Moos et al., 2005), which makes room for the teaching style of each individual teacher in their respective classrooms, alongside different teaching styles with the pupils.

113


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Additionally, it is essential that the course has its starting point in the Danish tradition for didactics11, where academic ability, and democratic and general culture, are pivotal when viewing the public school (Klafki, 2001). The content of the competency development course is, thusly, to be related to the existing knowledge on pupil engagement, to the teaching style of the individual teachers, and to a cultural understanding of the teaching context (Hartberg et al., 2012: 133). From this basis, we have developed the content and composition of the course, which is inspired from Action Learning. Action Learning (Bayer et al., 2004) sets the framework for an array of alteration principles, which have their central starting point in, among other things, movements from appreciative inquiry (Cooperrider, 1999). An essential part of Action Learning is, thusly, that the starting point is the adjustment to the concrete context, and that this focuses on development, rather than problems. Based on the theory of Action Learning, the competency development course focuses on supporting and inspiring the teachers for experimenting with increased pupil engagement in their own teachings. Action Learning is, thusly, a method that gives the teachers a great opportunity for implementing pupil engagement in a way that fits with their specific teaching style, and for the different classes and pupils they educate. By experimenting with different ways of engaging pupils, the teachers obtain the possibility for evaluating the way in which different methods of engagement function on the pupils, and based on that knowledge, the teachers are able to adjust and adapt the education. These evaluations are established in cooperation with the pupils. It is an important part of the theory on Action Learning that the experiments with different teaching methods happen in cooperation between pupils and teachers. Due to this fact, the following subsection, regarding the concretization of the supplementary training, will deal with, the way in which we have engaged the pupils in the course. The purpose of the competency development course is to support the experimental process, to provide the teachers with inspiration for the way in which they can initiate these experiments, and supporting an appreciative and learning orientated feedback and evaluation practice between the teachers and pupils. We have implemented this theoretical starting point in a framework tool, which we have dubbed the Wheel of Success. The Wheel of Success concretizes the above-mentioned arguments, regarding pupil engagement as a continuous feedback process between pupils and teachers, and that teachers should constantly experiment with pupil engagement in their teachings. The Wheel of Success is a concrete process model for the way in which the teachers can work with pupil engagement in a practical manner. It consists of five phases, and has been illustrated in figure 6.5. 11

114

Didactics is the theory on form and content of the education.


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

The first phase in the Wheel of Success is the implementation of an array of objectives for the work with pupil engagement in the education. The objectives are formulated jointly between pupils and teachers. Based on these objectives, the work with pupil engagement is set in motion, which leads to the second phase in the Wheel of Success. In this phase, an external person, e.g. a colleague, observes the education with a specific focus on one or more relationships, depending on the established objectives. 1. Iværksættelse af egne målsætninger This is followed by the teacher, and the person who has been observing the class, having a didactic conversation on working with pupil engagement, which has the purpose of developing the teacher’s educational 5. Tilpasse practice. In the fourth phase, the pupils and the eller teachers have joint reflections on the way in which the work with pupil engagement ny aktion 2. Iagttagelse Succesfuld in the education can be developed inelevinddragelse the future, and the fifth phase implements an adjusted and possible new action. From this basis, the process can begin anew, which enable the teachers to experiment with different types of pupil engagement in the Refleksionwell can classroom. The approaches 4. working be kept as a fundamental part of the 3. Didaktisk L-L teachings, and the rest can be adjusted and samtale changed.

Figure 6.5 The illustration of the framework-tool dubbed the Wheel of Success, on which the competency-course for the teachers is built.

1. Implementation of the objectives: What and how? 5. New action: Experiments – from idea to action

2. Observation: DSE: Development Focus on of successful pupil the education engagement

4. Reflection: Feedback and evaluation

3. Didactic conversation: Focus on solutions

115


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

116


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

6.3.3 Course work for teachers – and pupils As made apparent by Thesis 5, 6 and 7, a supplementary training course for the teachers is a fundamental tool, which will, expectantly, lead to increased pupil engagement in the school. The first, and most central, part of the complete competency development course, based on the pedagogical foundation, is, thusly, developing such a supplementary training course. This has been completed by developing a course for the teachers, and established with 5 objectives.

1.

The purpose of the course is to have the teachers gain familiarity with the evidence-based knowledge on pupil engagement, and thoughts on Action Learning, which clarifies the importance of pupil engagement, as well as our reasoning behind the structure of the course.

2.

The course should provide the teachers with a professional starting point, from which they can develop their work with pupil engagement, as a continuous feedback and evaluation process, in the planning, execution and evaluation of the education from the framework of the Wheel of Success.

3.

In addition to the Wheel of Success as a process tool, the teachers will be presented with an array of concrete tools and methods, all of which can be utilized to further engage pupils, and adjust the engagement from the criteria of the specific context.

4.

The goal of the course is to establish concrete objectives for the teachers work with pupil engagement, which forms the framework for their work, and can be utilized in their teachings at their school.

5.

The course provides the teachers with the opportunity for initiating the continuous process with pupil engagement in the framework of the Wheel of Success, starting from implementation of the objectives, to observation, didactic c onversation, reflection, and a new action.

117


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

It is an essential part of the Wheel of Success, and obviously the course, to enable the two teachers to observe each other’s teachings, and from this basis, conduct a didactic conversation of the work with pupil engagement in the education. It holds importance that two teachers from the same school, teaching the same class, participate in the course. If this prerequisite is not met, it becomes difficult for the teachers to return to the school and work with the new methods and tools. In addition to two teachers participating from the same class, we have also invited two pupils from the class to participate in the course. As we have discussed earlier, it is an important part of Action Learning that the teachers and pupils jointly experiment with different methods for the education. Having Action Learning as the pedagogical foundation for the competency development course is, thusly, advantageous when engaging pupils at this time, which is done in order to create a common starting point, from which the teachers and pupils can jointly work with pupil engagement. This also provides an opportunity for the two participating pupils, who are already a part of the competency development course, to be a part of the work in establishing the objectives for pupil engagement in the teachings, followed by feedback between pupils and teachers. In addition to this pedagogical reason for the pupils’ participation, their participation also serves a different purpose, one which we will discuss in the following section. We have structured the course to cover two days, distributed with a couple of weeks in between. This structure is advantageous for several reasons. First of all, the structure makes sense in relation to the aforementioned objectives. The structure, thusly, secures that the teachers can spend the first day of the course working on the first four objectives, which enables them to return to the school and complete a pupil engagement implementation, in the framework of the Wheel of Success. The purpose of the second day of the course is that the participants reflect on the course, exchange experiences with other teachers, and that one or more new actions are planned. All this is illustrated in table 6.5.

118


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Outline of the structure and the content for the pupils and the teachers in the courses on pupil engagement. Course day 1 —> Work in the school —> Course day 2 —> Future work 1)

2)

3)

4)

Introduction to the theory and the Wheel of Success Working with feedback and evaluation Evaluating current educational practices Establishing objectives for working with pupil engagement

1)

Testing concrete types of pupil engagement

2)

Utilizing the Wheel of Success as a framework for this task

1)

Reflection on the course

2)

Exchange of experiences

3)

New action(s) for the future

1)

Working with pupil engagement in the future

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

Table 6.5:

Dividing the courses into several days has shown to have a disciplinary effect, which is desirable. As we have discussed earlier in this report, an array of studies show that supplementary training has an effect on behavior (Weber et al., 1996; Dvir et al., 2002, Hassan et al., 2010; Kelloway et al., 2000). Even so, other studies conclude that as low as 15% of the participants on a course, when returning to their school, utilize their newfound knowledge, regardless of their attitude towards the course (Brinkerhoff, 2008). Our knowledge in political science becomes important, in relation to the establishment of the structure of the course. Weber, Barling and Kelloway argue, in their study of supplementary training, that organizing the course may have a disciplinary effect (1986: 829), if, in between the course days, one implements an array of assignments for the participants. The cause is simple. No participant want to attend the second day of course, being the one person who did not finish the assignments, while all the others have done so. This structural effect increases the likelihood that the participants have worked with the methods and tools from the first day of the course until the second day of the course. Our implicit expectations is that when teachers, between the two course days, have tried working with the concrete methods and tools of pupil engagement, it increases the likelihood of the teachers will continuously utilize these methods and tools.

119


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

It is in relation to the disciplinary elements of the composition of the course that the pupils’ second role appears. The participation of the pupils will strengthen the disciplinary element of the course. When teachers, and pupils jointly, specify, and agree upon an array of objectives for working with pupil engagement, and when pupils convey these objectives with their classmates in their school, it establishes a strong, and different, sense of commitment for the pupils and the teachers, rather than the teachers and pupils formulating the objectives at the course, without including the rest of the pupils in the class. Pupils from the earliest classes in the school have been considered as participants for the course. The Ministry of Education have had a great deal of focus on the pupils in the final part of the public school education, which is related to the final exams of these pupils, it has been decided that pupils from 8th grade, and subsequently teachers from 8th grade, have been invited to participate in the course. It has held a particular importance for us that the content of the course for teachers and pupils is simple, and that the course presented an array of concrete methods and tools for, the way in which pupil engagement can be handled at the school. By making the content simple and concrete, we expect that the chance for implementing pupil engagement in the everyday school life is increased. Originating in the argument that pupil engagement, from a pedagogical perspective, can be considered a continuous feedback process, we have, thusly, established a folder containing an array of concrete feedback tools. An amount of these have been reviewed on the course itself, and others have been made available for teachers to study after the fact. It is the two teachers, alongside two of the volunteer pupils, who have conducted the teachings. The teachers have been responsible for the execution itself, and, among other things, secured the quality of the pedagogical arguments, all while the volunteer pupils have been a part of the course in order to contribute with a pupil’s perspective on the work with pupil engagement, and also to communicate on the level of the participating pupils. The specific timetables for each of the two course days, alongside examples of concrete feedback tools can be found in appendix 5 and 6.

6.3.4 Consultant visit for teachers The supplementary training course is the cornerstone for strengthening pupil engagement in the schools. Although our prioritization have been on utilizing simple, concrete, varied, easily implementable methods and tools, and although we expect an autonomous effect of the supplementary training on pupil engagement, we also expect

120


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

In addition to the course, we have, thusly, developed a consultant visit, which has the purpose of assisting the teachers with implementing the new work methods and tools. Due to practical reasons, we have not had the time, in relation to this report, to complete a prolonged consultant visit, and have settled on developing a short and simple consultant visit. This visit is concretely made up of visiting the teachers in their school, and consulting them based on their needs in the classroom, which is established by the teachers who conducted the initial supplementary training courses. A visit is comprised of observation of the teachings, and subsequent participation in the didactic conversation on pupil engagement between the two teachers, who have participated in the course. From this basis, we secure that the teachers from the course can provide input, based on what they observe in the classroom, alongside assisting in establishing the didactic conversation. In addition to that, it is a central part of the consultant visit that the teachers, themselves, are able to meet the challenges and thoughts, in relation to working with pupil engagement.

06 THE METHOD OF THE REPORT

that, as soon as the teachers return to the schools, an array of challenges will present themselves. One might expect that the teachers have a hard time obtaining input from the pupils, or that the teachers prefer to improve the quality of the input, which comes from the pupils. It, thusly, follows Thesis 6 that we have a theoretical expectation in the following follow-up and sparring with participants of the supplementary training course, which might increase the effect of the course. The argument here is that the teachers will have an easier time implementing the new methods and tools in their teachings, insofar as they acquire outside assistance.

In section 6.2, we mentioned that nine schools from Randers Municipality have participated in the competency development course, and that we have interviewed teachers and pupils from three of these schools. The consultant visit has been conducted on two of these three schools. This provides the opportunity of analyzing the effect of the course, alongside an opportunity for comparing the statements of these pupils and teachers, on the complete competency development course, with pupils and teachers from the school that has not participated in the consultant visit.

6.3.5 Course work for principals It is, however, not solely follow-up and sparring, which we expect will increase the effect of the supplementary training course. Cf. Thesis 7, we also expect that the support and sparring from the principal will increase the effect of the supplementary training course. This expectation has its roots in the argument that the handling of the new initiatives from the leadership, as we have discussed earlier, is important for the teachers’ perception of the initiatives, and considering that we expect the principals to help the teachers in implementing the methods and the tools in the teachings. In

121


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

relation to this course, it is the principals themselves who have registered the school for the project, which logically entails that they have a fundamental support for the idea of strengthening pupil engagement. It is, however, relevant to complete a course for the principals. In order to establish full support from the principals to the teachers’ work, it becomes necessary to establish knowledge on the effects of pupil engagement, and the tools and methods, with which the teachers work. Sparring from the principals is rather important. The course for the principals, thusly, serves to secure that the principals are able to meet this task in a proper manner. This is the reasoning behind developing a course for the principals. Here we are dealing with a one-day course, which has the following purposes: Introducing the principals to the results of studies on pupil engagement, introducing them to the Wheel of Success and the different phases in working with pupil engagement, introducing them to the work with pupil engagement as feedback and evaluation, and, finally, to discuss the way in which principals can support the teachers’ work with pupil engagement. The concrete course program is presented in appendix 7.

122


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

07 123


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

7. Analysis: This is how pupil engagement works Having established the theoretical and methodical foundation, we are now prepared to initiate the empirical analysis of the two research questions in the report. This will be accomplished by completing the analysis in two chapters. Chapter 7 will analyze the first research question of the report, relating to the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, which is then followed by chapter 8, in which we will analyze the second research question of the report. We derived four theoretical theses in chapter 4, identifying the mechanism behind the positive effects of pupil engagement on the pupils’ academic ability, well-being, and social commitment. We are dealing with competing theses, in the sense that the four theses individually describe the theoretical expectations for a specific causal mechanism. One or more of the theses can, thusly, display empirical support, without this being the case for all the implicated theses. In a situation such as this, we have to discuss what the complete effects behind the causal mechanism are. The theses can, as we discussed in chapter 4, also display a symbiotic relationship, entailing that the complete causal mechanism is composed of one or more of the theoretical derived mechanisms. The remaining part of this chapter, will establish whether or not this is the case. We will complete the empirical test of the hypotheses for the four theses in a chronological order, beginning with hypothesis 1a. This chapter should, thusly, be viewed as a continuous derivation of the elements that jointly encompass the causal mechanism. In addition to the testing of the hypothesis itself, this chapter will also discuss how the different parts of the causal mechanism are connected. In addition to this, we utilize an important analytical advantage of the qualitative design. Although the core of the analysis is, naturally, found in the empirical test of the individual hypotheses, the extensive interview material of 189 pages, makes is possible to move the analysis unto the testing of the hypotheses themselves, and identify relevant arguments, to some of which we did not have a preemptive theoretical expectation. Considering that we have not dealt with these arguments in a theoretical manner, we, naturally, have to be additionally attentive to the interpretation of said arguments. As the analysis will show, this approach provides us with a lot of value to the complete analysis of the causal mechanism. In addition to that, it is important to remember that even though we complete a hypothetical-deductive analysis, which is based on the theory on coproduction, and the existing literature on pupil engagement, this report is the first systematic, empirical analysis of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. In this relation, it is advantageous to stay attentive to the empirical connections, which, at this moment in time, might not be encompassed by the theory.

124


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

07 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT WORKS

7.1 Thesis 1: Motivation as a causal mechanism The first thesis on the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, argues that pupil engagement has its effect, because it increases pupils’ motivation, and has been concretized in two operational hypotheses. Insofar as Thesis 1 is to find empirical support, we should discover that pupil engagement increases the pupils’ willingness to actively participate in the education (hypothesis 1a), and the pupils’ commitment to their education (hypothesis 1b). Based on the initial analysis of the interviews, it is made clear that motivation is a central part of the mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. Although our goal is not to quantify the qualitative analysis, it is remarkable that the term motivation, in relation to the effects of pupil engagement, make up the majority of the statements from the participants of the interviews. Considering that motivation is present in such a large part of the interviews, it follows that this is the longest of the four sections in chapter 7. The initial analysis does, however, show that there is a practical challenge in completely separating the analysis into the two hypotheses. Pupils, teachers, and principals all use an array of different words, and short sentences, in order to describe the effects of pupil engagement in motivation. Some of these words, and short sentences, revolve around the willingness to actively participate, others are about commitment to the education; but many of the statements are overlapping, as we have observed in cases, where words and short sentences revolve around general motivation. The participants of the interview utilize, to a great extent, the term motivation, in order to describe what pupil engagement entails, and also use an array of related words, all of which deal with pupil motivation increasing as a result of pupil engagement. Before we address the thesis on the hypotheses itself, we need to clarify this argument, and will, thusly, present the way in which pupils, teachers, and principals explicitly talk about motivation, in relation to the effects of pupil engagement. Due to the difference in age and education, we have observed a significant difference in the language used by the teachers and principals on one hand, and the pupils on the other, respectively, which is observed in relation to the term motivation, even though they all address the same ideas.

Pupil: “We have been accustomed to not thinking about it for ourselves. That this was, actually, just the way it was, where the teachers just prepared something for us, which we then worked with. But now, it has changed, meaning that we are being engaged in it, which makes it more exciting and motivating to do the work ourselves.” (translated by ed.)

125


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

This has prompted us to gather the words and short sentences on motivation, of which the participants of the interview make use, and illustrate it in two different figures under this section. The figures make it clear that the three groups of players, in many different ways, address motivation as an important part of the causal mechanism.  

Figure 7.1: Display: The pupils’ statements on motivation as a causal mechanism

Likes it Provides, like a, willingness for work Willingness

More fun

MOTIVATION

Opinion is used for something

You are a part of it yourself

Is a bit more willing

Figure 7.2: Display: The teachers’ and the principals’ statements on motivation as a causal mechanism

Interesting More fun

Happiness Willingness

Exuberant

MOTIVATION Spirit

Inspiring

Exciting Commitment

126


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Teacher: “Well, it’s really two completely different things, and I can see in the class that it is more fun to be engaged. And the attitude is a “Yes, let’s do this”, and then when the teacher comes, the other teacher, it’s more like “Yeah okay, back to our seats”.” (Translated by ed.)

07 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT WORKS

Figure 7.1 and 7.2 make it clear that the pupils’ language is very colloquial, and has a focus on situations in which the pupils are engaged, making them “a bit more willing”, that they “like it”, and that pupil engagement provides a sensation of their “opinion being used for something”, as well as “providing, like a, willingness for work”. The pupils do not use abstract terms, but rather unsophisticated descriptions of the way in which pupil engagement affects them, and their classmates. The teachers’, and the principals’, language is largely influenced by their pedagogical background, which constitutes the reason for their descriptions with single words and terms, in order to describe the effect of pupil engagement on the pupils. Words and sentences, which we observe more than once in relation to the pupils being engaged, relate to the education becoming more exciting, more inspiring, the pupils have higher spirits, and that they become more exuberant in the teaching situation. Unheeded by the differences in language between the two groups of players, and in the groups themselves, the usage of the word motivation, within all the related words and short sentences, signify motivation as a pivotal part of the causal mechanism.

Since the pupils, teachers, and principals all talk a significant amount about motivation in the interviews, it does pose a challenge to identify statements that solely deal with the pupils’ willingness to actively participate in the education, and the pupils’ commitment to the education. This is, however necessary, insofar as to complete the test of the two hypotheses. In order to handle the challenge of separating them, we hold our focus in the analysis of hypothesis 1a to the statements of the pupils’ statements, whereas we in the analysis of hypothesis 1b focus on the teachers’ and principals’ statements. We opted for this approach, considering that hypothesis 1a deals with pupils’ willingness to actively participate in the education, which, to a great extent, can be understood as a sensation found with pupils. Hypothesis 1b deals with pupils’ commitment for their education, and, thusly, about their behavior, which the principals, and teachers especially, can observe from the outside. The approach does not entail that we solely examine the statements from pupils, when investigating hypothesis 1a, and vice versa. In the end, it is the nature of the statements, which determine whether they have been included in the analysis of hypothesis 1a or 1b. We have selected to utilize this approach, since it provides a general opportunity for separating the test of the two analyses.

127


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

”I mean, it is super cool that such a small effort can make such a huge difference in the education.” Teacher (translated by ed.)

128


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

In situations where the pupils are not engaged in their education, pupils find that the education, to a great extent, feels as something the pupils have to do, meaning that participation in the education is a duty, which the pupils, all things considered, are not very motivated doing. On the other hand, pupil engagement means that the pupils are greatly motivated for participating in the education, or said in other words, the pupils’ willingness for active participation increases. One pupil expresses the difference between education with pupil engagement, and education without pupil engagement, in the following way: “it’s always like “read this, do that, and write that…” but here, one gets the opportunity to choose which parts to do differently. It provides a stronger motivation, when you are allowed to customize your assignment.” (translated by ed.). Another pupil expresses the same argument thusly: “We had never really thought about the opportunity that there was an opportunity to be engaged in this manner, but now we know that we can, and I think that means you prefer doing so.” (translated by ed.). In addition to that, the analysis of the interviews shows that the lessons involving teachers, who have begun to engage the pupils more after participating in the competency development course, have become more fun, and provides the pupils with a positive approach for their education, which is a result of helping in deciding what is going to happen. One pupil states that “Yes, it can make a big difference to the lessons and all the other pupils… One’s willingness to work has grown.” (translated by ed.), another pupil uses a concrete example from a Danish lesson, in order to explain the importance of pupil engagement for the education: “e.g., what we were learning in Danish, where we were able to choose our subject and work method, and, yeah, customize everything… it provides a greater motivation to do it… And that you can decide for yourself.” (translated by ed.).

07 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT WORKS

7.1.1 The pupils’ willingness for active participation

All in all, the analysis of the interviews with the pupils, points towards empirical support for hypothesis 1a. In order to reach a final result of the test of hypothesis 1a, the following section will be dedicated to expanding the analysis, to encompass the statements from the teachers and principals. This provides us with an opportunity for identifying additional empirical support for hypothesis 1a, or finding discrepancies between the pupils’ arguments on the effect of pupil engagement on their willingness for active participation, and the teachers’ and principals’ observations of this. Generally, the analysis shows that both teachers and principals observe a greater willingness for active participation in the lessons, whenever pupils are engaged in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the education. Several teachers and principals mention, in their interviews, that the pupils have become significantly better at committing themselves and actively participating, whenever they are engaged in the

129


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

education. Among others, one teacher states that “I think that they, to a high degree, feel more motivated in relation to committing themselves to subjects. And I think that is the most significant factor…” (translated by ed.). Similarly, a principal states that “When they begin on some of these exercises, there isn’t a single pupil who doesn’t participate in the exercises. Not one of them says that they can’t be bothered, or does something completely different.” (translated by ed.). With this quote as a basis, we will halt the concrete analysis for a time, in order to consider the possibility of a Hawthorne Effect in play. The term of a Hawthorne Effect describes a situation, in which positive effects happen, unheeded by the changes made, or whether one makes changes altogether; the attention itself on the people being investigated leads to positive effects. This effect signifies a general challenge in studies, where you are close to the people being examined. We emphasize the possibility of a Hawthorne effect at this point of the analysis, because of the principal’s quote on the great commitment from the pupils. It is a possibility that the pupils are significantly more committed to their education, because of the sudden great amount of attention on pupil engagement, but it might also be caused by the principal’s presence in the class, supervising the lessons. It is, thusly, a challenge for the analysis of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, and perhaps even more so in the analysis of, the way in which pupil engagement can be increased; which will be completed in chapter 8. The main focus of pupil engagement, including the completion of the collection of data for the analysis, may have had an effect by itself, which sets itself separate to the competency development course. We are unable to deny the possibility of the Hawthorne Effect, and for that reason, we have been particularly attentive towards this possibility in the analysis of both research questions. In the continuous analysis of hypothesis 1a, it becomes very clear that the pupils are excited about working with pupil engagement, and this excitement results in happier pupils. One teachers expresses it thusly: “I think they seem happier in the specific lesson. I think they seem more motivated, whenever we specifically ask about the way we should do this in. But I also feel that they’re having a hard time with it.” (translated by ed.). It is, thusly, clear that the teachers’ statements, similarly to the pupils, provide empirical support for hypothesis 1a. It is, however, also worth noting that the teachers, contrary to the obvious increased motivation in the pupils, also trace certain challenges for the pupils, in relation to actively participating in the process of engagement. This challenge will be further investigated in the analysis of the second research question in the report in chapter 8. At this point in time, we simply ascertain that we can identify certain challenges in relation to increased pupil engagement in the education. We are now able to sum up the analysis of hypothesis 1a by stating that pupil engagement, without a doubt, increases the pupils’ willingness for active participation in the education.

130


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

7.1.2 The pupils’ commitment to their education We can now move on to testing hypothesis 1b, where we can analyze the amount to which the pupils’ commitment for their education increases, in situations where they have been engaged. As mentioned earlier, we will primarily focus on the interviews of teachers and principals, when we analyze this hypothesis. The interviews of pupils will be included, insofar as they hold any relevant statements. Similarly to the above-mentioned analysis of the pupils’ willingness for actively participating in the education, this analysis makes it clear that strong empirical support for the hypothesis is evident. The teachers, thusly, indiscriminately report on how the pupils’ commitment to their education, in situations where they are being engaged, increases significantly. The following quotations from three different teachers illustrate this argument rather clearly:

“All of a sudden, you could see them sitting in groups and talking about something from a book, which you normally wouldn’t see.”

07 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT WORKS

Hypothesis 1a, thusly, find empirical support. Pupils clearly distinguish between education in which they are forced to participate, and education in which they want to participate. Pupil engagement entails that they want to participate in the education, resulting in an increase in the pupils’ willingness for active participation.

“We have seen a small, seen a small proof for it out here in some way, in the sense that it has been Danish, math, and history that have been running, and practicing on these things, which we now have attended a course on, and the pupils have actually suggested to their teacher in German, whether they could use some of the tools in German as well, and it has given some completely different German lessons.” “I have talked with the German teacher in the class about this, because they’ve been very bored with German, bored with the way it was working, and they didn’t want to tell her; which I have done instead. And now, the German teacher has restructured the whole education, and now it has become, not 100%, but a big part of their input on, the way in which they want it. And now, they’ve become so excited for German, it’s just been so good.”

(translated by ed.)

131


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The statements show that the pupils, on their own volition, have taken up initiatives for academic discussions regarding their education, and encouraged other teachers to engage them more in the education. The analysis of the interviews with the principals confirm this observation. One of the principals, who has supervised the teachings in relation to the work with increased pupil engagement, says that “They are very committed. I actually see that in the lessons, when I was up there. I think, they think, it’s fun, because it’s a different way to do it, and that’s kind of obvious.” (translated by ed.). It becomes clear that, whenever they are engaged, the pupils’ commitment for their education significantly increases. Several teachers express that the pupils’ commitment is particularly strengthened in situations where the pupils are engaged in a simple and practice-based manner. Apart from the many observations on increased commitment, made by the teachers and principals, the pupils also state that it makes them more committed. As we discussed in the primary part of the analysis of Thesis 1, regarding motivation as a causal mechanism, the pupils use more direct and simple arguments, in order to explain the effects pupil engagement have on them. This has been specifically illustrated in the following quote: “It gives like a more positive attitude, when they actually do it, like “Hey, we can decide for ourselves, how we do it.” (translated by ed.). Based on the above-mentioned analysis, we are able to conclude that after finding support for hypothesis 1a and 1b, there is clear empirical support for the thesis that motivation is a part of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. Albeit the analysis, primarily, makes it clear that pupil engagement leads to increased motivation, the analysis also points in the direction of the motivation, subsequently, leading to the positive effect on the pupils’ academic ability, well-being, and social commitment, which entails all three dependent variables. It becomes clear that it is not, with the available data, possible to identify the exact connection between motivation and, e.g., pupils’ academic ability. It does, however, seem obvious that the increased motivation, which we have seen evident in the increased willingness to participate, and increased commitment for the education, also promotes a greater outcome from the teachings. The same issue is evident in the connection between motivation and pupils’ well-being and social commitment.

7.1.3 Co-ownership as a catalyst As argued in the introduction to the analysis, we will utilize the strength of the qualitative research design, in order to identify argument that are apart from the strictly logical empirical test of the theoretically derived theses and hypotheses. This strength in the research design has shown to be particularly relevant in relation to the analysis of Thesis 1, which, thusly, reveals an additional part of the mechanism, and has caught our attention in our investigation of the analysis.

132


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

In the interviews, the teachers and principals, alike, mention that pupil engagement creates a sense of co-ownership with the pupils for their education, and this is a pivotal reason behind the effect on motivation. These two groups of players mostly mention that pupil engagement leads to co-ownership, when they are talking about pupil engagement in relation to cultural formation and the formation of fundamental democratic societal values. The teachers and principals are, thusly, pointing towards pupil engagement creating coownership for the education, but also that the pupils learn to take responsibility and actively participate in general. One teacher argues that “It (pupil engagement ed.) provides them with, like a small sense of ownership, and they mature from it.” (translated by ed.).

07 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT WORKS

The analysis strongly points to the existence of another intervening variable, which is central for the connection between pupil engagement and motivation. The variable in question is the pupils’ co-ownership of their education. The review of the interviews reveals that, whenever the pupils are being engaged, the pupils’ co-ownership to their education increases, and this phenomenon affects the motivation in a positive way. In the interviews, the pupils spend a great deal of time talking about their increased motivation, coming from them gaining participation in decision making, in relation to being engaged. One of the pupils explains it in the following way: “We would make a greater effort, in a situation, where we have more participation in decision making and responsibility.” (translated by ed.).

We are, however, attentive of two significant factors in relation to this finding. First of all, we have not derived any theoretical expectations on the connection between motivation and co-ownership in relation to the theoretical review of the research question. Considering that we have not had any theoretical discussions on the importance of co-ownership, based on the existing literature, we cannot determine the significance of co-ownership as a part of the causal mechanism with the same emphasis and conviction, as we have done with motivation. Even though we consider this finding of great significance to the analysis of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, it will, undoubtedly, have a rather speculative nature, which is important to note, when interpreting the finding. Second of all, we are, naturally, attentive towards using the term of co-ownership, as it can vary depending on whether the participants of the interviews are principals, teachers, or pupils. The analysis of the interviews with pupils, teachers, and principals is strongly suggesting that co-ownership is an important part of the causal mechanism, connecting pupil engagement with the pupils’ motivation, which is why we find it relevant and correct to incorporate as a part of the causal mechanism. Based on the analysis of Thesis 1, we have, thusly, established the first part of the complete chain, which constitutes the causal mechanism between pupil engagement and the three dependent variables. This part has been illustrated in the following figure 7.3.

133


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Figure 7.3: The primary part of the causal-link in pupil engagement, through its mechanisms of the effect on the independent variables.

CO-OWNERSHIP

MOTIVATION

7.2 Thesis 2: Self-confidence as a causal mechanism With that, we are now able to move on to the analysis of Thesis 2, which states the following: Pupil engagement has its effect, because it increases pupils’ self-confidence. This over-arching theoretical thesis has, also, been concretized in two hypotheses. Insofar as the thesis is to find empirical support, we should be able to identify in the analysis that, whenever they are being engaged, the pupils feel more confident in speaking (hypothesis 2a) and, whenever they are being engaged, the pupils feel more confident in actively participating in the education (hypothesis 2b). We test these two hypotheses in the following sections.

7.2.1 Confidence for speaking The analysis shows that some teachers and principals have observed that, whenever the pupils are being engaged, pupil engagement leads to more activity and greater participation in class discussions from the weaker pupils. A pupil also explains the following: “We have, both, someone who is dyslexic, and what not, and that means, it might be that they aren’t very good at reading. But they’re doing fine, whenever they are asked to use it in practice.” (translated by ed.). The analysis indicates that the pupils’ self-confidence, to some extent, is strengthened by pupil engagement. Only a few of the participants in the interviews address relationships indicating how pupil engagement provides the pupils with more courage for speaking in class. The abovementioned arguments are, exclusively, expressions of individual indications in the data, and do not represent general tendencies. It becomes clear in the analysis of hypothesis 2a, and the analysis of hypothesis 2b, which will be addressed in the following, that pupil engagement, based on the available data material, does not seem to have a systematic effect on the pupils’ self-confidence. The participants of the interview do not generally describe relationships in the teachings, which indicate the pupils’ self-confidence as

134


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

7.2.2 Confidence for active participation The test of hypothesis 2b gives us the same result, which means it does not provide any empirical support. The analysis shows that the teachers have made some general observations, in relation to working with pupil engagement, and noted that pupil engagement in the education, in relation to the traditional teacher-planned chalkboardlessons, increases the pupils’ activity in the lessons. One pupil notes in the interviews that pupil engagement, generally, gives the pupil more drive, but it is important to note that this statement came as a result of directly asking on the effects of pupil engagement on self-confidence. The interviews with the principals do not contain any statement, which points in the direction of strengthened self-confidence in the pupils, as a result of pupil engagement.

07 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT WORKS

strengthened by pupil engagement, and this is also made clear by the observation that almost none of the participants of the interview mention an effect on pupils’ self-confidence as a result of pupil engagement. It is not until we directly ask questions relating to the extent to which pupils’ self-confidence is affected that the majority of the participants of the interviews consider it. The situation is quite different from the analysis on Thesis 1, which dealt with motivation as a causal mechanism, where we observed the participants of the interviews, on their own volition, mentioning many different situations from their teachings, in which it became clear that pupil engagement affects the pupils’ motivation. Based on this, we are unable to find empirical support for hypothesis 2a.

Generally, the analysis shows that the effect of pupil engagement on the pupils’ confidence for active participation, is only found sporadically in the data. Hypothesis 2b, thusly, does not have empirical support. In summary, we find it necessary to note that the analysis of hypothesis 2a and 2b do not find empirical support, and Thesis 2, dealing with self-confidence as a part of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, subsequently, does not find empirical support. There are only a few findings in the data, which indicate that self-confidence plays an important part as a causal mechanism. These findings are not found as an immediate result of the conversation between the interviewer and the participants of the interviews. At the same time, it is important to note that this analysis is unable to completely refute hypothesis 2a and 2b, meaning the thesis of pupil engagement having its effect from increasing pupils’ self-confidence. As mentioned, some of the data indicates that pupil engagement can have an effect on pupils’ self-confidence. In addition to that, it takes time to alter the pupils’ self-confidence, in contrast to motivation, which is easier to identify. One of the teachers touch on this in the interview. The teachers argues

135


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

”…now, they (the teachers ed.) pay more attention to it, and are more positive when it happens, because I think that they think it has worked, this stuff that I’ve done” Pupil (Translated by ed.)

136


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Even though pupil engagement, at some level, has taken place before the participants of the interviews have participated in the competency development course, pupil engagement has been facilitated at a low level, compared to the aftermath of the competency development course. As a result, the participants of the interviews have related their statements to the effect of increased pupil engagement in the education, following their participation in the competency development course. This is a relationship we will analyze further, specifically in relation to the analysis of the way in which it is possible to increase pupil engagement, and will be completed in chapter 8. This also holds importance for the result of the analysis of Thesis 2. Based on the test of the two hypotheses for Thesis 2, we find it necessary to conclude that we are unable to find empirical support for the thesis on self-confidence as a causal mechanism behind the effects on pupil engagement, however, we are unable to fundamentally refute the thesis.

7.3 Thesis 3: Responsiveness as a Causal Mechanism

07 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT WORKS

that “When we’re dealing with self-confidence, I think it’s really hard. It might be that is has an effect in relation to their classmates evaluating them as having done a greater effort, compared to how they see it themselves, but I think it’s hard to say at this point in time. I might be able to say something about that in 6 months.” (translated by ed.).

Thesis 3 is derived from the basis of an argument on responsiveness, meaning that it revolves around the teachers’ adaptation of the education from the basis of pupils’ inputs, which expectedly leads to a higher quality of education, because the education will be better suited for the way in which pupils learn. Theoretically, we expect responsiveness to be a part of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement on the pupils’ academic ability. The thesis is concretely formulated thusly: Pupil engagement has its effect, because the teachers adapt the education based on input from the pupils. We have concretized the thesis in two hypotheses, which both need to find support in the analysis, insofar as the overarching thesis is to find empirical support. The two hypotheses state that the pupils should provide useful and implementable input for the education (hypothesis 3a), and that the teachers should adapt the education based on these input (hypothesis 3b), respectively. Similarly to our analysis of the two hypotheses for Thesis 1, this analysis has had its focus divided on the participants of the interviews, in such a way that we, in relation to the empirical test of hypothesis 3a, have focused, mostly, on the statements from the teachers and the principals, and focused, mostly, on the statements from the pupils in relation to the empirical test of hypothesis 3b. Once again, it is important to note that

137


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

all the groups of players can attribute with value to the analysis of both hypotheses. The approach having a particular focus on certain groups of players at each hypothesis, is a natural choice in relation to the specific nature of each hypothesis. When testing hypothesis 3a, it is important to analyze, the extent to which the pupils provide useful and implementable input for the education. Naturally, it is the teachers and principals we focus on in this segment, insofar as the principals have observed the lessons, or have gained their own experiences with pupil engagement; making these groups of players the most qualified for evaluating the usefulness and implementability of the input received from the pupils. The teachers are also able to explain, the amount to which they have adjusted the education from the basis of the pupils’ input. Meanwhile, it is particularly interesting to investigate the pupils’ statements on the extent to which the education is actually adjusted, based on their input, thusly having a greater focus on the pupils’ statements in testing hypothesis 3b.

7.3.1 Useful and implementable input The analysis clearly shows that the pupils provide input for the education, which is useful and implementable, thusly giving empirical support for hypothesis 3a. One of the teachers states that “I think that all, or some part of the pupils, have been good in coming up with usable input.” (translated by ed.). Another teacher argues the same “Typically, they come with it (pupils’ input ed.), and then I can use it in the planning for the next lesson. Afterwards, we’re able to use them as a starting point.” (translated by ed.). A third teacher specifically tells us about the way in which pupils have delivered input for their education, and how the teacher has used the input in the subsequent teachings: “They want to work with individual themes within the overarching theme, and they would like it to end up with presenting their work for each other … So it’s completely like they’ve wished for, which I have then put in a framework.” (translated by ed.). The analysis of the interviews with the principals provides the same result. The pupils’ inputs are, thusly, useful and implementable for the teachers. It is, however, worth noting that the pupils’ input is more useful for the education, insofar as the teachers have established a clear framework for the content of the teachings. The following quotation illustrates this argument: “What I did was that I told the pupils that we are going to have a certain course, and they have given input for what we could work with during the course, based on the end goal of the lessons. This made them familiar with, what it is that we’re working with.” (translated by ed.). The importance of teachercontrol, and a clear framework for pupil engagement, will be addressed in chapter 8. Another argument, which, similarly, will be discussed in chapter 8, considering that it holds some relevancy in relation to this analysis, is that it is necessary and advantageous to work with developing the pupils’ ability to deliver good input for their

138


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Based on this, we are able to find empirical support for hypothesis 3a. The pupils deliver useful and implementable input for their education, but the analysis also shows that the teachers’ control of the process of pupil engagement is very important, in addition to the teachers gaining an advantage from working with developing the pupils’ ability to deliver good input.

7.3.2 Adaptation of the education Empirical support for hypothesis 3a is, however, not adequate as a substantial amount of empirical support for Thesis 3 entirely, which relates to the teachers’ responsiveness in relation to pupils’ input as being a central part of the causal mechanism. If the thesis is to find empirical support, it is pivotal that hypothesis 3b, which deals with the teachers’ adaptation of the education based on the pupils’ input, also gains empirical support. In testing this hypothesis, we will pay particular attention to the interviews with the pupils, considering that it is the pupils who are the recipients of the teachings. It is, thusly, the pupils, who specifically experience the amount to which the teachers adapt the education, based on the pupils’ input.

07 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT WORKS

education. Although the pupils, generally, deliver useful and implementable input for their education, they do have some trouble delivering good input. The pupils are aware of this problem. One of the pupils mention good input, and states that “uh, unfortunately it’s always kind of down to earth, like we’d want to see a movie. You know, completely basic stuff … I think we just need to get it started, and just need to get our thoughts on the right path of what our possibilities are.” (translated by ed.). A teacher argues on the same point, where he says: “I think, it is due to the notion that they don’t quite understand that they have to see it as a world opening for them.” (translated by ed.).

The result from testing this hypothesis is that hypothesis 3b also finds empirical support. The interviews are, thusly, filled with statements from the pupils, which emphasize that the teachers, to a large extent, adapt the education based on the pupils’ input, especially following the participation in the competency development course. We have chosen to review the pupils’ concrete examples on the way in which the teachers use the pupils’ input in section 8.1, in the following chapter, considering that these examples are particularly relevant for analyzing, the way in which a supplementary training course in pupil engagement has affected the level of pupil engagement (meaning Thesis 5, and particularly hypothesis 5b). This chapter will focus on identifying the part of the interview where the pupils’ have mentioned at least one instance, in which the teachers have adapted the teachings from the basis of the pupils’ input. In addition to that, we will illustrate the support for hypothesis 3b, using the following three statements from three different pupils, all of which are in relation to the teachers using the pupils’ input.

139


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

“She writes them down, and then takes them home and looks to see, if there’s anything we should work on, and then, the next day, she tells us how she has thought it out.” “She certainly receives it well, if they’re serious of course. And then she tries to see, if it’s a possibility.” “She thinks a lot about it, about engaging us and figuring out what we want to do … Because it also holds meaning for our lessons, she then found out that we care more about the grades, if we can make decisions on our own.” (translated by ed.)

In addition to that, it provides even more empirical support for the analysis that the teachers explain, the way in which they use the pupils’ input in order to adapt their education. One of the teachers discusses the use of the pupils’ input thusly: “Typically, they provide the ideas, and then I can bring them to my planning of the next lesson. That can be the starting point.” (translated by ed.). Several of the participating principals, who have been observing the teachings in the classroom, have had positive statements in relation to the teachers’ adaption of the education, based on input from the pupils. In this relation, one principal states that “it was an experiment, they had the confidence to try it, and it was, especially, the pupils’ own wish. The teachers seized that opportunity and said “well, then that’s what we’ll do”.” (translated by ed.).

7.3.3 Responsiveness: A requirement for the effects of pupil engagement The test of hypothesis 3a and 3b, thusly, provides empirical support for Thesis 3, which states that pupil engagement has its effect, because the teachers adapt the education, based on input from the pupils. Once again, we find added value from the qualitative approach to the analysis, which is in addition to the test of the two hypotheses. As we emphasized in the introduction to this section, the theoretical argument for Thesis 3 builds on arguments from the literature on coproduction, and establishes that responsiveness towards the citizens’ input will lead to a higher quality in the service production. In relation to the theoretical review of Thesis 3, on the analysis of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, we argued that the teachers’ responsiveness to the input from the pupils will, primarily, lead to strengthened academic ability. Based on the pupils’ input, the teachers will be able to adapt the education, making it fit better with the way in which the pupils optimally learn.

140


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

We initiated chapter 7 by pointing out that the chapter should be read as a chronological test of the nine hypotheses to the first research question of the report, which also formed as an ongoing development of the complete causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. Based on the empirical test of the hypotheses for the first three theses, relating to the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, we are able to connect the mechanisms from Thesis 1 and Thesis 3, which both have found empirical support, and, as the analysis has shown, are connected with each other in the complete mechanism. We have illustrated the entire connection between the independent variable of pupil engagement, and the three dependent variables, and have depicted this in the following figure 7.4. Based on the analysis so far, pupil engagement gains a particular effect through the adaptation of the education, co-ownership, and motivation. The analysis also indicates that pupil engagement leads to teachings that are better suited for the way in which pupil prefer to be taught, which, in turn, leads to an adaptation of the education, having a direct influence on the academic ability. Based on the available amount of data, this connection seems to be of a secondary nature, which is the cause behind us marking the connection with a dotted line in the following.

07 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT WORKS

The analysis points toward there being empirical support for this argument. In cases where the education has been adapted, the result has been a higher level of education. However, the analysis shows that the teachers’ responsiveness has a different, and even more central role in the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. The analysis shows that the teachers’ responsiveness towards the input from the pupils form the basis, which is the pupils’ co-ownership to the education, and subsequently for the effect of pupil engagement on the pupils’ motivation.

Figure 7.4: The causal-link in pupil engagement, through its mechanisms of the effect on the independent variables, following the analysis of the first three theses.

ACADEMIC ABILITY

PUPIL

  ENGAGEMENT

ADAPTATION OF THE EDUCATION

COOWNERSHIP

MOTIVATION

WELL-BEING

SOCIAL COMMITMENT

141


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

7.4 Thesis 4: Strengthened competencies as a causal mechanism We, thusly, only need to analyze Thesis 4, before being able to complete the analysis of the first research question of the report. Thesis 4 is established thusly: Pupil engagement has its effect, because it directly strengthens the pupils’ competencies. In this instance, we are also dealing with a thesis that, if it finds empirical support, will connect pupil engagement with the effect on pupils’ academic ability. We have theoretically operationalized the thesis in three concrete hypotheses, all of which are an expression of different ways in which pupil engagement directly strengthens the pupils’ competencies. Thesis 4 can, thusly, find empirical support, insofar as pupil engagement enables the pupils to be better at reflecting on, which type of education fits them the best (hypothesis 4a), if the pupils become better orally from being engaged (hypothesis 4b), and/or if the pupils become better at written assignments from being engaged (hypothesis 4c).

7.4.1 The pupils’ ability to reflect on their own learning process In the following two sections, we will conduct a closer investigation of the analysis of the three hypotheses. At this point, we would like to underline that the analysis does not hold empirical support for the three hypotheses, entailing lack of support for Thesis 4. The arguments that we have identified in the following, are greatly characterized as being indications in the data, and not general tendencies, which support the individual hypotheses. Similarly to our discussion in the analysis of Thesis 2, regarding pupils’ self-confidence, we believe that the chronological perspective plays a major role on the results. The development of competencies takes time, and considering that the participants of the interviews have had a particular focus in the questions on the effects of working with pupil engagement, following the competency development course, their time perspective for answering has been greatly limited. It becomes important to note this, when the following sections investigates these indications in the data. Similarly to Thesis 2, we do not find empirical support for the three hypotheses, but we are also unable to completely refute the arguments. The analysis of hypothesis 4a indicates that the teachers hold a strong belief in the idea that the more you engage the pupils in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the education, the better they get at reflecting on it. The ability for reflection is, however, not an ability that develops quickly. It takes time, which means that it is important to work with pupil engagement over a longer period of time, before you are able to see any effects. One of the teachers tells us that “In situations where we have some pupils, who just sit there and think “my effort was pretty good”, but it really wasn’t. It’s just that the lack of self-insight is there with many of the pupils … but I do think that the more you work with it, and the more you kind of hold their hands, and give them some tools for it, the better it will become.” (translated by ed.). Another teacher adds to this argument,

142


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The pupils need to gain familiarity in working with different processes, and also think and actively consider the education, which takes time for the pupils to learn. Nevertheless, several of the teachers are optimistic towards the theory that pupil engagement can lead to strengthening of the pupils’ level of reflection. On this argument, one teachers states that “Practice in oral skills and reflection on the things come along when you talk about it, and you do that even more this way, so… yeah, I also think that they learn more.” (translated by ed.). The principals observe the same: Pupil engagement helps support and qualify the pupils’ learning and competencies, but it takes time. Among others, one principal makes the following reflection, based on his own experience with pupil engagement, from when he worked as a teacher: “They became more academically skillful, and became much more aware, you know, about what it is that we really do, and why we do it.” (translated by ed.). The pupils themselves do generally not touch on their own ability to reflect on the education. This is emphasized by itself in the testing of hypothesis 4a, considering that it demands a certain level of reflective ability, to be able to explain in an interview, how pupil engagement affects one’s ability for reflection. There are only a few statements in the interviews with the pupils, in which we can interpret that pupil engagement has led to increased reflection on their own learning process. Among others, one of the pupils states: “… before we hadn’t really thought about it being a possibility to be engaged like this, but now that we can, I also think that you would rather do so.” (translated by ed.).

07 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT WORKS

and says that “I just hope that they become better at reflecting on their own learning. And they don’t just go, well that’s probably just the way it is … but that they also reflect on, well, why is it like that.” (translated by ed.).

In spite of these indications, we are unable to find empirical support for hypothesis 4a, regarding pupils becoming better at reflecting on, which type of education fits them the best, in situations where they are engaged in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the education. We can, however, not completely refute the hypothesis, due to the relationships in the data, which indicate that pupils’ ability to reflect will be strengthened by a longer period of intensive work with pupil engagement.

7.4.2 The pupils’ oral and written competencies Likewise, we are unable to find empirical support for hypothesis 4b and hypothesis 4c, regarding the direct effect of the pupils’ oral and written competencies. For hypothesis 4c, we are even unable to identify any relevant statements, which is most likely caused by the fact that none of the participating classes have worked with a written dimension in the pupil engagement. Pupil engagement has been completed orally.

143


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Although we are unable to find empirical support for hypothesis 4b, there are, similarly to hypothesis 4a, some indications in the data, which argues that the pupils, in the long run, will have their oral competencies developed, as a result of pupil engagement. One of the interviewed teachers says that “… well, there’s always someone in the class, who doesn’t say anything, but here we are talking about something around 60-70 percent of the class, who actually participate in the talk, and says these things. I think that’s pretty good.” (translated by ed.). The general results of the direct effect from pupil engagement on the pupils’ oral competencies is that none of the pupils, teachers, or principals mention in the interviews, any relationships showing that their work with pupil engagement, following their participation in the competency development course, have affected the pupils’ oral abilities in a positive manner. Rather, it would seem that the data, once again, points to an effect in the long run. This can be observed in the statement from one of the teachers, who says that “… if there are some pupils, who have never been used to being asked about their opinions or attitude, it just becomes so incredibly difficult that it requires so much, much more time for them to get used to it.” (translated by ed.). A different teacher explains it thusly: “It has also really been a process in order to get them to be active… We also recognize it with ourselves that you don’t just do it, but you have to get used to it, and been working on getting used to the idea that you’re allowed to speak your mind.” (translated by ed.). The pupils’ own statements fit well with the teachers. Our analysis of the empirical data shows that there are individual classes, in which we can observe a more academic discussion in plenum, which comes as a result of pupil engagement. Several pupils, however, also argue that you have to work with pupil engagement for an extended period of time, before more of the classmates enter orally into the discussions. In this relation, one pupil states: “Well, I don’t know, well, whether they discuss it more, but I think, anyways, that they get a stronger idea of us actually being able to do, like, something.” (translated by ed.). The analysis of the interviews with the principals provides us with the same understanding. In spite of these individual statements, which hint to the notion that the pupils’ oral competencies are strengthened by pupil engagement, the general consensus is that the pupils need an extended period of time for adaptation, in order to observe significant positive changes in relation to their oral competencies. The participants of the interviews think that the process of pupil engagement, in the long run, can have a direct effect on the pupils’ competencies, but at this point in time, we are unable to find empirical support for any of the three hypothesis, which entails a lack of support for Thesis 4.

144


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

This concludes the analysis of all nine hypotheses for the four theoretically derived theses on the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. Before we continue with the analysis of the second research question of the report, the remaining part of this chapter will sum up the results of the analysis. In the following table 7.1, an overview of the results of the empirical tests of each of the nine hypotheses can be found. As made clear by the table, we found empirical support for the four hypotheses related to Thesis 1 and Thesis 3, respectively; on the other hand, we were unable to find empirical support for the hypotheses for Thesis 2 and Thesis 4.

Table 7.1: Outline of the results of the empirical tests of the nine hypotheses, in relation to the first research question of the report. Thesis

Hypothesis

Empirical Support

1: Pupil engagement has its effect, because it increases pupils’ motivation.

1a: Whenever they are engaged, pupils have a greater desire for actively participating in the education.

+

1b: Whenever they are engaged, the pupils are more committed to their education

+

2: Pupil engagement has its effect, because it increases pupils’ self-confidence.

2a: Whenever they are engaged, pupils feel more confident with speaking.

-

2b: Whenever they are engaged, pupils feel more confident with actively participating in their education

-

3: Pupil engagement has its effect, because teachers adapt the education based on inputs from the pupils.

3a: Pupils’ inputs are useful, and possible to implement in the education.

+

3b: The teachers adapt the education based on input from the pupils

+

4: Pupil engagement has its effect, because it strengthens pupils’ academic ability in an immediate fashion.

4a: Whenever they are engaged, pupils become better at reflecting on the type of education fitting optimally with their needs.

-

4b: Whenever they are engaged, pupils becomes verbally stronger.

-

4c: Whenever they are engaged, pupil becomes better at written work

-

07 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW PUPIL ENGAGEMENT WORKS

7.5 The causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement

Following table 7.1, it is, once more, important for us to emphasize that there is a chronological dimension, which plays a quite significant role in the analysis. Based on

145


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

the quantitative analysis of the effects of pupil engagement, we pointed out that pupil engagement has been utilized to some extent in all schools, even before we completed the competency development course in relation to this report. It remains, however, that pupil engagement in the participating schools has not been as prevalent, compared to what we expected. The statements from the participants of the interview have, thusly, been heavily affected by the work with pupil engagement, which has been conducted in relation to their participation in the competency development course. We will discuss this relationship further in chapter 8, but wish to emphasize that even though we do not find any empirical support for Thesis 2 and Thesis 4, we are unable to completely refute that pupil engagement strengthens the pupils’ self-confidence, or that pupil engagement directly strengthens the pupils’ competencies. Based on the empirical analysis of the causal mechanism in this report, which to this day, in spite of this disclaimer, remains the most comprehensive and systematic analysis of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, we can conclude the following: Pupil engagement has its effect, primarily because the teachers are responsive towards input from the pupils, which create co-ownership with the pupils, and the relationship with their education. The co-ownership increases the pupils’ motivation, which leads to strengthened academic ability, well-being, and social commitment. In addition to this, pupil engagement may also have a direct effect on pupils’ academic ability, because the teachers’ responsiveness to input from the pupils leads to the education being adapted in a way that fits optimally with the way in which the pupils prefer to be taught. Adaptation of the education, co-ownership, and motivation make up the central causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. We are, thusly, left with a causal-link surrounding the effects of pupil engagement, which, including the intervening variables in the causal mechanism, presents itself as illustrated in the following figure 7.5.

Figure 7.5: The complete causal-link in pupil engagement, by way of its mechanisms to the effect on the independent variables.

ACADEMIC ABILITY

PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

ADAPTATION OF THE EDUCATION

COOWNERSHIP

MOTIVATION

WELL-BEING

SOCIAL COMMITMENT Kausalmekanismen

146


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

08 ANALYSIS:

THIS IS HOW YOU INCREASE PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

147


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

8.Analysis: This is how you increase pupil engagement We now move on to the analysis of the second research question in the report, regarding the extent to which, and how, pupil engagement can be increased. Introductory, we would like to note that this chapter will conduct the analysis chronologically, which entails that we analyze Thesis 5, 6, and 7 in the mentioned order; this is done by testing the attached hypotheses with an empirical test. Insofar as these tests for the hypotheses render results, the chapter will investigate and discuss how these results should be understood. In relation to the analysis, it is equally important to note that Thesis 5, 6, and 7 are not competing theses, which is what we saw with Thesis 1, 2, 3, and 4, in the analysis of the first research question. The theses in this chapter will be viewed as building stones, which fortify each other, and this will be made very clear during the investigation in this chapter.

8.1 Thesis 5: A supplementary training course can increase pupil engagement The fifth thesis deals with the way in which pupil engagement can be increased, and Thesis 5 is established thusly: A supplementary training course for teachers can increase pupil engagement, due to the way in which it develops the teachers’ competencies, and secures a greater prioritization of pupil engagement. This thesis establishes the fundamental building stone for the analysis on the way in which pupil engagement can be increased. Thesis 6 and Thesis 7 both build on the fundamental expectation for how pupil engagement can be increased, which Thesis 5 expresses. The analysis of Thesis 5 is completed in four parts. We initiate with an investigation of the level of pupil engagement, established ahead of the supplementary training course, which we referred to in chapter 7. This is followed by the empirical test of the three hypotheses, all of which are connected to Thesis 5. Insofar as Thesis 5 finds empirical support for the analysis, we should expect to find support for the following hypotheses: Teachers engage the pupils to a larger extent in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the education, which follows the supplementary training course (hypothesis 5a); teachers utilize the tools and methods from the supplementary training course in their teachings (hypothesis 5b); the supplementary training course increases the teachers’ prioritization of pupil engagement in the education (hypothesis 5c). We conclude the analysis of Thesis 5 by completing two additional analyses for testing of the hypothesis. The first of these extra analyses thoroughly investigates the question, regarding the way in which teachers work with pupil engagement in the education, but holds focus on the teachers’ approach to pupil engagement, rather than their utilization of the tools and methods. The second extra analysis relates to, the amount to which the specific supplementary training course, meaning the content and composition of the course holds importance for the effect of the level of pupil engagement.

148


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The average level of pupil engagement, among the 3,475 pupil in the quantitative analysis on the effects of pupil engagement (Andersen et al., 2012), had a value of 59.4 on a scale from 0 to 100, 100 being the highest possible value. Based on this data, we expected a significant high level of pupil engagement in the classes, where we have collected data for the analysis. Our expectations were, however, not observed in the situation found in the analysis, which we have mentioned in chapter 7. Some teachers told us in the interviews that pupil engagement, prior to attending the competency development course, did not hold much focus in their teachings, and the statements from the pupils are particularly interesting. All of the pupils participating in the interviews note at some point in the interview that pupil engagement, prior to beginning the competency development course, did not hold any focus in the education. The only two examples of concrete pupil engagement, prior to beginning the course, mentioned by the pupils, was that they could deliver input for which films the class should watch, and that they had been requested to come up with ideas for some activities in their lessons in German. Apart from that, the pupils emphasize that they have never had a tradition for being engaged at any significant level. One of the pupils states that “We are also used to thinking about it ourselves. That it actually was in such a way that the teachers just prepared something for us, and we’d do it”. (translated by ed.). A different pupil makes the same argument: “There wasn’t really anything. At all. It was just like “do this, do that... boom”.” (translated by ed.). In evaluating the level of pupil engagement, prior to completing the competency development course, it is naturally important to consider that the pupils and the teachers have been interviewed after participating in the course. Suddenly, they have all experienced an intense focus on pupil engagement in the weeks following the first course, and until the second course, which was concluded with the execution of the interviews. For this reason, the previous level of pupil engagement might have seemed insignificant in comparison with the high level, all of a sudden experienced by the pupils. However, it remains noticeable that the pupils have the ability to explain the low level of pupil engagement in their education, which they experienced prior to the beginning of this competency development course. Pupil engagement not being observed at as high a level as we expected, should, thusly, be considered as a significant starting point for the analysis, alongside the level of pupil engagement being difficult to completely identify from a quantitative measurement.

08 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW YOU INCREASE PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

8.1.1 Pupil engagement prior to the supplementary training course

Pupil: “Er…, well, there basically wasn’t any engagement. We also talked about that here, “that now when we’re thinking about it”, said the teachers, they aren’t really engaging us. But after the course, they’re engaging us much more.” (translated by ed.)

149


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

8.1.2 The supplementary training course increases pupil engagement With this in mind, we can now begin to complete the tests of the three hypotheses, which are attached to Thesis 5, which relate to the idea that a supplementary training course can increase pupil engagement. The analysis of hypothesis 5a clearly shows that the supplementary training course has increased the amount of pupil engagement in the education. This is emphasized by all of the pupils, with the exception of one individual pupil, expressing that pupil engagement has been significantly increased in the education, following the participation of the first supplementary training course. That is not to say that the one pupil has not experienced increased pupil engagement. Although the pupil does not directly experience increased pupil engagement, it is made clear by the examples of pupil engagement in the class, which the pupil mentions. Pupils, who experienced increased pupil engagement, say the following:

“The teachers aren’t trying to be mean, just because they don’t engage us. I just don’t think they are thinking about it. So, I kind of feel that this course is really good, because it, like, gets them to think that “hey, if we engage them, maybe they’ll be more excited”, you know.”

(translated by ed.)

“Er…, well, there basically wasn’t any engagement. We also talked about that here, “that now when we’re thinking about it”, said the teachers, they aren’t really engaging us. But after the course, they’re engaging us much more.”

(translated by ed.)

One of the statements from the interviews with the principals, which strongly illustrates the effect of the supplementary training course, relates to the way in which pupil engagement, on one of the participating schools, not solely strengthened with the teachers, who have been a part of the course. Pupil engagement has also been strengthened with the other teachers, because the pupils have taken the initiative to implement the new tools and methods in other subjects as well. One of the principals, thusly, explains that “We have seen a small piece of evidence for it (that it works ed.) out here in some way. That it has been Danish, math and history, which have been running it, and who have practiced these things, which we have learned on the course, and that the pupils have actually suggested their German teacher, if they could use some of the elements in the German lessons as well, and that has given some completely different German lessons.” (translated by ed.).

150


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

08 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW YOU INCREASE PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

The analysis of the interviews with the pupils, the interviews of the teachers, and the interviews of the principals, shows that several of the participating teachers have continued to systematically work with pupil engagement in the education. Hypothesis 5a, thusly, finds strong empirical support for the analysis. This image even strengthens when testing hypothesis 5b, which relates to whether the teachers utilize the tools and methods from pupil engagement in their education. This analysis shows the way in which teachers, concretely, have worked with pupil engagement, following their participation in the supplementary training course. The overarching result of this test is just as clear: The teachers utilize the tools and methods in the education, and the empirical test, thusly, supports hypothesis 5b. It is, however, interesting to investigate precisely how the teachers have been working with pupil engagement. We have experienced that this has been conducted in two ways. The analysis primarily shows that the teachers have worked with the concrete tools and methods for pupil engagement, which were presented to them and rehearsed on the first course. Secondarily, the analysis shows that the teachers have developed their own concrete methods for the way in which they can engage the pupils more thoroughly in the education. In that relation, it is important to remember that the theoretical argument behind Thesis 5 is that the supplementary training course will strengthen the teachers’ competencies for pupil engagement. When the teachers, on their own volition, have developed different ways in which to engage the pupils, we find that the empirical analysis shows that the teachers’ competencies have been strengthened in a practical manner. The teachers have rehearsed the concrete material, with which they have worked in the education, and considered the possibilities for engaging the pupils in decisions regarding their education. The analysis shows that it has happened because the teachers have spent some time considering a way, in which they generally could engage the pupils even more, which also comes from trying to work with pupil engagement that fits with the individual classes. These considerations have not taken a toll on the concrete tools and methods from the course, with which they still spend a significant amount of time working. In the following table 8.1, we have collected different examples of the way in which teachers have engaged the pupils, following their participation in the supplementary training course. The examples are, particularly, from the interviews with the pupils and teachers, considering that these interviews

Teacher: “I am certainly going to say that in the six years I have been employed, I have participated in a lot of things, which have mostly been some sentences and statements on, I don’t even know what… This is the only thing, I have participated in, where I felt that here we have something that actually holds importance.” (translated by ed.)

151


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

contain descriptions of how teachers have concretely worked with pupil engagement. The principals do not discuss this topic to the same extent, which is how the teachers have concretely worked with the tools and methods in the education, prompting us to not include these interviews in the test of hypothesis 5b.

Table 8.1: Display: Concrete pupil engagement in the education after participation in the supplementary training course. Working with tools and methods from the course

Systematic use of the different evaluation and feedback tools in the education, which have been taught in the course, e.g. the exercise Hot or Not, and Buddy-evaluation (see appendix 5)

The teachers’ own initiatives for pupil engagement

A teacher has listed the themes from a book on the blackboard, alongside examples on different methods for teaching. The pupils have been divided into groups, and selected a theme and a method of teaching, followed by educating the classmates in the subject via the chosen method of teaching. A different teacher has collected input from the pupils for content and working method on a theme day. A third teacher suggested 3-4 different methods for working with a book, the pupils were then to choose their method of preference.

Hypothesis 5c, regarding how the supplementary training course has increased the teachers’ prioritization of pupil engagement, also finds strong empirical support. Considering that hypothesis 5c focuses on the teachers’ priorities, we have had this as a focus in the interviews with the teachers, in order to properly test this hypothesis. The test shows that the prioritization of pupil engagement in relation to the teachings has increased with all the teachers. Observing that the supplementary training course has had this effect is evident by the examples of the concrete use of pupil engagement in the teachings, which we have discussed in the above-mentioned. The examples show exactly that the teachers prioritize making pupil engagement a more pivotal part of the education. In addition to that, all the teachers have expressed that their participation in the supplementary training course has increased their prioritization of pupil engagement in the education. The wording used by the teachers, is that the course has increased their knowledge of, and focus on, pupil engagement in the education. An example of this is made clear in the following quotations, which come from interviews with three different teachers.

152


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

“But having participated in this kind of course, I will have a greater focus on, you know, if we are to do this, well, do you think that we should do it this way, or another way. Er. So, you know, in my work as a teacher in this relation, also changes by having participated in this, I think.” “So, I actually think that it takes up a lot of focus, a lot. From taking up absolutely nothing, to being there for every lesson… I have become more aware of it now. And I think that is what makes the difference.” (Translated by ed.)

We have now established strong empirical support for hypothesis 5a, 5b and 5c, respectively, and thusly also found a complete foundation of empirical support for Thesis 5, which relates to the ability of a supplementary training course on increasing pupil engagement, because it strengthens teachers’ competencies and prioritization of pupil engagement. Before entering into the empirical analysis of Thesis 6, we will follow this section by completing two additional analyses, which go beyond the hypotheses themselves, but remain particularly relevant to the understanding of how the teachers work with pupil engagement, and how pupil engagement can be increased.

08 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW YOU INCREASE PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

“… there’s been a bigger focus on it… and I think that it has given, like, a reminder of remembering to engage the pupils.”

The first of these extra analyses comes in extension to the above-mentioned analysis of the way in which teachers will, concretely, work with pupil engagement in their normal day. In this case, we do not focus on the tools and methods utilized by the teachers, but on the supervisory role of the pupil engagement process, which is controlled by the teachers. In other words, this analysis provides us with additional knowledge on how teachers’ practical approach to pupil engagement is established. The other extra analysis is an analysis focusing on the identifying the strengths of the current supplementary training, and investigate how the course could be improved. This analysis gives us the first opportunity of understanding the importance of the specific content and the concrete composition of the supplementary training, and the effect of these factors on the behavior of the pupils. In addition to that, the arguments from this analysis gives us the opportunity for some adjustments of the supplementary training, set before the completion of the quantitative experiment in the third part of the complete nested analysis, from which the complete competency development course can be conducted.

153


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

8.1.3 Teacher-management of pupil engagement is central As discussed earlier, the supplementary training course has not only led to an increase in pupil engagement with the teachers, who participated in the supplementary training course, but that the pupils also took the initiative to disseminate the use of the tools and methods for pupil engagement in other lessons. Pupils are then able to take the initiative themselves, and prompting more engagement in the education. It remains a pivotal argument in the analysis that pupil engagement generally is teacher-managed. All the teachers, who have participated in the supplementary training course, consider pupil engagement as a process that they are responsible for. It is, generally, the teachers who take the initiative for engaging the pupils in the education, and the teachers who take control and decide, whether or not they will utilize the concrete feedback and evaluation tools from the supplementary training course, or if the pupils should be engaged in a different manner. Teacher-management is, thusly, not random. It is an important priority for the teachers, because they keep in mind that there should always be academic goals for the education, which entails that the education always needs a certain academic level. Based on this, the teachers view pupil engagement as a certain work-method, a pedagogical approach to the education. The approach can have an array of positive effects, but it remains a means to reach the goal of pupils learning some material and becoming more skillful. This is the reason for their management of the pupil engagement. The following quotations from a teacher and two principals illustrate these arguments on teacher-management of pupil engagement.

“They should learn as much as possible, and become as skillful as possible. And they do get there, if they think it’s exciting and interesting. So, it’s up to me to ensure the academic part that the academic level, when they become engaged, is also alright, so it just isn’t shenanigans.” “I do think that pupil engagement has shown to be beneficiary, whenever you establish a clear framework, you have to say, and then choosing, you know, should you engage the pupils in it, should you give joint influence, and then I think that you need a very clear framework for that.” “… the difference from joint influence and pupil engagement for me is exactly that it’s the teacher who has the overarching responsibility for the goals of the education, and which materials are used, and how it should be prepared.” (Translated by ed.)

154


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The final part of section 8.4 will contain an analysis of the current strengths of the supplementary training course, in its current form, and possibilities for improving the course. These two analyses will draw on the arguments from the group evaluation, which we conducted at the ending of the second course, from both teachers and pupils alike. All the arguments in the following two subsections have come into light as a part of the group evaluation, and during the individual interviews.

8.1.4.1 Strengths in the supplementary training course The first, and very significant, argument in this analysis is that the structure of the supplementary training course, contains the exact amount of disciplinary effect on the behavior of the participants as we expected, which we identified in developing the course. The supplementary training course has, concretely, been conducted as a course with two days of participation, which have been held three weeks apart. Between the first and second course, the teachers have been provided with a bound assignment, regarding the tools and methods for pupil engagement at their schools, with which we have discussed their experiences on the second course. The analysis shows that the structure has had the expected disciplinary effect, which is expressed in the teachers’ feeling pressure for quickly implementing the work with pupil engagement. They have requested experiences with pupil engagement prior to attending the second course, where the experiences could evolve, alongside the other participants. The structure has, concretely, led to the teachers, without exception, quickly initiating working with the tools and methods following the first course. One of the teachers says in the interviews: “No, I would say that here it demands that you immediately get something to integrate in your teachings, because we had these follow-up meetings etc. So. We have been forced to use it.” (translated by ed.). The same argument is brought forth by another teacher: “Now, I’ve used this a lot, because we have had these 3-4 weeks in between…” (translated by ed.).

08 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW YOU INCREASE PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

8.1.4 trengths in the supplementary training course – and possible improvements

It is not only the teachers who have experienced the disciplinary effect of the composition of the supplementary training course. The principals have also noticed that it has been important for the teachers to quickly implement the work with pupil engagement, in order to gain experiences prior to the second course. On the other hand, the pupils have, naturally, only noticed how the amount of pupil engagement has increased in the education, but not whether or not the teachers’ behavior has been affected by the second course. A couple of the principals say the following:

155


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

“… but I think that this way of working, being away and then coming back, then leave again, and in that way working with it in a conscious manner all the time, I think that’s a good way to do it…” “So, when you come out and it becomes a lot more practical, and with some exercises, and it becomes obligatory when you come back again, and you have to rehearse something etc. etc., that’s the stuff, that really matters…” “… it causes, them, as teachers, to think “well, we have to do this, because we are going in again”.” (translated by ed.)

Even though the disciplinary element in the structure for the course has been successful, the analysis also shows that the interval between the first two courses is a bit too short. Having only three weeks between the first and the second course, has not provided the teachers with enough time to implement the tools and methods. Although all the teachers have been able to work with pupil engagement, some cases show that they have had relatively simple problems with achieving the goal, particularly in cases where the teachers have not taught the pupils for enough lessons per week. In the future, it is, thusly, important to maintain the disciplinary element in the supplementary training course, and also ensure that the period of time between the two courses is long enough, for the teachers to be able to work with pupil engagement. Another central argument in the analysis of the strengths of the supplementary training course is that it provides a great value, in that the teachers are attending with two pupils from the same class as they teach. The analysis, thusly, shows that all the pupils have been happy with participating in the courses. In addition to that, the participation from the pupil has given the teachers an opportunity to have a thorough talk with the pupils about their attitude towards the teachings. This is a task that teachers usually do not feel they have enough time to complete in everyday life. One of the teachers remarks that “I think it has been super good, because the last time we were away, we talked, you know, about, what the pupils thought about the education. What did they think was good, and what did they think was bad, and what would they like to see more of. And it’s quite rare that you get the chance to sit and talk with two pupils about that.” (translated by ed.). In extension to this argument, the analysis seems to heavily suggest that the pupils play a very active role, in relation to the presentation of the forthcoming work with pupil engagement, to the rest of the class. This role, taken by the pupils, entails that it holds

156


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

None of the teachers or the principals directly mention, by themselves, anything about the pupils’ participation having added a disciplinary element to the supplementary training course. It does, however, follow indirectly with the way in which the teachers have worked with pupil engagement, and utilized the pupils. Considering that the pupils from several of the schools have helped in presenting the work with pupil engagement to the rest of the class, obliges the teachers to actually work with pupil engagement, if not, the pupils would begin asking questions as to why it has not been initiated. Even in situations where the teachers have not made a specific presentation of the project to the rest of the class, we expect that the pupils’ participation in the supplementary training course has an effect, considering that these two pupils know that the goal is to work more with pupil engagement in the school. The pupils’ participation in the course makes sense for the rest of the pupils, but also for the teachers.

8.1.4.2 Possible improvements of the supplementary training course The analysis makes it clear that the supplementary training course can be developed more in several areas. First of all, it is made clear that it has been a challenge for the pupils to comprehend some parts of the course, especially on the first course. Pupil engagement is an abstract term, similar to the pedagogical background for the course, presented to the teachers and the pupils, which is at a higher academic level than what the pupils are used to working with. It poses a challenge, which will be difficult to completely circumvent, considering that the teachers and the pupils are taught at the same time. But it will strengthen the pupils’ output from the course, insofar as it can be completed.

08 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW YOU INCREASE PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

great importance which pupils are the ones to participate on the courses with the teachers. The teachers have generally held great focus on the pupils being someone who wanted to participate, but also that they should function as a kind of ambassador of the project to the rest of class.

Second of all, the analysis shows that it will strengthen the course, if the teachers receive inspiration and ideas, on how they concretely can engage the pupils, to a greater extent. As made clear by the review in section 6.3, the teachers in the supplementary training course are presented with an array of feedback and evaluation tools for pupil engagement. These have been of a general nature, and have, thusly, been useful in different lessons, which has also happened, as made clear by the above-mentioned analysis of hypothesis 5b. Several teachers request further inspiration, and more ideas for how they can, particularly, engage the pupils in the planning of the education. In addition to that, they request more examples of, the way in which they can engage the pupils in specific courses and certain lessons. Seen in relation to the continuous challenges with implementing the increased pupil engagement, which we will investigate further in the following analysis of Thesis 6, this seems to strengthen the supplementary training.

157


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Thirdly, the analysis shows that it gives great benefit to add a third course to the supplementary training. The advantage of the composition of the current training is that the teachers are quickly given experiences in working with pupil engagement, which allows them, on the second course, to utilize this knowledge and exchange experiences with other teachers, and getting feedback on their work. However, the disadvantage with this structure is that the supplementary training is completed after a relatively short period of time, although a large amount of work remains in implementing increased pupil engagement as a permanent part of the education. The teachers, thusly, request a third course, which should be placed two to three months after the second course, in which they will have the opportunity to rework their experiences with the work, and discuss the challenges met in the process. A third course would also expand the disciplinary element of the supplementary training course, giving the teachers experience in working with pupil engagement over an extended period of time, which seems advantageous. A third course should, thusly, strengthen the probability for a permanent effect from the supplementary training course on the level of pupil engagement. In the following table 8.2, we have provided an overview of the particular strengths of the completed course, alongside possible improvements, as we have just mentioned. It is important for us to emphasize that the above-mentioned review, and table 8.2, do not contain every well-functioning part of the course. The effect shown from the supplementary training course in testing hypothesis 5a, 5b and 5c, reveals that many parts of the course in the analysis, among which we can mention the content, have functioned very well. This additional analysis has, thusly, shown us that the way in which the concrete composition is established, holds importance for the effect of the supplementary training course, and we have specifically chosen only to concentrate on the elements that hold a particular meaning for emphasis, which is due to them being pivotal, or because they establish possible suggestions for improvement.

Table 8.2: Display: Particular strengths and challenges found in the completed supplementary training course Particular strengths of the supplementary course, at this point in time

Possible improvements of the supplementary course

The disciplinary structure for the supplementary training with two planned courses

More focus on an easy and comprehensible language towards pupils.

The pupils’ participation alongside the teachers

Establishing an idea and inspirational catalogue about pupil engagement in the planning-phase of the education, along with certain course work and certain lessons Adding a third course sometime after the other two.

158


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

“Well, I think that if you want to get this going, really going, with the new reform, I think that you cannot disregard this material…” Principal (Translated by ed)

159


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

8.2 Tese 6: Thesis 6: Follow-up and sparring increases the effect of the supplementary training course Having found strong empirical support for Thesis 5, which relates to pupil engagement being increased by conducting a supplementary training course, because this type of course increases the teachers’ competencies and prioritization of pupil engagement, providing us with the foundation for the way in which pupil engagement can be increased. Thesis 6 follows by building on Thesis 5, and focuses on how such an extra effort for the teachers, following the initiating supplementary training course, can increase the effect of the course. Thesis 6 is established thusly: Subsequent follow-up and sparring with the participants of the supplementary training course increases the effect of the supplementary training. We have concretized Thesis 6 in two hypotheses, both of which need to pass the empirical test, insofar as we are to find empirical support for the complete thesis. The first hypothesis deals with the apparent challenge for the teachers in implementing the tools and the methods from the supplementary training in the education back at their school (hypothesis 6a). The second hypothesis deals with, the way in which follow-up and sparring assist the teachers in implementing the tools and methods (hypothesis 6b). Hypothesis 6a focuses on the expectant challenges in implementing the increased pupil engagement, while hypothesis 6b relates to the expectant effect of the course, which we have developed as a part of the competency development course, based on Thesis 6. The following section will analyze hypothesis 6a and 6b in that order. We will begin with investigating the constraints, which are experienced by the teachers, in relation to their work with pupil engagement in the schools, all of which are the cause for the challenges in implementing the tools and methods. Based on this, we will follow with an analysis of the completed consultant visit, and see if it has assisted the teachers in their implementation of the tools and methods.

8.2.1 Constraints for increased pupil engagement The overall result of the analysis on hypothesis 6a shows that this hypothesis finds strong empirical support. Although the level of pupil engagement has increased significantly following the teachers’ participation in the supplementary training course, we can still identify an array of constraints in implementing pupil engagement. These constraints are a challenge for the teachers, and in their work with implementing the tools and methods from pupil engagement to the education. We have established an overview of these constraints in the following table 8.3, and will follow with an investigation of each of the constraints.

160


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Display: Constraints on increased pupil engagement.

Basic conditions

Competencies

Constraints for the pupils

Constraints for the teachers

Mechanisms in the group of pupils, which cause the pupils to act reserved.

A lot of work to do in the remaining three years of education.

Difficult to provide useful input when lacking the training to do so.

Lack inspiration in relation to the concrete content in the different lessons.

Limited time for preparation.

Weak pupils have a hard time being engaged.

The constraints generally distribute on two variables. The first variable represents basic condition, which is relevant in the group of teachers and the groups of pupils. The second variable relates to the pupils’ and the teachers’ competencies for pupil engagement. We will initiate the analysis by investigating the basic conditions. This part of the analysis shows a general tendency that pupils in the individual classes are influenced by some particular group mechanisms, which means that they stay away from actively participating in delivering input for the education. One of the interviewed pupils argues that some of the other pupils in the class feel that it is embarrassing to stand in front of the class, and tell them how you feel. In that relation, several of the participants of the interviews, pupils, and teachers alike, tell that the pupils are shy, and that some of the pupils are afraid of how the teachers will react, if they say that they find the teachers’ lessons boring. The following quotations from a teacher and a pupil emphasize this argument:

08 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW YOU INCREASE PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

Table 8.3:

“Whereas, if you have some pupils, who have never been used to being asked about their opinion and feelings, it just becomes so hard that it requires a longer, a longer period of time for them to get used to it. “Listen to me, you don’t get hit on the head for saying that my teachings actually are a bit boring today”. Yeah, if you understand what I mean. It’s an adjustment process, where they have to try and figure out, how you do this”. “… there were some, who didn’t have the courage the say how they felt, because of what if they give a bad grade, then they’ll get mad at you and the likes.”

(translated by ed.)

161


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The basic condition in the group of teachers is, on the other hand, related to time, which makes itself clear in two different ways. First of all, the analysis shows that the pressure of time in relation to the curriculum, which the teachers have to complete before the exams in 9th grade, are perceived as a significant constraint among the teachers. This is in effect even if the teachers in relation to their participation in the competency development course, have been working with pupil engagement in the 8th grade, which means that a full year remains before the pupils have their final exams. The reason for this is found with the time perspective, and it takes time to complete the engagement, in addition to the pupils’ input, insofar as they are to have any real influence, which may lead to a need for adjusting the already implemented plan for the education, as established by the teachers. One of the teachers states the following on working with pupil engagement, prior to participating in the supplementary training course: “I think that you can forget about it during the normal day, because you have these common goals, and they have to go to their exams, you know. There are a lot of things, and it’s easier if you just do it yourself, and then you might make it, maybe.” (translated by ed.) Second of all, time holds great meaning for the teachers, and relates to the time they need for preparation. It requires quite some time to work in a new manner, not the least in this situation, where the teachers, not only, have to use a new type of goal for the education, but also, where they should take initiative for giving the pupils influence on the concrete formation of the education. However, we should emphasize that this is not the constraint that seems stronger in the analysis, but it does mark a basic condition, which is in place. Considering that pupil engagement takes time, support the theoretical argument relating to the importance of having the teachers highly prioritize pupil engagement. Among other places, this argument is illustrated by the following statement regarding the time-consuming nature of working with pupil engagement: “Well, the difference is that if you have been on a course in a specific lesson, there are some very concrete tools that you bring home with you. And often times some that you can come home and use directly in your teachings … Whereas, here we’re put more to work as teachers, because we have to adjust the tools completely for one specific group of pupils that we are dealing with.” (translated by ed.) The other central constraint-variable relates to the pupils’ and the teachers’ competencies. For this part of the analysis, we have, for the most part, utilized the interviews with the teachers, considering that the teachers are, for the most part, the ones who have addressed the importance of the competencies with the pupils and the teachers, respectively. The interviews with the principals are possible to include in certain places, while the pupils have not touched on these arguments themselves, meaning the competencies among themselves and with the teachers.

162


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

This argument should not be understood as a claim on the pupils not delivering any useful input for the education. As the test of hypothesis 3a showed, the pupils have delivered useful and implementable input. The argument should, rather, be understood in such a way that it is the quality of the pupils’ input, which has varied greatly, and there is a need to further develop the pupils’ competencies, in order to optimize pupil engagement. One teacher explains the following: “I also kind of think that the thing that happens sometimes, is that you run head against a brick wall, when asking the pupil: “What do you want, how would you like to work with this?”, and only three comes forth, who I already know. Earlier, I might have interpreted that as if they’re maybe indifferent about it. That they aren’t interested in it. But now I hear that they actually want it, they just don’t have any more ideas. And I think that marks a significant difference.” (translated by ed.). Another teacher has a similar argument: “… if you’re used to always working on the blackboard and then some assignments, you might not think that you could use that movie, or maybe do some roleplaying.” (translated by ed.). As mentioned in relation to the analysis of Thesis 5, it has given great value to the supplementary training course that the pupils have participated along with the teachers. The need for developing the pupils’ competencies for pupil engagement, once again emphasizes that it makes sense for the pupils to participate in the course. Although it is not very practical to have all the pupils participate in the supplementary training course, it will be a good opportunity for, at least, two participating pupils from each class to develop their competencies for engagement.

08 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW YOU INCREASE PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

Generally, it is a challenge for teachers to have their pupils engaged in decisions regarding the education, which is due to the pupils not being used being engaged in a systematic manner, which we discussed in the beginning of chapter 8. The consequence is that the pupils are not accustomed to delivering input, for altering the way in which the education could be completed. It is a competency to be able to deliver good input, and considering that it has not been developed earlier in their lives, it is not particularly strong. At least, this seems to be the tendency in this analysis.

In addition to the general need for developing the pupils’ competencies for participating actively in the engagement process, the analysis shows that some pupils, often being the academically strongest pupils, have a relatively easy time actively participating in pupil engagement. Other pupils, often being the academically weak pupils, are quite the challenge for the teachers in actively participating in the engagement process. The analysis greatly points towards this as a significant constraint for the teachers, which makes it hard to implement the tools and methods for pupil engagement. The challenge particularly comes from the weaker pupils having a hard time reflecting. The ability for reflection is important in order to deliver useful input for the education. One of the teachers says the following about this challenge: “Now e.g. this one XX (name

163


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

removed ed.) we have brought with us today… She is good at reflecting on herself, and what she could have done better. Where we have some pupils who just sit there and think “well, my effort was pretty good”, where it really just wasn’t … I still think that it’s the same pupils who express certain things.” (translated by ed.) In this relation, it is important to emphasize that some teachers have experienced that it has been easier to get the weaker pupils engaged in the education, following the initiation of working more with pupil engagement in the teachings. Although there still is a challenge in getting the weaker pupils to participate in the process, the analysis indicates, at the same time, that pupil engagement has the potential for actually getting this group to be more active in a more general sense in the education, than what has been possible at an earlier stage. From the interviews, we can emphasize the following quotations from a principal and a teacher, respectively:

“He says that the issue with getting some of those girls, who he thinks that might have been hard to get them joining in, he thinks that he has been more successful through this project.” “There is, well you know there are always some, who don’t say anything, but here we’re talking about something in the lines of 60-70 percent of the class, who actually participate in the talks, and say these things. So, I think that’s great.” (translated by ed.)

The final constraint relates to the teachers’ continuous lack of ideas and inspiration for working with pupil engagement, even though the teachers have been working with the tools and methods for pupil engagement in the course of the supplementary training, and even though we have had a particular focus on making the tools simple and easily implementable for the teachers. There is a particular need for providing the teachers with inspiration for, the way in which they can work with pupil engagement in the different lessons, and in relation to the concrete formation of the education. The analysis of the constraints for pupil engagement shows that there is strong empirical support for hypothesis 6a. The teachers experience challenges when trying to implement the tools and the pupils for pupil engagement. We have prioritized the importance of using some space for testing this hypothesis, due to the analysis clearly showing that in spite of the clear effect of the supplementary training on the level of pupil engagement, there are still several constraints for increasing pupil engagement. Primarily, we made us of the

164


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

“… I still think about that we need to, in relation to getting our pupils more engaged, and in relation to making them think that it’s exciting to learn something, then they have to be engaged, to a much larger extent than we do now.” Principal (Translated by ed)

165


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

interviews with the teachers for this part of the analysis, while the interview with the pupils have been used in the analysis of the mechanisms in the group of pupils. An analysis of the interviews with the principals only provides a limited value for the empirical test of this thesis, which forms our reasoning for only including a single quote from the principals.

8.2.2 The value of concrete feedback courses We are now able to continue to test for hypothesis 6b, and examine whether or not follow-up and sparring with the participants, following their participation in the supplementary training course, can assist the teachers in overcoming the constraints. We have completed a consultant visit, where the main focus has been follow-up and sparring for the teachers in two of the participating schools, which was held in relation to the complete competency development course. The teachers have, thusly, been visited by one of the two educators from the supplementary training course, between the first and the second course, in order to receive assistance in the implementation of the tools and methods for the education. We have, thusly, chosen to focus on the interviews with the teachers, which are being utilized for this part of the analysis. For the first time, in relation to the analysis of the second research question in the report, we are unable to find complete empirical for a hypothesis. The outcome in the two schools has varied greatly. On one of the schools, the consultant visit has given great value, and assisted the teachers in their implementation of the tools and methods for pupil engagement. In the other school, the teachers have not gained anything from the consultant visit. The following two quotations show the difference in the two schools:

“I think it has worked really well. And I also think that we have felt that it helped in optimizing it for us, being able to have her participate in this didactic conversation.” “But I don’t really know if you as such, well, personally I didn’t get anything, anything from it, but it was fine to speak with her about the things that were happening.” (translated by ed.)

A more thorough analysis of hypothesis 6b shows that the reason for the two very different outcomes of the consultant visits, can primarily be found in the lacking

166


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The empirical support for hypothesis 6a shows that a need for help with implementation of the tools and methods for pupil engagement exists. The outcome of the consultant visits on one of the two schools shows that there is a potential for the consultant visits to assist the teachers in overcoming this challenge. Although the test of hypothesis 6b does not provide unconditional support for the hypothesis, a general empirical support for Thesis 6 remains, and determines that follow-up and sparring for the participants, following their participation in the supplementary training course, will increase the effect of the supplementary training. The analysis of Thesis 6 emphasizes, once more, the argument, with which we concluded the analysis of Thesis 5: The exact composition of a visit holds great meaning for the effect of the visit. Prior to completing the quantitative experiment in the final part of the complete nested analysis, it will, thusly, be advantageous to develop the consultant visit, in such manner that it has a clear objective, and specific goals for what the purpose of the visit is. In that relation, it would make sense to have the starting point in the constraints, which we have discussed in the section above, in relation to the analysis of hypothesis 6a.

08 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW YOU INCREASE PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

prioritization of the visit. As we mentioned in relation to developing the consultant visits, our goal has been to make them as simple as possible. The consultant visit has consisted of visiting the school, by one of the two educators from the supplementary training course, where they have overseen the teachings, and participated in a didactic conversation between the two teachers from the schools, who are a part of the project. During the consultant visit, there has not been a specific focus on any particular lesson. The analysis indicates that the visit has lacked a clear objective, meaning a clear prioritization and a clear framework for the goals of the visit.

8.3 Thesis 7: Support and sparring from the principal increases the effect of the supplementary training course We have, thusly, reached the analysis of the final thesis, in relation to the second research question of the report, Thesis 7, which argues that support and sparring from the principal increases the effect of the supplementary training. The thesis is derived on the basis on theoretical expectations, arguing that the closest leaders’ implementation of the new measures hold meaning for the work related behavior of the public employees, because the leaders’ implementation of new measures affect the ground workers’ perception of the initiative as supporting or controlling. Since the initiative for increasing pupil engagement comes from outside the organization, we have derived the thesis on how support and sparring from the principal will be able to create a culture among teachers, in which they understand the initiative as supporting their work.

167


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

We have concretized the overarching theoretical thesis in three concrete hypotheses. Empirical support for Thesis 7 will, thusly, demand that the principal’s support is important for the teachers, in working with pupil engagement (hypothesis 7a). It follows that it will demand the teachers having received professional sparring from the principals, following the principals’ participation in the course (hypothesis 7b), and that the professional sparring has helped the teachers (hypothesis 7c).

8.3.1 The importance of the principal for the work on pupil engagement The test of hypothesis 7a shows that the support from the principal in working with increasing pupil engagement in the education, has a fundamental importance for the teachers. The hypothesis, thusly, finds empirical support. However, the analysis does not show any indication of the support from the principals holding importance, in relation to whether or not the teachers perceive the initiative for increasing pupil engagement as supporting or controlling, towards which we did have some theoretical expectation. Instead, the analysis argues that the teachers are, generally, motivated for working with increasing pupil engagement, following their participation in the competency development course, and the actions of the principals, in relation to this external initiative, does not hold a determinate role for the teachers’ perception of the initiative. The principals’ support, however, is important for the teachers, in order to secure a real opportunity for working with new initiatives e.g. increased pupil engagement. One teacher argues on this point, and says: “But the support from the leadership is always essential, in relation to whether or not you can complete something.” (translated by ed.). The opportunity for completing something, might be particularly relevant for the teachers in cases, where the work with increased pupil engagement takes additional time, in comparison with what else has been planned for the teachings in the class, but also on a general level in relation to the specific teacher’s prioritization of other work-related assignments, with which new initiatives, such as increased pupil engagement, presumably holds an importance. The analysis clearly shows that the teachers, on a fundamental level, find great importance in the support for working with pupil engagement. This is illustrated in the following quotations from different teachers:

“… she was with us, and participated in a lesson, and it, er, and it was mostly in relation to pupil engagement. It, it, I think it’s nice, and that it’s good, and that it’s important that the principal participates.”

168


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

(translated by ed.)

It is, however, also made clear by the analysis that the teachers have a great wish for more active and involving support from the principals. In summation, we find support in the data for hypothesis 7a. There can be no doubt that the teachers finds great importance in the support from the principals, in relation to teachers’ work with increased pupil engagement, and any other initiative, with which there is a wish to implement something in the teachings, and subsequently the teachers’ work. With that being said, we have also observed several teachers requesting that the principals are much more visible and active, in relation to their support for the teachers’ work with these new initiatives. In the following section, we will address the second hypothesis of the thesis, which relates to the amount to which the teachers have received professional sparring from their closest leader, in relation to this new initiative of increased pupil engagement in the education.

8.3.2 The effect of professional sparring between principals and teachers

08 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW YOU INCREASE PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

“It (support from the principal ed.) is incredibly important, yeah, and I was happy that my principal wasn’t one that I had to fight on it … It’s also important that we get that support for, having the didactical conversation. We need this observation of one another. It, but I am, is very central.”

We will now move on to the empirical test of hypothesis 7b and hypothesis 7c, thusly completing the analysis relating to whether or not the teachers have received professional sparring, and the extent to which the professional sparring has held value for the teachers. Based on the test of hypothesis 7a, it is not surprising to find that hypothesis 7b does not find empirical support in the analysis. It is, thusly, a very limited amount of professional sparring on pupil engagement, which has been conducted between the teachers and the principal. The lack of sparring makes it practically impossible to complete an analysis of whether or not the professional sparring has held any value for the teachers, considering that the interviews do not contain any significant statements about this idea. Hypothesis 7c can be considered untested. It is, however, worth noting that the teachers, to some extent, have been frustrated by the fact that they have not received any professional sparring from the principals. The teachers, generally, express great joy in shown support from the principals, in relation to the work with pupil engagement, and situations in which the principals show a clear excitement for the new initiative. It does, however, seem that the teachers’ concrete need for direct professional sparring is not fully covered. As one teachers expresses:

169


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

“It hasn’t been good. Unfortunately. You know, I think that… how do I put this nicely? Well, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that my principal is excited about this project, and also think that it seems fantastic that we are about to engage the pupils more. But from there, and then actually doing something about it, there is quite some way to go.” (translated by ed.) Although several of the teachers have a wish for increased professional sparring, which entails a more active support from their closest leaders, the analysis also shows that the teachers understand the reason behind the absence from the principal, coming from a lack of resource and scheduling-availability. The interviews show that the principals are incredibly busy with implementing the latest school reform, which, after having been politically decided in June of 2013, is to be enforced in August 2014. The teachers are, thusly, aware of the fact that the principals are very busy, and are subsequently lenient towards the absence of the principals. One teacher argues on this point, and says that “Here in December, the public school stands in a difficult position. Nobody knows what is going to happen in eight months.” (translated by ed.)

8.3.3 The importance of the course for the principals In relation to the above-mentioned analyses of hypothesis 7a, 7b and 7c, it becomes clear that the direct professional sparring, between teachers and principals, has not been adequate in comparison to the wishes and needs from the teachers. This gives rise to two overarching considerations in relation to the courses for the principals. First of all, you might ask whether or not the courses for the principals hold any importance for the teachers’ work, and subsequently the strength of the intervention. Second of all, it provides opportunity for considering whether or not the content of the courses for the principals is adequate, when wanting to provide the principals with proper tools for conducting the professional sparring with the teachers. If we begin with addressing the first consideration, the analysis clearly shows that even though the teachers’ wishes and need for more professional sparring have not always been met by the principals, the analysis shows, rather clearly, that the principals have generally supported and expressed excitement for the initiative with increased focus on pupil engagement, which has had a large and significant impact for the teachers’ work with pupil engagement. The analysis shows that the course, for the principals, has held importance in securing the support among the principals. This is illustrated in the following statements from a teacher and three principals:

“They have also been away. I just heard that she also had her arms over her head, and that’s here, which is the case…”

170


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

“We created a lot of curiosity in relation to this. Can it really be so simple and relevant, without expense, while it provides an outcome… So the fact that we also got sent out that day, also means that the curiosity has been stimulated, you know.” “This is also why, I think that this project is super good, and I really hope that it will get spread out some more”. (translated by ed.) The teachers get peace to work, and mental security in the principals’ prioritizing the initiative for increasing pupil engagement in the school. In this way, the principals show an implied support for the teachers, in situations where they might have to reorder priorities on some work assignments. Once again, we have some doubt in relation to the courses for the principals, and their importance for the strength of the interventions. The support from the principal, although it may not be adequate in comparison with the teachers’ wishes and needs for professional sparring, still holds a large mental importance for, whether or not the individual teachers experience that the initiative should have priority or not. In relation to whether or not the content of the courses for the principals provide the necessary tools, for being able to conduct more professional sparring with the teachers in the school, we note two important things. First of all, the analysis of the interviews with the teachers, and the interviews with the principals, show that the courses for the principals need to contain more concrete tools and methods, which the principals can bring home to their schools, and utilize in the professional sparring with the teachers. Second of all, it is incredibly important to keep in mind that the principals, in relation to the planning of the new school reform, have been particularly busy in generally managing their time and resources. This emphasizes the argument that the tools and methods, we are developed for the purpose of supporting principals in their professional sparring with the teachers, has to be concrete, easily applicable, and in no way consume extra time, when wanting to gain the biggest benefit from it.

08 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW YOU INCREASE PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

“Well, I think that we had a really great course.”

In the above-mentioned sections, we have analyzed the importance on the effects on the courses from the concrete composition and content of the supplementary training course, and the consultant visit, respectively. In addition to this, the same analysis of the course for the principals, shows that the course has been successful in securing the principals’

171


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

support for the pupil engagement project. On the other hand, the course can become stronger in providing the principals with some concrete tools for, the way in which they can complete the professional sparring, also allowing them to complete the professional sparring more frequently. In overall terms, the result of the empirical tests of the three hypotheses for Thesis 7 are ambiguous. There is empirical support for hypothesis 7a, relating to the argument that support from the principals is important for the teachers, but no empirical support for hypothesis 7b, relating to the teachers having received professional sparring from the principal, which does not allow us to complete the empirical test of hypothesis 7c. A complete summarization of the analysis of Thesis 7 is heavily pointing towards the argument that support and sparring from the principals is important for the teachers, in their work with pupil engagement. There is, however, a requirement for the courses for the principals, and that they, to a larger extent, hold focus on securing the principals’ prioritization of the professional sparring with the teachers, and similarly, the course should have a greater focus on equipping the teachers with concrete tools and methods for completing the professional sparring.

8.4 This is how you increase pupil engagement We have now completed the analysis for all eight hypotheses, all discussing whether or not, and the way in which, pupil engagement can be increased. Similarly to the ending of chapter 7, this chapter ends with an overview of the analysis of the second research question of the report, which is done prior to the conclusion in chapter 9. As made clear by the following table 8.4, we have found empirical support for five of the eight tested hypotheses. In addition to the table, we will make a substantial review of the results in the analysis.

172


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Outline of the results of the empirical tests, regarding the eight hypotheses in relation to the second research question of the report Thesis 5: A supplementary training course for teachers can increase pupil engagement, due to the way in which it develops the teachers’ competencies, and secures a greater prioritization of pupil engagement. 6: Subsequent follow-up and sparring with the participants of the supplementary training course increases the effect of the supplementary training. 7: Support and sparring from the principal increases the effect of the supplementary training.

Hypothesis

Empirical Support

5a: After participating in a supplementary training course, the teachers are more likely to engage the pupils in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the education.

+

5b: The teachers utilize the tools and methods from the supplementary training courses in their teachings.

+

5c: The supplementary training increases the teachers’ prioritization of pupil engagement in the education.

+

6a: There is a challenge for the teachers, when back at their own schools, in implementing the methods and tools from the supplementary training courses in the education.

+

6b: Follow-up and sparring help the teachers with the implementation of the tools and methods.

+/-

7a: Support from the principal is important for the teachers in their work with strengthening pupil engagement.

+

7b: The teachers have had professional sparring from the principal in relation to working with pupil engagement.

-

7c: The professional sparring from the principal, in relation to pupil engagement, has assisted the teachers in working with pupil engagement.

?

08 ANALYSIS: THIS IS HOW YOU INCREASE PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

Table 8.4:

Based on the first empirical analysis of whether or not, and the way in which, pupil engagement can be increased, we can review it in the following manner: A supplementary training course has strong positive effects on the level of pupil engagement, because it strengthens the teachers’ competencies and prioritization of pupil engagement. Despite the individual effects of the supplementary training on the level of pupil engagement, an array of constraints exist, which encompass group mechanics in the group of pupils, and time pressure for the teachers for the competencies in the participation process, found with both pupils and teachers. The completed consultant visit, with follow-up and sparring for the teachers, which was to help with the implementation of the increased pupil engagement, has given a mixed result. The existing constraints emphasize the

173


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

need for such a visit, which is what the analysis indicates, being a visit with a precise professional focus, giving the expected effects. Support from the principal is important for the teachers in their work with pupil engagement, and the course, for the principals, has secured that this support has been present to a large extent. There has not, however, been conducted any mentionable professional sparring on pupil engagement, between the principals and the teachers, and the course for the principals should, to an even larger extent, focus on the importance of this task, and enable the principals to do so. Based on this, we have completed the empirical analysis, and can now illustrate the way in which pupil engagement can be increased, as done in figure 5.2. Therefore, we have added this figure once more.

Figure 5.2: Factors affecting the level of pupil engagement

INSTITUTIONS: NORMS AND PRIORITIZATIONS

EXTERNAL INITIATIVES

PUPIL ENGAGEMENT

COMPETENCIES

ACTIONS OF THE MANAGEMENT

174


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

09

CONCLUSION AND PUTTING INTO PERSPECTIVE

175


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

9. Conclusion and putting into perspective This report delivers an array of significant contributions. First of all, the report delivers a conclusion to the two research questions, and, thusly, contribute to the literature on pupil engagement with knowledge on the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, alongside identifying the extent to which, and how, pupil engagement can be increased. In addition to that, the report contributes with an array of arguments for the literature on coproduction, and the general literature on administration, alongside providing opportunity for an extensive consideration of policy, regarding the improvement of the competency development course for pupil engagement. In the following section 9.1, we will begin with an overview of the relevancy of the report, and the theoretical and methodical approach to the analysis, which is followed by section 9.2 and 9.3, establishing conclusions for each of the two research questions. In section 9.4, the report is finalized by putting the results into perspective, in which we will touch on the different contributions from the literature, policy considerations, and adjustment of the competency development course, which all lie ahead of completing the quantitative experiment.

9.1 Thesis statements, theory and method Up until this point in time, research in pupil engagement has concluded that pupil engagement has strong and significant positive effects on several different quality goals for the school, which encompass pupils’ academic ability, well-being, and social commitment. Based on these conclusions, we have had three primary deliberations on, the way in which further analyses of pupil engagement can make a contribution to the literature. First of all, analyses of pupil engagement contribute to the literature on political scientific administration, providing knowledge on the way in which the concrete work methods hold importance for the quality of the public service. Second of all, analyses of pupil engagement contribute with evidence-based knowledge for the debate on educational policy, thusly contributing with a relevant and highly profiled social debate, regarding the way in which the quality of the schools can be increased. Thirdly, based on the existing literature on pupil engagement, it is made clear that unanswered questions on pupil engagement remain, and further analyses of pupil engagement would provide answers to these questions. Specifically, the questions regarding the specifics of the causal mechanism behind the positive effects of pupil engagement, the extent to which, and how, pupil engagement can be increased, and, finally, if the

176


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

This report forms the second, and qualitative, part of a research project, which has been organized as a nested analysis in three parts. The report, thusly, follows a quantitative analysis of the effects of pupil engagement, and has had the purpose of answering the first two, of the central, unanswered questions: Why does pupil engagement have positive effects on the pupils’ academic ability, well-being, and social commitment? Can pupil engagement be increased, and if so, how? The third and final part of the complete research project, which is completed in direct linkage with this report, is a quantitative experiment, and is primarily focused on handling the possible endogenous challenge in the existing analyses of pupil engagement. Pupil engagement can be theoretically considered as a type of coproduction, in which the citizens are involved in decision-making, regarding the way in which the public service should be produced. The theory of coproduction, thusly, establishes the overarching theoretical framework for the report, in which we have incorporated arguments from the literature on pupil engagement and the additional literature on administration. Based on this, we have derived four theses on the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, and three theses for the extent to which, and how, pupil engagement can be increased, respectively.

09 CONCLUSION AND PUTTING INTO PERSPECTIVE

existing conclusions in the reports are challenged by an endogenous relationship between the independent and the dependent variable, which will assist in establishing the chronological order between the variables.

In order to complete the empirical analysis on the extent to which, and how, pupil engagement can be increased, it becomes necessary to complete a concrete initiative with the purpose of increasing pupil engagement. Based on the three theses for the second research question of the report, a competency development course has been developed, which has been held in nine schools within Randers Municipality, followed by interviewing 20 pupils, teachers, and principals for the analysis. The 20 interviews have been coded based on the theoretical expectations for the analysis, followed by completing a process tracing analysis of all 17 hypotheses, all of which are associated with the seven overarching theses.

9.2 The causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement In regards to the first research question of the report, we can conclude that pupil engagement has positive effects on the pupils’ academic ability, well-being, and social commitment, for two reasons. The first, and primary, reason for this is that pupil engagement entails adaptation of the education, which is based on input from the pupils, strengthening the pupils’ co-ownership of their education. The co-ownership leads

177


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

to increased motivation with the pupils, which forms the central part of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. The secondary reason is that the adaptation of the education has a different effect, which is that the education, to a greater extent, fits better with the way in which the pupils prefer to receive learning, resulting in the strengthening of the pupils’ academic ability. The conclusion is based on empirical tests of a total of nine hypotheses, all of which are associated with the four overarching theoretical theses for the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. All of the four theses have expressed theoretical expectations for a single independent causal mechanism. The empirical analysis has, however, made it clear that motivation and responsiveness are a part of the same causal mechanism, and, together with co-ownership, establish the central part of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. In the following section, we will review the results of the empirical analysis of each thesis, relating to the first research question of the report. The analysis provides strong empirical support for Thesis 1, regarding motivation as a central part of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement. The analysis, thusly, shows that pupil engagement strengthens the pupils’ willingness for active participation in the teachings, as well as pupil engagement strengthening the pupils’ commitment for their education. Hypothesis 6a and 6b, thusly, find empirical support. In addition to testing hypothesis 6a and 6b, the analysis shows that another central part of the causal mechanism exists, of which we did not have any theoretical expectation. Pupil engagement has an effect on pupils’ motivation, because it initiates with strengthening the pupils’ co-ownership for the education. On the other hand, we are unable to find support for Thesis 2, regarding how pupil engagement has its effect, because it strengthens the pupils’ self-confidence. In spite of the theoretical expectations, we do not find that pupil engagement provides the pupils with more courage for speaking more in the lessons, or that pupil engagement provides the pupils with more courage for active participation in the education. Although hypothesis 2a and 2b do not find any empirical support, it is important for us to emphasize that the analysis does not form a basis for completely refuting Thesis 2. Self-confidence is not something that quickly changes. Changing self-confidence takes time, and the analysis does show some indications that intensive work with pupil engagement, over a longer period of time, will strengthen pupils’ self-confidence. The analysis of Thesis 3 shows that the teachers’ responsiveness towards input from the pupils holds a pivotal role in the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement, which comes from the teachers’ adaptation of the education, being exceedingly important for the pupils’ sense of co-ownership of the education, and in turn, increasing the pupils’

178


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

We are, however, unable to identify empirical support for the notion that pupils’ competencies are directly strengthened by pupil engagement. Hypothesis 4a, regarding how pupil engagement strengthens the pupils’ ability for reflecting on their own teachings, hypothesis 4b, regarding how pupil engagement strengthens the pupils’ oral competencies, and hypothesis 4c, regarding how pupil engagement strengthens the pupils’ written competencies, do not find any empirical support. In other words, we are unable to find empirical support for the notion that the pupil engagement process, in itself, directly strengthens the pupils’ competencies. Similarly to the observation in Thesis 2, the analysis indicates that intensive work with pupil engagement, over a longer period of time, might directly strengthen the pupils’ competencies, which entails that we are unable to completely refute this thesis.

09 CONCLUSION AND PUTTING INTO PERSPECTIVE

motivation. The empirical analysis, thusly, provides support for hypothesis 3a, regarding how the pupils’ deliver useful and implementable input, and hypothesis 3b, regarding the way in which teachers adapt the education based on input from the pupils. In addition to the role of the responsiveness in relation to the pupils’ co-ownership and motivation, the analysis shows that responsiveness also entails that the education, to a larger extent, fits better with the way in which the pupils prefer to learn.

9.3 Can pupil engagement be increased, and how? The conclusion on the second research question of the report, argues that it is possible to increase pupil engagement by strengthening the teachers’ competencies for pupil engagement, along with their prioritization of pupil engagement. This can concretely happen by completing a competency development course, which is made up of a fundamental supplementary training course for pupils and teachers, followed by a consultant visit for the teachers, alongside a course for the principals. The analysis is based on the completion of the competency development course in Randers Municipality, and has been completed as an empirical test of all eight hypotheses, all of which are associated with the three overarching theses, regarding how pupil engagement can be increased. Thesis 5, in the report, regarding how pupil engagement can be increased by completing a supplementary training course, finds strong empirical support. The analysis, thusly, shows that the supplementary training course leads to increased pupil engagement, entailing that the teachers utilize the tools and methods from the supplementary training in their teachings, and that the supplementary training course increases the teachers’ prioritization of pupil engagement. Hypothesis 5a, 5b, and 5c, thusly, all find empirical support, and we are therefore able to conclude that the supplementary training course, by itself, has strengthened the teachers’ competencies

179


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

180


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

All in all, there is also empirical support for Thesis 6, regarding how subsequent followup and sparring with the teachers will increase the effect of the supplementary training course. Initially, the analysis provides empirical support for hypothesis 6a, which deals with the challenges to the teachers in relation to implementing the tools and methods from pupil engagement in the education. Although the supplementary training course, in itself, significantly increases the level of pupil engagement, and we observe the teachers wanting to implement the tools and methods from pupil engagement in their teachings, following their participation in the supplementary training, the teachers are faced with an array of constraints. The teachers have to handle a significant amount of relationships in the group of pupils, which makes the pupils seem reluctant in contributing to the pupil engagement process, and in addition to this, the teachers are also to find time for working with pupil engagement in their own preparation, and in relation to the curriculum for the year. In addition to this, the pupils and the teachers continue to have a need for developing their competencies, in order to complete pupil engagement in a successful manner. These constraints create a need for subsequent follow-up and sparring with the participants in the supplementary training, in relation to the implementation of the tools and methods. The completed consultant visits have, however, given mixed results. On one of the schools, the consultant visit has assisted the teachers, while another school did not experience any value from the visit. The results of the empirical test for hypothesis 6b is, thusly, mixed. The analysis does, however, also point to the argument that if the consultant visit is given a clearer focus, and precise goals for its purpose, it will assist the teachers in overcoming the constraints, which they experience when trying to implement the tools and methods for pupil engagement.

09 CONCLUSION AND PUTTING INTO PERSPECTIVE

for pupil engagement, and prioritization of pupil engagement, thereby having a strong effect on the level of pupil engagement in the education.

Finally, the analysis of Thesis 7 shows that support and sparring from the principals will increase the effect of the supplementary training. The analysis supports hypothesis 7a, by showing that support from the principal is particularly important for the teachers in working with pupil engagement. The principals’ participation in the course for principals, has secured that this support has been present. Hypothesis 7b, in which teachers have received professional sparring from the principal, does not find empirical support, which entails that it has not been possible to complete the empirical test of hypothesis 7c, analyzing the extent to which the professional sparring has assisted the teachers in their work with pupil engagement. The analysis does, however, make it clear that the teachers request more active support from the principals, e.g. as professional sparring for their work. All in all, the analysis of Thesis 7 shows that support and sparring from the principals can increase the effect of the supplementary training, but also that the course for principals would be more advantageous if it had a sharper

181


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

focus, in order to secure the principals’ support for working with pupil engagement, but also in securing the prioritization of the professional sparring with the teachers.

9.4 Putting the results of the report into perspective We initiated the report itself, as well as this chapter, with a presentation of the three primary considerations in relation to how further analyses of pupil engagement contribute to the literature. Considering our conclusions on the two research questions, it becomes relevant to investigate the way in which the analysis contributes to the literature, which should be in place before ending the report. These perspectives will be investigated in this remaining part of the chapter. In the following, we will initiate an investigation of the theoretical contribution for the literature, provided by this report, on pupil engagement. These consideration are followed by a perspective on the way in which the conclusions in the report should have a central effect on the educational-political debate regarding discipline, classmanagement, and good education. We will also, once again, discuss the theoretical contribution from the report, but this time it will focus on the literature on coproduction, and the additional literature on administration. We conclude the chapter by reviewing, the way in which the competency development course can be advantageously optimized, prior the completing the quantitative experiment in the third and final part of the complete research project regarding pupil engagement.

9.4.1 En route to a theory on pupil engagement Based on the existing literature on pupil engagement, particularly the quantitative analysis of the effects of pupil engagement (Andersen et al., 2012), and the analysis in this report, we start to see a complete picture of pupil engagement and its causes. Based on these analyses, we have been able to, both theoretically and empirically, gain knowledge on the effects of pupil engagement, the causal mechanism behind these effects, and whether or not it is possible to increase pupil engagement. We are, thusly, en route to a complete theory on pupil engagement. Naturally, questions continue to exist, which the research have yet to answer, but these questions are focused on further empirical testing, supporting, and qualifying the theory and its arguments. From the theory on pupil engagement, it is possible to derive the following: When pupils are engaged in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the education, their academic ability, well-being, and social commitment are strengthened. This happens, because the teachers’ adaptation of the education, from the pupils’ point of view, strengthens the co-ownership to the education, and subsequently the pupils’ motivation. There are

182


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Although we are headed for a theory on pupil engagement, there are two relationships, which might challenge the existing results. They are, thusly, important to answer, and both questions will be examined in the quantitative experiment, making up the third and final part of the complete research project. First of all, it is important to examine the possible endogenous challenge between the independent variable, pupil engagement, and the dependent variables, academic ability, well-being, and social commitment. In order to talk about a causal connection, it is crucial to not have any doubts in regards to the chronological order between the variables. Based on the existing studies, it is not possible to determine, if it is solely pupil engagement affecting the pupils’ academic ability, or if the pupils’ academic ability affects the level of pupil engagement. This potential problem is very important to address, which also forms the primary reasoning for deciding to complete a quantitative experiment, which comes in addition to the quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis that normally establishes a nested analysis.

09 CONCLUSION AND PUTTING INTO PERSPECTIVE

three central variables, all of which affect the level of pupil engagement in the education. These are the teachers’ willingness to engage the pupils, the teachers’ prioritization of pupil engagement, and the teachers’ competencies for engaging the pupils. Insofar as the teachers are influenced by a professional norm regarding, the way in which pupil engagement and democratic development are important tasks for the school, as is the case in Denmark, pupil engagement can be increased by focusing on the teachers’ competencies for pupil engagement, and prioritization of pupil engagement. This can be completed by conducting a competency development course, consisting of a fundamental supplementary training course for the pupils and teachers, a follow-up consultant visit, and a course for the principals.

As mentioned earlier, the experimental design, via manipulation of the independent variable, provides full control over the chronological order in the causal connection, which ensures that we can determine whether or not an endogenous problem exists. The experiment is expected to have participation from 300 8th grade classes, divided into experimental groups and control groups, respectively. Having an average class size of around 20 pupils, the experiment will have the participation of up to 6,000 pupils. Completing the experiment as a quantitative experiment, provides us with an advantage on the other important question regarding pupil engagement. In the above-mentioned, we concluded that pupil engagement can be increased by completing a competency development course, which is caused by strengthening the teachers’ competencies for pupil engagement, and prioritization of pupil engagement. It is the first time that this research question has been empirically investigated; however, considering that the empirical analysis has been completed qualitatively, there is not a large external validity

183


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

in the analysis. An analysis on a greater scale will, thusly, show if the results can be generalized to the entire teacher population. Finally, we would like to point out that the quantitative experiment can also provide an answer for, whether or not there are any effects from the competency development course over time. For practical reasons, we have gathered the data for the analysis immediately after conducting the second course day, and the teachers have, thusly, only worked intensively with pupil engagement for three weeks. Due to this, it is particularly relevant to get an answer to, whether or not the effects endure throughout the entire school year.

9.4.2 The third solution in educational-politics Although we still need to complete the quantitative experiment, thereby completing the third and final part of the nested analysis, the conclusions in the research on pupil engagement already point towards the need for a serious consideration in policy. Initially, we need to point out that the perspective in this chapter moves us further away from the arguments found in the analysis directly, more so than what we do in the theoretical perspective, and in the considerations on developing the competency development course. We would, however, argue that the strong positive and robust effects of pupil engagement, can be seen on not one, but several quality goals for the public school, and should provide reasoning for a central consideration on the Danish educational debate, regarding sensitive subjects, such as discipline in the school, classmanagement, motivational education, and means for strengthened academic ability. If we, in order to emphasize the argument, draw the political boundaries clearly, the Danish debate on these issues can be described in the following way. Often times, if not for the majority of the time, the debate end in two camps, each of which have strong opinions, but who rarely speak to one another. One of the camps consists of educational politicians, who are often right-wing focused, wanting greater discipline in the public schools, and are very pre-occupied by strengthening the basic academic ability of the school, which is in the form of pupil competencies in reading, mathematics, and scientific subjects. An example of how this camp participates in the educational debate, could be seen in the spring of 2013, where the Danish Parliament negotiated on a new, and highly profiled, reform of the public school. Ahead of these negotiations, SFI released the report Teachers, education and pupil achievements in the public school (translated from: Lærere, undervisning og elevpræstationer i folkeskolen). In this report, SFI concludes, among other things, that the pupils achieve the best academic results, when the teachers “exercise strong class-management by being deliberate in relation

184


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

In the other camp, we find educational politicians, who are often more orientated to the left on the political scale, and influenced by reform pedagogical thoughts. These educational politicians are much more focused on the role of the public school in educating well-rounded human beings, and securing the democratic formation of future generations of citizens. In recent times, this group has been rather defensive, considering that reform pedagogy, and a pedagogical focus on responsibility for own education, are seen by many as the primary reason for the poor Danish results in the international comparisons of pupils’ competencies.

09 CONCLUSION AND PUTTING INTO PERSPECTIVE

to securing that the pupils meet their end of the bargains, and that the class remains calm” (translated by ed.) (Winter and Nielsen, 2013: 13). Whether or not the report from SFI was the deciding factor, is not possible to further conclude upon. It is very likely that it has been a combination of several relationships, but during the spring of 2013, class-management became a hot topic in the debate regarding the public school. One of the examples is found on May 11th 2013, when the newspaper, Politiken, wrote the story: Right Wing: Can we have some quiet in the classroom, please (translated from: Blå Blok: Kan vi så få ro i klassen, tak), in which the educational spokesman from Dansk Folkeparti (the Danish People’s party, translated by ed.), Alex Ahrendtsen, mentioned stronger class-management as a crucial point in the negotiations.

In practice, these camps, or contrasts if you will, are strongly defined by attacks on political opponents. They have created a situation in which a great discussion of value on discipline in the school, class-management, motivational education, and means for strengthened academic ability exists, but the contrasts in the educational debate are not speaking with one another. Let us illustrate this argument with a few examples. It can often be seen that the right-wing politicians accuse the left-wing of depending on “circle-pedagogy” instead of focusing on the pupils’ academic development. This was observed during the opening speech for the Danish Parliament, from the, at that time, Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who said: “We have to realize that some amount of fingertip knowledge is necessary. For three decades, fingertip knowledge has been rejected. It has been perceived as black school, learning by heart, and grinding. It is as if, learning academic skills has been downgraded in favor of sitting in a circle and asking: “what do you think?”.” (translated by ed.) At the same time, the right-wing politicians are attacked for, as mentioned by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the strong focus on discipline and academic ability in the school, and it being a return to the black school, where robot-like discipline influences the schools, and where the school is not a nice place to be for the pupils. An example of this is when Minister of Education, Christine Antorini, wrote a commentary in the Danish newspaper Berlingske on August 8th 2011, which can be considered as one of these attacks. The

185


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

”It’s about teacher identity, you know? It’s a different way to think about education and teaching.” Principal (translated by ed.)

186


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

The purpose of presenting an introduction to the two educational-political debates, is not to conduct a complete analysis of the Danish educational debate. The purpose is to introduce a central conflict line, which we have observed in the Danish educational debate. We think that the conclusions in the analysis of the effects of pupil engagement points towards a need for considering a third way in the educational-political discussion, referring the Anthony Giddens’ term on politics, which sets itself between two opposing contrasts. As we have concluded in the section above, the analysis of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement shows that the positive effects of pupil engagement, are primarily caused by the adaptation of the education based on input from the pupils, which create co-ownership for the education, thereby increasing the pupils’ motivation. If you solely focus on this argument, an educational-political prioritization of pupil engagement seems to sit far from a focus on discipline, class-management, and classic academic ability. Rather, it seem that the argument is closer to the reform-pedagogical prioritization of democratic formation in the schools. This picture does, however, change when considering the entire analysis.

09 CONCLUSION AND PUTTING INTO PERSPECTIVE

headline read “Can VKO12 get enough black school?” (translated from: Kan VKO få sort skole nok?), and criticizes Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s attack on circle-pedagogy, and the suggestion for reforming the public school from the, at that time, VKO-majority. She finishes the commentary by writing that “It is not an argument for returning to “responsibility for own education”. But it is a broad hint that we should not return to the national black VKO-school, if we want the pupils to develop deep academic ability within a broad spectrum of practical and theoretical subjects and competencies.

First of all, it is important to remember that the analysis of the effects of pupil engagement has revealed positive effects on the pupils’ academic ability. In addition to this, the analysis in chapter 7 shows that pupil engagement is a process managed by the teachers, where they have a clear goal in sight: Making the education better. The analysis has shown that the teachers, to a large extent, are the ones who take the initiative for pupil engagement in the education, similarly, the teachers find it important that the education constantly has a clear academic goal, which should also be in place when the pupils are being engaged. The academic goals set the framework for the education, and the teachers are, thusly, controlling a process, in which the pupils are engaged in the realization of this framework. Teacher-management is a necessity if successful pupil engagement is to be supported, not just from the perspective of the empirical analyses, but also seem intuitively logical. Insofar as pupil engagement equals 12

VKO = Venstre, Det Konservative Folkeparti and Dansk Folkeparti: Three Danish parties making up some of the right-wing opposition to the current (2014) government.

187


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

a lacking academic focus on the education, it would seem peculiar that we could identify strong positive effects on the pupils’ academic ability. This forms our reasoning, when arguing that the conclusions in the research on pupil engagement provides occasion for considering a third way in the Danish educational debate on discipline, class-management, motivational education, and means for increased academic ability. The conclusions show that it is possible to give the pupils co-ownership for the education, thusly strengthening their motivation, and, at the same time, preserving the teachers’ management and academic focus, having the pupils learn more, increase their well-being, and strengthening their social commitment. Based on this, there is potential for an educational-political debate, without focus on attacking the black schools or circle-pedagogy, but concentrating on the way in which scientific knowledge can be utilized, in order to reach the educational-political goals.

9.4.3 Contribution to the literature on political science Section 9.4.1 reviewed the contribution from this report to the entire literature on pupil engagement. As we have mentioned earlier, the report does not just deliver a contribution to the literature on pupil engagement, but also to the literature on political science. The contributions especially touch on the literature on coproduction, but two of the contributions also touch on administration literature on a more general level. We will review these contributions in the following sections.

9.4.3.Contribution to the literature on coproduction Although the interest for coproduction, during the last decade, has increased greatly in the public sector, there are still several unanswered questions regarding coproduction, one of which relates to coproduction as the dependent variable. The literature, so far, on the causes for coproduction is primarily focused on the users of the public service, which can be seen in Alford’s (2002) theoretical discussion of motivation for coproduction, and in Jakobsen’s (2013) study of, whether or not coproduction can be increased through public initiatives. This report contributes to the literature on coproduction with an argument regarding how the pupils, and not the parents, are the central users in the school sector, but also how the public employees, in this case the teachers, are pivotal for the level of a certain type of coproduction. One of the central theoretical contributions from this report to the literature on coproduction is that it is important to distinguish between two types of coproduction in the service production in the public sector. There is one type of coproduction, in which citizens actively participate in the service production, which is planned by public employees, e.g. when pupils actively participate in the education, or when patients are

188


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Naturally, the analysis of the second research question in the report, is primarily an analysis of the way in which pupil engagement can be increased. From a more general perspective, it is also an analysis of the way in which this type of coproduction can be increased, where the citizens have influence on the service production itself. In a situation, where the public employees’ professional norms support this type of coproduction, which is the case with pupil engagement in the education, the analysis shows that a competency development course might increase the coproduction, because it can develop the public employees’ competencies for coproduction and prioritization of coproduction. It should, thusly, enter as central elements and variables in future research projects, which focus on the way in which this type of coproduction can be increased.

09 CONCLUSION AND PUTTING INTO PERSPECTIVE

active in their rehabilitation after surgery. However, a different type of coproduction exists, of which pupil engagement is an example. In this type of coproduction, citizens provide input for the way in which the service should concretely be produced. We are not addressing citizen input for the forming of policy itself, but for concrete daily decisions for the production of the public service. The analysis of pupil engagement in this report has shown that this distinction is particularly relevant, and that the public employees are pivotal for the level of this type of coproduction. Within this type of coproduction, the public employees function as gatekeepers, in relation to whether or not the citizens have influence on the way in which the public service should be produced. This is due to the daily estimations, which signify the majority of the work by public employees that results in the individual workers having a great influence, on the way in which the public service should be produced.

It is not solely the literature on coproduction as the dependent variable, to which this report contributes. In chapter 3, we argued that the number of empirical studies on the causal mechanism behind the effects of coproduction is low. The analysis of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement is exactly this type of analysis, and, based on this analysis, it seems clear that further analyses of the causal mechanism between coproduction and the dependent variables are particularly relevant. The analysis of the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement argues that adapting the public service based on input from the citizens, strengthens the coownership for the public service, which increases the citizens’ motivation for actively participating in the service production. Further analyses of the causal mechanism of coproduction can, advantageously, have its starting point in these arguments, where the analysis has its starting point with the influence for citizens, on the way in which the public service should be produced.

189


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

9.4.3.2 Contribution to the literature on administration in general In several areas, this report also contributes to the additional literature in general. First of all, as this analysis of the effects of pupil engagement has emphasized, concrete work methods have a big significance for the quality of the public service. Analyses of the effects of the work methods on the quality can, thusly, make up a greater part of the literature on administration. The report also contributes in two other areas, which, as we have seen necessary to determine, have not had a greater focus in the research so far, but does not seem any less relevant. One of these areas is the importance of competencies on behavior. Our review of the existing literature on administration, done in relation to answering the second research question in the report, made it clear that the literature has primarily focused on educational levels, and not specific competencies to the same extent as it has focused on the importance of competencies on behavior. We have been unable to identify systematic analyses of the way in which competencies, in specific areas or specific assignments, affect the behavior of public employees. This seems surprising, considering how intuitively important competencies seem to be on behavior. The analysis in this report emphasizes this argument. It is, thusly, made clear that competencies in pupil engagement, being knowledge on the way in which pupil engagement can generally be utilized, and what concrete methods could be used, are particularly important for the level of pupil engagement. Strengthening the competencies, alongside a stronger prioritization, has, thusly, lead to a significant strengthening of pupil engagement. Therefore, we would request that the importance of competencies on work behavior gain a much more prominent role in the literature on administration in the future. The same argument is valid in the case of the effect of supplementary training on the behavior from public employees. In Denmark alone, the expenditure from the public sector on adult education and supplementary training in 2009 reached 7.4 billion Danish kroner (fm.dk). From this basis, we find it quite curious that we have been able to find, only, a few studies on behavioral effects of supplementary training on administration, but aside from that, the literature on the effects of supplementary training is limited. Large societal resources, which are spent on adult education and supplementary training every year, seem to demand more research in this area. When adding that our report is able to conclude very significant effects from supplementary training in pupil engagement, on the level of pupil engagement in the school, to this, it seems even more obvious to research further, studying how supplementary training can affect work behavior, and how this holds importance for the quality of the public service.

190


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

This report will be concluded by investigating the adjustments of the competency development course, which, based on the analysis, seems to be able to strengthen the project. In chapter 8, we have already touched on an array of these considerations, following the analysis of the effects of the competency development course on the level of pupil engagement, which has shown that the concrete content, and the concrete composition of the course, has held importance for the amount to which behavior has been affected. This marks and argument that holds importance for future research in how the behavior of public employees can be affected. Considering that the competency development course is not solely central for the analysis in this report, but also has a general role as intervention in the upcoming quantitative experiment, the adjustments will assist in securing the optimal foundation for the concluding part of the complete nested analysis on pupil engagement. Based on the analysis, it seems relevant, and advantageous, to adjust the competency development course in the following areas:

09 CONCLUSION AND PUTTING INTO PERSPECTIVE

9.4.4 The development of the supplementary training course

First of all, a third course day should be implemented, which is chronologically placed 3-4 months after completing the second course day. In addition to that, the period between the first and second course day should be extended with a couple of weeks. The analysis, thusly, shows that the purpose of having two course days has been met to a great extent, because the teachers have felt it important to work with the tools and methods for pupil engagement before the second course day. This is also made clear by the analysis, as we see a practical challenge in reaching the goal within only three weeks between the first and second course day. At the same time, the teachers request more follow-up, after a longer period of time with experience from working with pupil engagement in the education. Adding a third course day will meet this request, which is by, firstly, increasing the disciplinary element in the supplementary training, delivered by the two course days so far, and, secondly, providing the teachers with the opportunity for follow-up and exchanging experiences in working with pupil engagement after a few months. Second of all, the analysis points to a need for making two minor adjustments in the course itself. One challenge is to have a greater focus on communicating in an easy and clear language, which allows the pupils to understand the themes that are being addressed. Naturally, it poses a challenge to provide content on a high pedagogical level, and it is important that the teachers are challenged, but equally important to focus on meeting this challenge, insofar as the pupils are to gain anything from their participation. The other challenge comes from the teachers, who, even though they are

191


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

192


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

As we have mentioned several times, the supplementary training course, which is the current course with three course days, is the fundamental cornerstone in the complete competency development course. The consultant visit and the course for the principals are additional elements, which add to the supplementary training course. In order to complete the quantitative experiment, several different approaches of combining the supplementary training, consultant visit, and the course for the principals can be conducted. A possible approach for this model could, thusly, be to complete three different intervention courses, which have three different strengths, establishing one intervention course with participation from the pupils and teachers, one course for the pupils and teachers alongside a consultant visit for the class, one course for the pupils and teachers alongside a course for the principals, and finally a course where all three elements are mixed. A different model could, however, be to complete the two, rather intensive, intervention courses, which entails that there would be one intervention course for pupils and teachers, a course for principals, and an intervention course with all three elements. We believe the second model to be the most advantageous. The most important thing is to secure intervention courses that are all strong enough for the experimental phase. One should, thusly, try to avoid, based on a possible lack of significance between the experimental groups and the control groups in the analysis in the quantitative experiment, any doubt as to which the lacking differences in the results are caused by weak intervention courses. In addition to this, it is important to secure a certain size for each of the experimental groups and control groups. Not least of which the analysis makes clear that even though the supplementary training course directly affects the level of pupil engagement, the teachers experience an array of challenges in relation to implementing the increased pupil engagement into the education. The third argument is that it seems significant to utilize the strongest combinations of the competency development courses for the experiment.

09 CONCLUSION AND PUTTING INTO PERSPECTIVE

presented to an array of concrete tools and methods for pupil engagement, request more inspiration and concrete ideas for the way in which they can engage the pupils in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the education, respectively. In the future, this challenge should also be addressed.

Fourthly, and finally, the analysis provides cause for an array of considerations, relating to consultant visits and the course for the principals, respectively. The consultant visit can benefit from a more specific focus. The analysis showed that it is very relevant to complete a consultant visit, considering that the teachers experience an array of constraints for increased pupil engagement, for which they can benefit in receiving help overcoming. It is also advantageous that the consultant visit is simple, but insofar as it should have an effect, it should largely focus on the specific challenges that the

193


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

teachers have. It is obvious to address the constraints for increased pupil engagement, which we have identified in the analysis, not least of which the way in which teachers can work with developing the pupils’ competencies in providing useful input generally, and the way in which they can get the weaker pupils in the class to actively contribute to the pupil engagement process. Furthermore, the analysis shows that support from the principal to the project is important for the teachers in working with pupil engagement, and the course for the principals assists in securing this support. The analysis does, however, show that even though the teachers have requested sparring from the principals in working with pupil engagement, very little real professional sparring has taken place so far. Therefore, it seems relevant to adjust the course for the principals, gaining a stronger focus on helping secure the principals’ prioritization of professional sparring with the teachers, alongside providing the teachers with more tools and methods for completing this sparring.

194


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bibliography

A

Alford, John (2002). “Why Do Public-Sector Clients Coproduce? : Toward a Contingency Theory”, Administration & Society, 34th ed., no. 1, pages 32-55. Alderson, Priscilla (2000). “School students’ views on school councils and daily life at school” Children & Society, 14th ed., no. 2, pages 121–134. Aligica, Paul Dragos and Vlad Tarko (2013). ”Co-Production, Polycentricity, and Value Heterogeneity: The Ostrom’s Public Choice Institutionalism Revisited”, American Political Science Review, 107th ed., no. 4, pages 726-741. Andersen, Lotte Bøgh (2009). “What determines the behaviour and performance of health professionals? Public service motivation, professional norms and/or economic incentives”, International Review of Administrative Sciences, 75th ed., no. 1, pages 79-97. Andersen, Lotte Bøgh (2008). ”’Not Just for the Money?’ How Financial Incentives Affect the Number of Publications at Danish Research Institutions”, International Public Management Journal, 11th ed., no. 1, pages 28-47. Andersen, Lotte Bøgh and Mads Leth Felsager Jakobsen. 2009. ”Penge og/eller faglighed: hvad sker der, når sundhedsprofessionelles egeninteresse støder mod deres faglige normer?”, pages. 115-121 in Perspektiver på politik, Blom-Hansen, Jens and Jørgen Elklit (red.), Århus: Academica. Andersen, Lotte Bøgh, Anne Skorkjær Binderkrantz and Kasper Møller Hansen (2010). ”Forskningsdesign”, pages 66-96 in Metoder i statskundskab, Andersen, Lotte Bøgh, Kasper Møller Hansen and Robert Klemmensen (red.), København: Hans Reitzels Forlag. Andersen, Robert Kjellerup, Thomas Gloy and Allan Hoffmann Jeppesen (2012). Pupil Engagement: The Welfare Potential from Increased Coproduction in School, Aarhus: DanskeSkoleelever. Angell, Ann V. (1998). “Practicing democracy at school: A qualitative analysis of an elementary class council”, Theory and Research in Social Education, 26th ed., no. 2, pages 149-172.

195


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Apple, M. W., & Beane, J. A. (1999). Democratic Schools: Lessons from the chalk face. Buckingham, Buckingham: Open University Press.

B Bayer, Martin, Mette Buchardt, Jette Bøndergaard, Per Fibæk Lauersen, Lise Tinglef Nielsen, Helle Plauborg (2004). Læreres læring – aktionsforskning i folkeskolen. København:CVU København & Nordsjælland KLEO. Beach, Derek and Rasmus Brun Pedersen (2013). Process-tracing Methods: Foundations and Guidelines. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press Bekendtgørelse af lov om folkeskolen (2012), link: https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/r0710.aspx?id=145631 Bekendtgørelse om uddannelsen til professionsbachelor som lærer i folkeskolen (2013), link: https://www.retsinfor+mation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx?id=145748 Bennett, Andrew and Coling Elman (2006). ”Qualitative Research: Recent Developments in Case Study Methods”, Annual Review of Political Science, 9th ed., no. 1, pages 455-476. Bentzon, Adrian (1989). ”J. Dewey” in Selvforvaltning: Pædagogisk teori og praksis, København: Munksgaard. Bovaird, Tony (2007). “Beyond Engagement and Participation: User and Community Coproduction of Public Services”, Public Administration Review, 67th ed., no. 5, pages 846-860. Brandsen, Taco and Victor Pestoff (2006). ”Co-production, the third sector and the delivering of public services”, Public Management Reviews, 8th ed., no. 4, pages 493-501. Brandsen, Taco, Victor Pestoff and Bram Verschuere (2012). ”Coproduction as a Maturing Concept”, pages 1-12 in New Public Governance, the Third Sector and Co-Production Pestoff, Victor, Taco Brandsen and Bram Verschuere, New York: Routledge. Brehm, John and Scott Gates (1999). Working, Shirking and Sabotage, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Brinkerhoff, Robert (2008). Interview with Brinkerhoff, link:

196


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Brudney, Jeffrey L. (1983). ”The Evaluation of Coproduction Programs”, Policy Studies Journal, 12th ed., pages 376-385.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

www.kompetenceudvikling.dk/content/interview-med-brinkerhoff

Brudney, Jeffrey L. and Robert E. England (1983). ”Toward a Definition of the Coproduction Concept”, Public Administration Review, 43rd ed., pages 465-484.

C

Cook-Sather, Alison (2002). “Authorizing Students’ Perspectives: Toward Trust, Dialogue, and Change in Education”, Educational Researcher, 31st ed., no. 4, pages 3-14. Cook-Sather, Alison (2006). “Sound, presence, and power: ‘‘Student Voice’’ in educational research and reform”, Curriculum Inquiry, 36th ed., pages 359–390. Cook-Sather, Alison (2007). “What Would Happen If We Treated Students as Those With Opinions That Matter? The Benefits to Principals and Teachers of Supporting Youth Engagement in School”, National Association of Secondary Principals. NASSP Bulletin, 91st ed., no. 4, pages 343-362. Cooperrider, David L and Diana Whitney (1999). Appreciative Inquiry. Williston, VT: Berrett-Koehler Communications. Cotmore, Richards (2004). “Organisational competence: the study of a school council in action”, Children & Society, 18th ed., no. 1, pages 53–65.

D

Danielsen, A. G., Samdal, O., Hetland, J., & Wold, B. (2009), “School-related social support and students’ perceived life satisfaction”, The Journal of Educational Research, vol. 102, pages 303–318. David, Matthew and Carole D. Sutton (2004). Social Research: The Basics, London: Sage Publications. Davis, Lynn, Christopher Williams and Hiromi Yamashita. (2006). Inspiring schools – Impact and outcomes: Taking up the challenge of pupil participation, London, UK: Carnegie Young People Initiative and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Davies, Ian, Bernie Flanagan, Sylvia Hogarth, Paula Mountford, and Jenny Philpott

197


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

(2009). “Asking questions about participation”, Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 4th ed., no. 25, pages 25-39. De Kommunale Nøgletal (2013). Link: http://www.noegletal.dk Dvir, Taly, Dov Eden, Bruce J. Avolio and Boas Shamir (2002). ”Impact of Transformational Leadership Training on Follower Development and Performance: A Field Experiment”, The Academy of Management Journal, 45th ed., no. 4, pages 735-744.

F

Fielding, Michael (2001). “Students as radical agents of change”, Journal of Educational Change, 2nd ed., pages 123–141. Flutter, Julia and Jean Rudduck (2004). Consulting Pupils: “What’s in it for schools?”, London: RoutledgeFalmer. Fm.dk (2010). “4. Voksen- og efteruddannelse”, link: http://www.fm.dk/publikationer /2010/2113budgetredegoerelse-2010/4-voksen-og-efteruddannelse/ Folkeskolen.dk (2011). ”Danske lærere vægter dannelse højere end faglighed”, 27th September 2011, link: http://www.folkeskolen.dk/69571/danske-laerere-vaegter-dannelse-hoejere-end-faglighed Folz, David H. and Joseph M. Hazlett (1991). ”Public Participation and Recycling Performance: Explaining Program Success”, Public Administration Review, 51st ed., no. 6, pages 526-532. Frey, Bruno (1997). Not just for the money. An economic theory of personal motivation, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. Ftf.dk (2011). Lærere vælger efterløn på grund af helbred og arbejdspres, link: http://www.ftf.dk/aktuelt/ftf-nyhed/artikel/laerere-vaelger-efterloen-paagrund-af-helbred-og-arbejdspres/ Furtwengler, W. J. (1996). “Improving secondary school discipline by involving students in the process”, NASSP Bulletin, 80th ed., pages 36–44.

G

George, Alexander L. and Andrew Bennett (2005). Case Studies and Theory

198


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Gilleece, Lorraine. & Jude Cosgrove, J. (2012). “Student civic participation in school: What makes a difference in Ireland?”, Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 7th ed., no. 3, pages 225-239

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Development in the Social Sciences, Cambridge: MIT Press

H

Hannam, D. (2001). A pilot study to evaluate the impact of student participation aspects of the citizenship order on standards of education in secondary schools, London: Department for Education and Employment. Hassan, Rasool A., Bashir A. Fuwad and Azam I. Rauf (2010). “Pre-Training Motivation and the Effectiveness of Transformational Leadership Training: An Experiment”, Academy of Strategic Management Journal, 9th ed., no. 2, pages 1-8. Harber, C., & Trafford, B. (1999). “Democratic management and school effectiveness in two countries”, Educational Management & Administration, 27th ed., pages 45–54. Harrits, Gitte Sommer, Carsten Strømbæk Pedersen and Bente Halkier (2010). ”Indsamling af interviewdata”, pages 144-172 in Metoder i statskundskab, Andersen, Lotte Bøgh, Kasper Møller Hansen and Robert Klemmensen (red.), København: Hans Reitzels Forlag. Hart, Roger A. (2008). “Stepping back from ’the ladder’: Reflections on a model of participatory work with children” pages 19-31 in Participation and learning: Perspectives on education and the environment, health and sustainability, Reid, Alan, Bjarne B. Jensen, Jutta Nikel and Venka Simovka (red.), New York: Springer. Hart, Roger A. (1992). “Children’s Participation: From tokenism to citizenship”, no. 4, Firenze: UNICEF ICDC. Hartberg, Egil Weider, Stephen Dobson and Lillian Gran (2012). Feedback i skolen, Frederikshavn: Dafolo. Hattie, John. (2013). Synlig læring - for lærere, Frederikshavn: Dafolo. Hiim, Hilde (2010). Pedagogisk aksjonsforskning, Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk. Holdsworth, R. (2000). “Schools that create real roles of value for young people”, Prospects, 30th ed., pages 349–362.

199


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

I

Inman, Sally (2002). School Councils: an apprenticeship in democracy, London: Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

J

Jakobsen, Mads Leth and Gitte Sommer Harrits (2010).”Kvalitativ analyse: Kodning og dybtgående tekstanalyse”, pages 173-191 in Metoder i statskundskab, Andersen, Lotte Bøgh, Kasper Møller Hansen and Robert Klemmensen (red.), København: Hans Reitzels Forlag. Jakobsen, Morten (2013). ”Can Government Initiatives Increase Citizen Coproduction? Results of a Randomized Field Experiment”, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 23rd ed., no. 1, pages 27-54. Jensen, Bjarne B. and Venka Simovska (2005). ”Involving students in learning and health promotion processes – Clarifying why? what? and how?”, Promotion and Education, 12th ed., pages 150–156.

K

Kaba, Mariame (2000). “They Listen to Me...but They Don’t Act on It: Contradictory Consciousness and Student Participation in Decision-Making”, The High School Journal, 84th ed., no. 2, pages 21-34. Katsenou, Christina, Evgenia Flogaitis and Georgia Liarakou (2013). ”Exploring pupil participation within a sustainable school”, Cambridge Journal of Education, 43rd ed., no. 2, pages 243-258. Kelloway, E. Kevin, Julian Barling and Jane Helleur (2000). ”Enhancing transformational leadership: the roles of training and feedback”, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, pages 145-149. King, Gary, Robert O. Keohane and Sidney Verba (1994). Designing Social Enquiry, Princeton: Princeton University Press Klafki, Wolfgang (2001). Dannelsesteori og didaktik: Nye studier, Aarhus: Klim.

200


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Levin, B. (2000). “Putting students at the centre in education reform”, Journal of Educational Change, 1st ed., pages 155–172.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

L

Levine, Charles H. (1984). “Citizenship and Service Delivery – the Promise of Coproduction”, Public Administration Review, 44th ed., pages 178-187. Lieberman, Evan S. (2005). “Nested Analysis as a Mixed-Method Strategy for Comparative Research”, American Political Science Review, 99th ed., no. 3, pages 435-452. Lipsky, Michael (1980). Street-Level Bureaucracy. Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Services, New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Lodge, Caroline (2005). “From hearing voices to engaging in dialogue: Problematising student participation in school improvement”, Journal of Educational Change, 6th ed., pages 125–146.

M

Mager, Ursula and Nowak, Peter (2012). ”Effects of student participation in decision making at school. A systematic review and synthesis of empirical research”, Educational Research Review, 7th ed., pages 38-61. Mahoney, James (2010). “After KKV: The New Methodology of Qualitative Research”, World Politics, 62nd ed., no. 1, pages 120-147. Mahoney, James and Gary Goertz (2006). “A Tale of Two Cultures: Contrasting Quantitative and Qualitative Research”, Political Analysis, 14th ed., pages 227-249. Marschall, Melissa J. (2006). “Parent Involvement and Educational Outcomes for Latino Students”. Review of Policy Research, 23rd ed., pages 1053-1076. McPartland, James, Edward McDill, Colin Lacey, Rubie Harris, and Lawrence Novey (1971). Student participation in high school decisions: A study of students and teachers in fourteen urban high schools, Baltimore: Center for Social Organization of Schools. Mikkelsen, Maria Falk, Christian Bøtcher Jacobsen and Lotte Bøgh Andersen (2012). How can managers affect employees’ perceptions of command systems? A study of school principals’ implementation of obligatory student plans, work paper presented at the XVI IRSPM Conference in Rome.

201


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Mitra, Dana L. (2004). “The significance of students: Can increasing ‘‘student voice’’ in schools lead to gains in youth development?”, Teachers College Record, 106th ed., pages 651–688. Mitra, Dana L. (2009). “Strengthening student voice initiatives in high schools: An examination of the supports needed for school-based youth–adult Partnerships”, Youth and Society, 40th ed., pages 311–335. Miller, Gary (2005). “The Political Evolution of Principal-Agent Models”, Annual Review of Political Science, 8th ed., pages 203-225. Moe, Terry M. (1984). “The New Economics of Organization”, American Journal of Political Science, 28th ed., pages 739-777. Moos, Leif, Per Fibæk Laursen, John Krejsler, Karin Hjort and Karen Bønløkke Braad (2005). Evidens i uddannelse?, København: Danmarks Pædagogiske Universitet.

N

NiCheng, Annie Yan (2012). “Student voice in a Chinese context: investigating the key elements of leadership that enhance student voice”, International Journal of Leadership in Education: Theory and Practice, 15th ed., no. 3, pages 351-366.

O

OECD (2003). Literary Skills for the World of Tomorrow – Further Results from PISA 2000, link: http://www.oecd.org/edu/school/programmeforinternationalstudentassessmentpisa/33690591.pdf OECD (2012). PISA 2012 Results: What students know and can do, link: http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/pisa-2012-results-volume-I.pdf OECD (2013). Education at a glance, link: http://www.oecd.org/edu/eag2013%20 (eng)--FINAL%2020%20June%202013.pdf Oldfather, Penny (1995). “Songs “Come Back Most to Them”: Students’ Experiences as Researchers”, Theory into Practice, 34th ed., no. 2, pages 131-137. Osberg, Jerusha, Pope, Denise & Galloway, Mollie (2006). “Students matter in school reform: leaving fingerprints and becoming leaders”, International Journal of Leadership in Education: Theory and Practice, 9th ed., no. 4.

202


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ostrom, Elinor (1996). ”Crossing the Great Divide: Coproduction, Synergy, and Development”, World Development, 24th ed., no. 6, pages 1073-1087. Ostrom, Elinor and Gina Davis (1991). “A Public Economy Approach to Education: Choice and Co-Production”, International Political Science Review, 12th ed., no. 4, pages 313-335. Ozga, Jenny, Christina Segerholm, Hannu Simula and Peter Dahler Larsen (2011). Fabricating Quality in Education – Data and Governance in Europe, London: Routledge

P

Parks, Roger B., Paula C. Baker, Larry Kiser, Ronald Oakerson, Elinor Ostrom, Stephen L. Percy, Martha B. Vandivort, Gordan P. Whitaker and Rick Wilson (1981). “Consumers as Coproducers of Public Services: Some Economic and Institutional Considerations”, Policy Studies Journal, 9th ed., no. 7, pages 1001-1011. Patmor, G. L., & McIntyre, D. J. (1999). ”Involving students in school decision making”, NASSP Bulletin, 83rd ed., pages 74–78. Percy, Stephen L. (1984). “Citizen Participation in the Coproduction of Urban Services”, Urban Affairs Review, 19th ed., no. 4, pages 431-446. Pestoff, Victor (2012). ”Co-Production and Third Sector services in Europe: Some Crucial conceptual issues”, pages 13-34 in New Public Governance, the Third Sector and CoProduction, Pestoff, Victor Taco Brandsen and Bram Verschuere, New York: Routledge. Porter, David O. (2012). ”Co-Production and Network Structures in Public Education”, pages 145-168 in New Public Governance, the Third Sector and Co-Production, Pestoff, Victor, Taco Brandsen and Bram Verschuere, New York: Routledge.

R

Regeringen (2002). Bredt forlig om fornyelse af folkeskolen, link: http://uvm.dk/ Aktuelt/~/UVM-DK/Content/News/Udd/Folke/2002/Nov/021118-Bredt-forlig-om-fornyelse-af-folkeskolen Regeringen (2005). Aftale om ændring af folkeskoleloven, link: http://uvm.dk/ Uddannelser/Folkeskolen/Styring-og-ansvar/~/media/UVM/Filer/Udd/Folke/PDF08/A/2005_aftaletekst_aendring_folkeskoleloven.ashx

203


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Regeringen (2006). Aftale om ændring af folkeskoleloven, link: http://uvm.dk/ Aktuelt/~/UVM-DK/Content/News/Udd/Folke/2006/Jan/060124-Aftale-om-aendring-af-folkeskoleloven Regeringen (2013). Aftale om et fagligt løft af folkeskolen. Link: http://www.uvm. dk/~/media/UVM/Filer/Udd/Folke/PDF13/130607%20Aftaleteksten.ashx Rohlfing, Ingo (2008). “What You See and What You Get: Pitfalls and Principles of Nested Analysis in Comparative Research”, Comparative Political Studies, 41st ed., no. 11, pages 1492-1514. Rosentraub, Mark S. (1981). “Consumers as producers of social services: Coproduction and the level of social services”, Southern Review of Public Administration, 4th ed., no. 4, pages 502-39. Rudduck, J. (2002). The SERA lecture 2002: “The transformative potential of consulting young people about teaching, learning and schooling”, Scottish Educational Review, 34th ed., pages 123–137. Rudduck, J. & Fielding, M. (2006). “Student voice and the perils of popularity”, Educational Review, 58th ed., pages 219–231. Rudduck, Jean & Flutter, Julia (2000). “Pupil Participation and Pupil Perspective: ‘carving a new order and experience’”, Cambridge Journal of Education, 30th ed., no. 1, pages 75-89.

S

Schneider, Anne L. (1987). “Coproduction of Public and Private Safety: An Analysis of Bystander Intervention, ‘Protective Neighbouring’, and Personal Protection”, The Western Political Quarterly, 40th ed., no. 4, pages 611-630. Schultz, Brian D. & Oyler, Celia (2006). “We Make This Road as We Walk Together: Sharing Teacher Authority in a Social Action”, Curriculum Inquiry, 36th ed., no. 4, pages 423-451. Shier, H. (2001). “Pathways to participation: Openings, opportunities and obligations”, Children and Society, 15th ed., pages 107–117.

204


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Tisdall, Kay (2007). School councils and pupil participation in Scottish secondary schools, Glasgow: The Scottish Consumer Council.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

T

Torney-Purta, Judith (2001). “Civic knowledge, beliefs about democratic institutions, and civic engagement among 14-year-olds”, Prospects, 31st ed., pages 279–292.

U

UCN.dk (2014). Beskrivelse af de nationale moduler i læreruddannelsen 2013, link: http://www.ucn.dk/Admin/Public/DWSDownload.aspx?File=%2fFiles%2fFiler% 2fBacheloruddannelser%2fLaerer%2fOm+uddannelsen%2fNationale+Moduler++ LU+13+til+web.pdf Uvm.dk (2013). Lærere skal klædes bedre på til at inddrage eleverne. Link: http:// uvm.dk/Den-nye-folkeskole/Udvikling-af-undervisning-og-laering/Skole-hjem-samarbejde/Danske-Skoleelever

W

Wallin, Dawn (2003). “Student Leadership and Democratic Schools: A Case Study”, National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP Bulletin, 87th ed., no. 636, pages 55-78. Weber, Tom, Julian Barling and E. Keving Kelloway (1996). “Effects of Transformational Leadership Training on Attitudinal and Financial Outcomes: A Field Experiment”, Journal of Applied Psychology, 81st ed., no. 6, pages 827-832. Wilson, Rick K. (1981). “Citizen Coproduction as a Mode of Participation: Conjectures and Models”, Journal of Urban Affairs, 3rd ed., pages 37-49. Winter, Søren and Vibeke Lehmann Nielsen (2008). Implementering af politik. Århus: Academica. Winter, Søren and Vibeke Lehmann Nielsen (2013). ”Lærere, undervisning og elevpræstationer i folkeskolen”, SFI, link: http://www.sfi.dk/rapportoplysninger-4681. aspx?Action=1&NewsId=3891&currentPage=2&PID=9267

205


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

206


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

APPENDIX

Appendix Appendix 1 Cooperative agreement between the Association of Danish Pupils and Randers Municipality

(Contract translated by ed.) Randers Municipality For the Association of Danish Pupils (DSE) October 4th 2013 The Department of Schools in Randers Municipality hereby confirm that we, as a minimum, select 4 municipal public schools, who wish to be a part of the pilot-project “Pupil Engagement in the Public Schools”. This is done in order to test and develop an array of tools and methods, which, in time, will be rolled out on a bigger scale in Denmark as a whole, following the finalization of the pilot-project. Best regards Diana Lübbert Pedersen Chief Consultant and substitute for the Head of the Schools Randers Municipality

207


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Appendix 2 Interview guides for interviewing the teachers Interview guide for the teachers The purpose of the interview

We are working on a research project regarding pupil engagement. We would like to interview you, since we are interested in your experiences with, observations on, and expectations for, pupil engagement.

Presentation of the agenda

We are not looking for any specific answers, only your view on the subject. Framework for the interview

Chronological framework, securing anonymity, and acceptance for video recording everything

The interview will last 30 minutes at the most Is it alright that the interview is recorded? The recording will only be used as support for our memory, and only used in relation to this research project. All your statements will remain completely anonymous. Presenting the participants in the interviews

The participants of the interview present themselves

Name, age? Which subjects do you primarily teach in? What ages do you primarily teach? How many years have you worked as a teacher? Opening the conversation

Initiating the interview itself Understanding the concept of pupil engagement

I would like to begin with asking you to provide a few examples on pupil engagement in your everyday work. (What about examples from before your attendance at the courses?) Why do you choose these specific examples? (If it still seems unclear: How do you understand the concept of pupil engagement?) NB: After these questions have been asked, and it seems unclear what pupil engagement is, we need to specify the way in which we work with the concept in our research project.

208


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Strengthened motivation (1) Strengthened self-confidence (2) Directly Strengthened competencies (4)

APPENDIX

How does pupil engagement work? These questions are asked in order to investigate the following theses for the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement:

When you engage them in the education, how do the pupils react in practice? How does this concretely present itself? Try and make some examples from your everyday work. What significance does it have for the pupils, if they are being continuously engaged or not? Do they react differently, depending on the way in which they have been engaged, or in what material you have engaged them? Insofar as the teachers have not mentioned any of this by themselves, the following questions are asked: What significance does pupil engagement have on the pupils’ motivation? For their commitment? How does it affect the pupils’ self-confidence? • (Can you try and describe how?) Do you feel that the pupils actually learn more when they are being engaged? And if so, what? • Is there a difference in the outcome for the different pupils in the class from it? How? Are there any other things that the pupils gain from being engaged in the education, which we have not touched on yet? What?

The teachers’ reaction to input from the pupils These questions are asked in order to investigate the following theses for the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement: Strengthened responsiveness from the teachers (3)

What type of input do your pupils typically deliver for the education? Think of the oldest children. How do you use the input for the education? Please talk about planning, execution and evaluation. (Insofar as the teachers have not already touched on this): Please provide some concrete examples on, the way in which you have adapted the education based on input from the pupils.

In addition to that, the questions are also related to the pupils’ abilities for reflection and their input for the education.

209


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Pupil engagement in the everyday work These questions are asked in order to investigate the extent to which pupil engagement is incorporated in the everyday work, which type of challenges present themselves, and how these challenges are overcome.

When you plan, execute and evaluate the education (before attending the courses), how much does pupil engagement take up of your everyday work? How do you ensure that pupil engagement is continuously incorporated in the education? Would you like to engage the pupils more than you already do? If yes, what keeps you from doing this is practice? What are some of the challenges in working with pupil engagement? What could help you in overcoming these challenges?

Does it work to provide supplementary training in pupil engagement for the teachers? These questions are asked in order to investigate the thesis regarding, how strengthening the teachers’ competencies can increase pupil engagement.

In this context, how has it been to attend courses on pupil engagement? How has it been to have the pupils participate? Generally, when you have attended courses or supplementary training, how much have you concretely been able to utilize when returning to the school? How have these courses worked in that context? Have they created a different in the way you teach? Why/why not? How have you utilized the tools from the courses in your everyday work? (Have you used anything particular?) (Are you more likely to engage the pupils on your own initiative, compared to before attending the courses?) (Are there parts you have not been able to use?) How have the pupils reacted to the extra focus on pupil engagement? (Is it the same pupils providing input for the lessons, or has it changed? How?) (Concretely, what is different compared to before?) Is the course extensive enough in order to seriously develop your education, or are we still lacking some content/working over a longer period of time? If the course could be improved, what do you think we should do?

210


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

These questions are asked in order to investigate the thesis regarding securing the importance of completing a consultant visit

APPENDIX

ONLY FOR SOME PARTICIPANTS OF THE INTERVIEW: Does it work to complete a consultant visit for the teachers? What have you gained from the consultant visit to the schools, which was conducted in between the courses? Could we have done something else, from which you would have gained even more? What?

Does it work to provide supplementary training in pupil engagement for the principals? These questions are asked in order to investigate the thesis regarding whether or not it holds importance to provide supplementary training on supporting pupil engagement for the principals.

How has the cooperation with your principals been in relation to your teachings? How important is assistance and support from your principal for the things you work with every day? Do you feel that pupil engagement is something your principal focuses on? Prior to, and after, the course, have you observed a difference from you principal? If so, what has changed? Would it mean anything to you with more help and support in working with pupil engagement from the principal? What do you need?

What would the effect be in the long run? These questions are asked in order to understand what the effect could be in the long run.

In relation to what we have talked about today, in regards to pupil engagement, what do you think it will do for you as a teacher? Does it qualify your educational practice?

211


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Appendix 3 Interview guides for the interviewing the pupils Interview guide for the pupils Purpose of the interviews

At this moment in time, we are investigating pupil engagement. In that relation, we are interested in hearing about your experienced with it.

Presentation of the agenda

All answers are interesting to us, so please do not think that some answers are more correct than others. Framework for the interview

Chronological framework, securing anonymity, and acceptance for video recording everything

The interview will last 30 minutes at the most Is it alright that the interview is recorded? The recording will only be used as support for our memory, and only used in relation to this research project. Presenting the participants in the interviews

The participants of the interview present themselves

Name, age? Which grade do you attend? (How do you like going to school?) (What do you find exciting?) (What do you not find exciting?) Opening the conversation

Initiating the interview itself

How did you experience participating in the course on pupil engagement?

Understanding the concept of pupil engagement

How was it to attend with your teachers? Can you tell us about one or more episodes, in which your teacher has engaged you in the education? Have your teachers, prior to attending the courses, been good at engaging you in the education? (Particularly your Danish and mathematics teachers) How big is the difference between each teacher, in relation to the extent of pupil engagement? NB: After these questions have been asked, and it seems unclear what pupil engagement is, we need to specify the way in which we work with the concept in our research project.

212


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

APPENDIX

How does pupil engagement work These questions are asked in order to investigate the following theses for the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement: Strengthened motivation (1)

Have you noticed a difference in the way your teachers engage you? What are some of these differences? How do you feel about your teachers engage you in the lessons? How do your classmates feel about it? When the teachers are engaging you in how the education should be structured, from what do you gain the most? (Do you feel more motivated?)

Strengthened self-confidence (2) Directly Strengthened competencies (4)

(Do you think you gain more self-confidence in talking in the lessons, when the teachers engage you more in the education?) Do you become better at participating in discussions in the class, and explaining how you feel about a subject? What is the difference between a lesson in which you have been engaged a lot, and one in which the teacher has not engaged you?

The teachers’ reaction on input from the pupils These questions are asked in order to investigate the following theses for the causal mechanism behind the effects of pupil engagement: Responsiveness (3)

Let us begin with your Danish teachers. How does he/she react when you, or your classmates, make wishes for how you would like the teachings to be? Does he/she listen to you? Does he/she ask whether or not you have ideas for the way in which you would like the lessons structured, or do the pupils tell them that directly? How does your Danish teachers react now, in comparison to how it was before the courses? Do your, let us say mathematics or English, teachers react in the same way when you deliver input, or is there a difference? What kind of difference? What does it mean for your education when your teacher uses the suggestions from the pupils? The last time you had input/suggestions for one of your teachers, on how you would change the education, what kind of input did you give? • Why did you choose this specific input?

213


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Follow-up to the course These questions are asked in order to understand what the effect could be in the long run.

How did it feel to attend the courses alongside the teachers? From the topics talked about on the courses, which did you gain the most from? Since you attended the first course, how have you been working with pupil engagement in the school? Do the teachers utilize the things you learned on the courses? (Buddy-evaluation, self-evaluation, thumb up) (Do you feel that your teachers think it a good idea to use the things you have learned here?) Do you think the teachers still could get better at some things? What? Are there things in the course that we are lacking, or that we should do better? What would the effect be in the long run?

These questions are asked in order to understand what the effect could be in the long run.

214

In regards to having the pupils more engaged in the lessons, what importance do you think it can have for you as pupils? Does it help in anything? Could it be a problem?


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

APPENDIX

Appendix 4 Interview guides for the interviews with the principals Interview guide for the principals The purpose of the interview

We are working on a research project regarding pupil engagement. We would like to interview you, since we are interested in your experiences with, observations on, and expectations to, pupil engagement.

Presentation of the agenda

We are not looking for any specific answers, only your view on the subject. Framework for the interview

Chronological framework, securing anonymity, and acceptance for video recording everything

The interview will last 30 minutes at the most Is it alright that the interview is recorded? The recording will only be used as support for our memory, and only used in relation to this research project. All your statements will remain completely anonymous.

Presenting the participants in the interviews The participants of the interview present themselves

Name, age? How many years have you worked as a principal? Prior to becoming a principal, which subject did you teach? How many years did you teach? Opening the conversation

Initiating the interview itself Understanding the concept of pupil engagement

I would like to begin with asking you to provide a few examples of how you understand pupil engagement. Why do you pick these specific examples? (If it remains unclear: What do you understand by the concept of pupil engagement?) NB: After these questions have been asked, and it seems unclear what pupil engagement is, we need to specify the way in which we work with the concept in our research project.

215


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Pupil engagement from the principals’ time as a teacher These questions are asked in order to hear more about experiences with pupil engagement from the principals’ time as a teacher (which might be utilized), and to secure the understanding of the concept of pupil engagement.

When you were primarily teaching, how did you usually engage the pupils? Please provide concrete examples. What did you expect to gain from it? When you engaged them in the education, how did the pupils react in practice? Does it hold importance for the pupils’ motivation? For their self-confidence? Do the pupils pay more attention after being engaged? Can you provide some examples on, how pupil engagement had importance for your teachings? What kind of decisions, or changes, did it lead to?

Does it work to provide supplementary training in pupil engagement for the teachers? These questions are asked in order to test Thesis 7, regarding whether or not follow-up and sparring from the principals increase the effect of the supplementary training. Concretely, in relation to the significance to the teachers in sparring and follow-up.

What formed the foundation for your interest in having your school participate in this project? I would like to know if you generally use courses and supplementary training, in order to focus on certain areas or work methods, on which you would like teachers to work more? In which case, how do you utilize it? Is it effective? Do you know of something else being more effective? This project has had the teachers participate in courses on pupil engagement. In your opinion, what has been beneficial for your teachers as a result of their participation? Has it created any change in your school? What kind of change? What have the pupils gained from the teachers’ increased focus on pupil engagement? If you could strengthen pupil engagement even more, do you think something else could be done, which would be more effective? How can we further develop the courses for teachers and pupils?)

216


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

APPENDIX

Does it work to provide supplementary training in pupil engagement for the principals? These questions are asked in order to test Thesis 7, regarding whether or not follow-up and sparring from the principals increase the effect of the supplementary training. Concretely, in relation to the significance of the course held for the principals.

How did you experience the course on pupil engagement? Have you been able to use the things you were taught at the course? (Please provide some examples) (Which things from the course have been particularly relevant?) (Which things have you not been able to use?) (If the answers are unclear: How has it generally worked to support the teachers in their work with pupil engagement?) How much do you normally interact professionally/pedagogically with your teachers? What is their reaction to this? Have you had any professional sparring with the teachers in relation to pupil engagement? How have they reacted to this? Have you, in any other way, worked with the teachers in relation to the pupil engagement project? What? What could we do, in order to make the course for the principals even better?

What would the effect be in the long run? These questions are asked in order to understand what the effect could be in the long run.

In relation to what we have talked about today, in regards to pupil engagement, what do you think it will do for you as a principal? Does it qualify your educational practice?

217


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Appendix 5 Course program for teachers and pupils Course program Course 1

218

9:00 – 9:35

Introduction and balancing of expectations Introduction to the day, and balancing of expectations between the teachers and pupils and the program for the day.

9:35 – 10:05

Thoughts and theory behind the course Presentation of the results in studies of pupil engagement so far, and introduction to the pedagogical theory behind the course, serving the purpose of making it clear why pupil engagement is important, and how the course is structured. The Wheel of Success is presented here.

10:05 – 10:15

Break

10:15 – 10:45

Evaluation and feedback (dividing the teachers and pupils in to two separate groups) Introduction to the work with evaluation and feedback as a part of the educational situation. Including input for concrete feedback tools, which the teachers can utilize in relation to their teachings.

11:45 – 12:00

Feedback – teacher to pupil Following the introduction, the concrete work is centered on feedback between teacher and pupil, established in the way in which pupil engagement is currently being utilized in the classroom.

12:00 – 12:45

Lunch

12:45 – 13:20

Evaluation of the educational practice (dividing the teachers and pupils in to two separate groups) The pupils provide feedback for the teachers, focusing on developing the teachers’ educational practice. This is followed by the teachers providing feedback for the pupils, focusing on rehearsing the pupils’ ability to reflect on their own education.

13:20 – 13:35

Role play Based on a case, the pupils and teachers participate in a role play about pupil engagement. The purpose is to overtake the other’s role, and put yourself in their place.

13:35 – 13:45

Break

13:45 – 14:15

Objective and criteria The teachers and pupils are asked to jointly agree on three objectives for, the way in which they will continue their work with pupil engagement. The objectives form the basis for a cooperation agreement, constructed in cooperation between the pupils, teachers, and the principal.

14:15 – 14:40

The work between course 1 and course 2 As the final part of the day, the teachers and pupils are introduced to their task in working with pupil engagement between course 1 and course 2.

14:40 – 15:00

Conclusion and evaluation


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

APPENDIX

Course program Course 2 9:00 – 9:15

Introduction and purpose of the day Introduction to course 2, explaining what the purpose of this course is.

9:15 – 9:45

Reflection on the course Reflecting on how it has been, working with pupil engagement. What has worked, what can be improved, and how can we work with pupil engagement in the future.

9:45 – 10:40

Sharing ideas and experiences The teachers and pupils share ideas and experiences, in order to secure that all good ideas and experiences are spread out.

10:40 – 10:55

Break

10:55 – 11:30

New action As the last part of course 2, the teachers and pupils work with new actions that need to be implemented, and how they will work with pupil engagement in the future.

11:30 – 12:30

Evaluation Finally, we evaluate the entire course

12:30

Lunch

219


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Appendix 6 Appendix 6 – examples of concrete tools for teachers and pupils

Hot or Not? Purpose Personal commitment grows through reflection on one’s own actions in the education, which leads to increased co-responsibility, self-confidence, and increased competencies. Through feedback for your classmate, the pupil takes the role of the teacher, thusly becoming an active player in their own education.

Procedure Based on the following statement, you are now to evaluate your own role as an active participant in the education. This is completed by evaluation, and noting in the box, how active you think you are on a scale from 1 – 10, 1 being not active, and 10 being very active (note the smileys below). Following this, you evaluate your classmate from the same statement regarding his/her role as an active participant in the education. After having evaluated yourself and your classmate, you compare and discuss the similarities and differences in your own evaluation and the evaluation from your classmate. This is done with both participants.

Evaluation of yourself and your classmate

Yourself

Classmate

A. Helps set own goals for the way in which he/she should learn B. Helps make joint goals for the class C. Provides suggestions for material to be used in the teachings D. Evaluates oneself in relation to own goals for what he/she should learn during the education E. Talks to classmates about what he/she has learned in the lessons F…………………………………………………………………………… Opportunity to write a point of evaluation, which you think is missing.

Your evaluation on a scale from 1 – 10. 1 = not active. 10 = very active.

1

5

10

Possible variations:

220

• The pupils use the smileys to evaluate the teachers’ education • The evaluation-line is marked on the floor/wall of the classroom, and the pupils can, in pairs or all together, place themselves on the line, in relation to the statements they are answering.


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

APPENDIX

Rules for feedback Purpose Establishing rules, which can be used by the class as a guide for the way in which they should behave in a feedback situation, e.g. the classmate evaluation. The rules can, thusly, help in avoiding hurting anyone’s feelings, instead building trust, which can be utilized for teachings in the future.

Procedure Expanded brainstorm, where you develop ideas in a team, followed by sharing ideas with other teams. In the following, examples of rules are set as a suggestion for you and your classmates, realizing what to pay attention to, when providing feedback for each other. The examples can be used as the platform from which you generate ideas for rules in the classroom.

Example of rules When we provide feedback for our classmate, we have to: • • • •

Appreciate what our classmate is showing us. We only discuss it with our classmate, and no one else. Pay complete attention to whoever we are talking with, and thoroughly review the material our classmate has made. Listen to our classmate when he/she speaks about their work and goals that the person has tried to reach. Point out the things we thought were good. (Hextorp School in Slemmen, 2012)

Throw and Catch Based on the examples, the school team now writes down all the rules you can think of in the Throw column. Afterwards, you walk among the other teams and trade rules, which means you talk about what ideas the others may have, and add a new idea under the Catch column. The point is to collect as many different ideas and inspiration from the others in only 5 minutes. After finishing the Throw and Catch exercise, the pupils are gathered in the school teams, and put up suggestions for, what they think you form the best rules for feedback in their class.

221


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

Appendix 6 – examples of concrete tools for teachers and pupils Ideas for rules Throw one

Catch one

Write down all the rules you agree on Rules for:

Grade:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. ..................................................

Following the course, you should introduce your suggestions for rules to your classmates. The suggestions are discussed and developed from the same approach as you used on the course, the only difference is that your starting point here, is your suggestions for the rule. The rules are adjusted in this manner, in order to fit them exactly to the needs in your class.

222


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT

APPENDIX

Appendix 7 Course program for the principals Course program 9:00 – 9:40

Introduction and balancing of expectations Introduction to the day, and presentation of the results of studies on pupil engagement so far, in order to signify the importance of pupil engagement.

9:40 – 10:30

Perspectives on management Introduction to the professional sparring as a part of the management on the schools. The starting point is Action Learning and the Wheel of Success.

10:30 – 10:45

Break

10:45 – 11:15

Class-management The principals’ work with class-management, which is important in relation to pupil engagement.

11:15 – 12:00

Tool for feedback and evaluation Introduction to the same tools for feedback and evaluation, with which the teachers and pupils have worked. In this way, the principals gain an understanding of the work methods, and will be able to assist the teachers with their work in the school.

12:00 – 13:00

Lunch

13:00 – 13:30

Observation and didactical conversation The principals also learn to participate in, and conduct, an observation of the teachings, and, a didactical conversation, enabling them to assist the teachers in this area.

13:30 – 14:30

Sharing ideas, feedback and the principals’ expectation On the first course, the teachers and pupils established three concrete goals for working with pupil engagement. This should establish a joint cooperation agreement, which pupils, teachers, and the principal agree on, on which everyone will work.

14:30 – 15:00

Conclusion and evaluation

223


PUPIL ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION: A MEANS FOR INCREASED ACADEMIC ABILITY, WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COMMITMENT. The research on pupil engagement shows that when pupils are engaged in the decision-making regarding the planning, execution, and evaluation of their education, they become academically stronger, gain increased wellbeing, and attain a greater sense of social commitment. In the new agreement on reforming the public schools in Denmark, which was negotiated into place in June 2013, the political parties behind the agreement emphasized that “pupil engagement and pupil democracy are significant factors for school development in the future”. There are, however, several unanswered questions on pupil engagement. With this report, and by answering the two research questions, which, based on the research so far, are the most obvious ones to address, the Association of Danish Pupils pushes the research in pupil engagement another step forward. Even though the research in pupil engagement shows strong and robust positive effects from pupil engagement on pupils’ academic ability, well-being, and social commitment, there have been no studies investigating the reason behind these effects. In this report, we complete the first systematic analysis of this question, and show that the primary ”I am certainly going to say reason for the positive effects of pupil that in the six years I have been engagement, is how pupil engagement employed, I have participated creates co-ownership for the pupils in the in a lot of things, which have education, which has a strong positive mostly been some sentences and effect on pupils’ motivation.

statements on, I don’t even know

Similarly, it has not been researched, what… This is the only thing, I whether or not, or how, it is possible have participated in, where I felt to increase pupil engagement. Based that here we have something that on the existing research, and the great actually holds importance.” political interest for pupil engagement, it does seem to be a particularly relevant Teacher (translated by ed.) question to ask. In this report, we, thusly, analyze this question, and show that it is possible to increase pupil engagement quite strongly, which can be done by completing a competency development course for pupils, teachers, and principals.

Pupil engagement in education  

English translation of the original report 2014 "Elevinddragelse i undervisningen"

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you