Student Disaffection: The Contribution of Greek In-service Kindergarten Teachers in Engaging Each Preschooler in Learning
‘The opposite of engagement is disaffection. Disaffected children are passive, do not try hard, and give up easily in the face of challenges … [they can] be bored, depressed, anxious, or even angry about their presence in the classroom; they can withdraw from learning opportunities or even rebellious towards teachers and classmates. Engagement versus disaffection encompasses the typical behavioural and emotional constructs from most theories of achievement and intrinsic motivation.’
2. Data Collection Methods
- how do teachers perceive the benefits of engaging each disengaged preschooler for the students himself, for the teacher, and the classroom cohesion?
- do teachers consider student’s engagement levels to affect teacher-student relations?
3. Data Analysis Process
4.1. Teachers’ Opinions with Regards to the Importance of Engaging the Disengaged Students in Learning Activities
- For the benefit of the class climate. Thirteen per cent of the interviewees considered it important to engage each disaffected preschooler aiming to foster and ensure classroom cohesion. ([Ν = 17, Σ = 128], Ν = The total of teachers’ responses in each category, Σ= The total of teachers’ responses.).
- For the benefit of the teacher himself. Twenty-seven per cent of the interviewees admit that their teaching efforts to engage the disaffected student have a pervasive impact on themselves. They recognize the importance of engaging the disaffected preschoolers, so as to experience self-efficacy considering their instruction effective, and their pedagogical objectives accomplished. The participant teachers also consider student engagement as a matter of ethics and personal commitment [Ν = 34, Σ = 128]. The extracts from the following interviews are indicative:“… it is important for the teacher, to consider himself to be effective in teaching” Teacher 37, Head of school, Master in education (M.edu), <30 years (yrs) experience).“This is our role, our responsibility: each student should “reach” a desirable (engagement) level.” (Teacher 28, Head of school, <20 yrs experience).“… for the teacher to feel that he carries out his task.” (Teacher 41, <20 yrs experience).“It’s a personal commitment of mine to help my students; … not only the disengaged ones, but also the class as a whole. Each student affects the team…and the teacher, as well.” (Teacher 56, <30 yrs experience).
- For the benefit of the specific disengaged student. The vast majority of the interviewees (60%) recognise as being of considerable significance to engage—first and foremost—each student who does not frequently take part in learning-related tasks, for his own benefit. Their efforts to involve each disaffected preschooler have a determinant impact on the target student [Ν = 77, Σ = 128]).
- Abilities and personality development. Few teachers (12%) argue that their attempts to motivate disengaged preschoolers focus on offering them the opportunity to develop their abilities and unfold their personalities. Introverted, shy, hesitant students that frequently deprive themselves of expressing their needs and experiences need more support to unfold their abilities, talents, and character. (References in the interviews: 2, 16, 18, 39, 47, 57, 60, 72, 75 [Ν = 9, Σ = 77])
- Effective socialisation. Students who indicate disaffection characteristics are usually isolated or marginalised. According to 14% of teachers, these preschoolers that may have difficulty in communication, peer interaction, and cooperation need more opportunities to become effectively socialised and develop a sense of belonging as members of a class. Seemingly, these children have difficulty in dealing with interpersonal and school challenges. The interviewees also claim that their efforts to engage each disengaged focus on ameliorating teacher-student mutual relations, which in turn foster the learning process. (References in the interviews: 11, 16, 23, 25, 40, 42, 49, 50, 52, 65, 80 [Ν = 11, Σ = 77])
- Learning outcomes. Teacher’s efforts intentionally focus on the disengaged students providing them with more opportunities to get involved in tasks and consequently obtain learning outcomes. 16% of the interviewees argue that disengaged preschoolers need more instructional support since they usually spend insufficient time-on-task, delay or even fail to complete a task and have difficulty in meeting the requirements of school life. (References in the interviews: 1, 8, 14, 17, 22, 27, 41, 44, 56, 57, 63, 79 [Ν = 12, Σ = 77]).“These students need our help! The self-regulated students learn on their own, while the disengaged student will not manage to do so if we do not support and guide them … without teachers’ scaffolding”. (Teacher 8: special education teacher, M. edu, <20 yrs experience)
- A positive attitude toward learning. Disaffected preschoolers are usually unwilling, half-hearted, or unenthusiastic. Disaffected preschoolers are not easily impressed and refuse to participate in organised classroom activities. Taking into consideration that indifference/apathy/amotivation constitute core manifestations of disaffection, 23% of teachers argue that their attempts to motivate the disengaged preschoolers to aim at developing a positive attitude toward learning. (References in the interviews: 7, 8, 9, 15, 32, 42, 49, 52, 58, 61, 65, 66, 67, 71, 74, 77/ [Ν = 16, Σ = 77]). The extracts from the following interviews are indicative:“Teachers should serve a "starting point" for a change in the academic development of a disengaged student. This will foster his/her self-confidence and self-image among his classmates” (Teacher 52: M.edu, <20 yrs experience).
- Educational equality. Disengaged preschoolers usually have difficulty in meeting the requirements of school life, attributing their shortcomings to the reduced learning opportunities from their family environment. Taking that for granted, 18% of the interviewees argue that their teaching efforts intentionally focus on the target-students in order to provide them with equal learning opportunities. (References in the interviews: 7, 19, 20, 24, 27, 33, 35, 45, 53, 54, 57, 63, 67, 72 [Ν = 14, Σ = 77])‘It is his right to learn, even though his progress is not significant’ (Teacher 27: <20 yrs experience)‘It is important to give equal opportunities to each student. It is important to respect each child’s learning pace, to be interested in his progress, to adapt your expectations according to his needs. It is important to facilitate learning for the benefit of each student’ (Teacher 33: <10 yrs experience).
- Active citizenship. A few interviewees (6%) argue that disengaged students need increased opportunities to develop critical thinking and consequently take initiatives and actions, since they are described as being passive, indifferent and reluctant to participate not only in organised classroom activities but also in jointly shared actions (References in the interviews: 9, 39, 55, 57, 72/[Ν = 5/77])I try to engage this specific student in learning so as to teach him to think independently, to decide, to take initiatives and as a consequence, make him an active member of the class initially and society later (Teacher 72: special education teacher, <5 yrs experience).
- Self-efficacy. 10% of teachers identify that their efforts to engage each disengaged student focus on fostering his/her self-efficacy. Disengaged preschoolers seem to be emotionally insecure, introverted, unconfident, and may need more teachers’ emotional and instructional support. (References in the interviews: 10, 29, 46, 52, 57, 59, 75, 80/[Ν = 8/77])“A shy and introverted student needs the teacher’s encouragement.” (Teacher 10: <20 yrs experience)“To encourage that student who may want, but due to his character hesitates to take part in a task. (Teacher 46: special education teacher, <5 yrs experience).
4.2. Teachers’ Opinions with Regards to the Impact of Student’s Engagement Levels on Teacher-Student Relations
“Seemingly, the relationships with our students are affected by their engagement … but we try hard so as not to communicate it to them”. (Teacher 9: M. edu, <20 yrs experience)
“It is really encouraging seeing our students being engaged. Their engagement motivates us to continue, … while their disengagement discourages us”. (Teacher 11: M. edu, <20 yrs experience)
“If the teacher supports the engaged students more, does so unconsciously”. (Teacher 31: M. edu, <5 yrs experience).
Conflicts of Interest
- Findlay, L. A Qualitative Investigation into Student and Teacher Perceptions of Motivation and Engagement in the Secondary Mathematics Classroom. Bachelor’s Thesis, Avondale College of Higher Education, Cooranbong, Australia, October 2013. Available online: https://research.avondale.edu.au/theses_bachelor_honours/15 (accessed on 29 January 2020).
- Way, J.; Bobis, J.; Martin, A.; Anderson, J.; Vellar, R.; Skilling, K.; Reece, A. How to increase motivation and engagement in middle years mathematics. Presented at the Joint AAMT-MERGA Meeting, Alice Springs, Australia, 3–7 July 2011. [Google Scholar]
- Parsons, J.; Taylor, L. Improving Student Engagement. Curr. Issues Educ. 2011, 14. Available online: http://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/article/view/745 (accessed on 29 January 2020).
- Kourkoutas, E.; Stavrou, P.D.; Plexousakis, S. Teachers’ Emotional and Educational Reactions toward Children with Behavioral Problems: Implication for School-Based Counseling Work with Teachers. J. Psych. Behav. Sci. 2018, 6, 17–34. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Skinner, E.A. Engagement and disaffection as central to processes of motivational resilience development. In Handbook of Motivation at School, 2nd ed.; Wentzel, K., Miele, D., Eds.; Erlbaum: Malwah, NJ, USA, 2016; Available online: https://www.pdx.edu/psy/sites/www.pdx.edu.psy/files/2016-Skinner%20engagement%20%26%20disaffection.pdf (accessed on 29 January 2020).
- Skinner, E.A.; Belmont, M.J. Motivation in the classroom: Reciprocal effects of teacher behavior and student engagement across the school year. J. Educ. Psychol. 1993, 85, 571–581. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Sakellariou, M.; Tsiara, E. Student Disaffection: Teachers’ Perspectives on Disaffection Characteristics and Frequency in Preschool Settings. Eur. J. Educ. Stud. 2019, 5. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Martin, A.; Ginns, P.; Papworth, B.; Malmberg, L.-E.; Collie, J.R.; Calvod, R.A. Real-time motivation and engagement during a month at school: Every moment of every day for every student matters. Learn. Individ. Diff. 2015, 38, 26–35. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Martin, A.; Ginns, P.; Papworth, B. Motivation and engagement: Same or different? Does it matter? Learn. Individ. Diff. 2017, 55, 150–162. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Skinner, E.A.; Pitzer, J. Developmental dynamics of engagement, coping, and everyday resilience. In Handbook of Research on Student Engagement; Christenson, S.L., Reschly, A.L., Wylie, C., Eds.; Springer: New York, NY, USA, 2012; pp. 21–45. [Google Scholar]
- Curby, T.W.; Downer, J.T.; Booren, L.M. Behavioral exchanges between teachers and children over the course of a typical preschool day: Testing bidirectional associations. Early Child. Res. Q. 2014, 29, 193–204. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Hart, S.; Stewart, K.; Jimerson, S. The Student Engagement in Schools Questionnaire (SESQ) and the Teacher Engagement Report Form-New (TERF-N): Examining the Preliminary Evidence, University of California Santa Barbara. Contemp. Sch. Psychol. 2011, 15, 67–79. [Google Scholar]
- Ling, S.; Barnett, D. Increasing Preschool Student Engagement during Group Learning Activities Using a Group Contingency. Top. Early Child. Spec. Educ. 2013, 33, 186–196. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Fredricks, J.; Mccolskey, W. The Measurement of Student Engagement: A Comparative Analysis of Various Methods and Student Self-report Instruments. In Handbook of Research on Student Engagement; Christenson, S.L., Reschly, A.L., Wylie, C., Eds.; Springer: New York, NY, USA, 2012; pp. 763–782. [Google Scholar]
- George, H.P.; Childs, K.E. Evaluating implementation of schoolwide behavior supports: Are we doing it well? Prev. Sch. Fail. Prev. Sch. Fail. Altern. Educ. Child. Youth 2012, 56, 197–206. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Williford, A.P.; Maier, M.F.; Downer, J.T.; Carter, L.; Sanger, C. Understanding how children’s engagement and teachers’ interactions combine to predict school readiness. J. Appl. Dev. Psych. 2013, 34, 299–309. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed][Green Version]
- Tarabini, A.; Curran, M.; Montes, A.; Parcerisa, L. Can educational engagement prevent Early School Leaving? Unpacking the school’s effect on educational success. Edu. Stud. 2019, 45, 226–241. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Appleton, J.J.; Christenson, S.L.; Furlong, M.J. Student engagement with school: Critical conceptual and methodological issues of the construct. Psych. Sch. 2008, 45, 369–386. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Aydogan, C.; Farran, D.; Sagsoz, G. The relationship between kindergarten classroom environment and children’s engagement. Euro. Early Childhood Edu. Res. J. 2015, 23, 604–618. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Skinner, E.A.; Kindermann, T.A.; Furrer, C. A motivational perspective on engagement and disaffection: Conceptualization and assessment of children’s behavioral and emotional participation in academic activities in the classroom. Educ. Psych. Meas. 2009, 69, 493–525. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Havik, T.; Westergård, E. Do Teachers Matter? Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Interactions and Student Engagement. Scand. J. Educ. Res. 2019. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Steins, G.; Behravan, B. Teacher-Student-Relationships in Teacher Education: Exploring Three Projects of Knowledge Transfer into Action. Psychology 2017, 8, 746–770. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Nurmi, J.; Kiuru, N. Students’ evocative impact on teacher instruction and teacher–child relationships—Theoretical background and an overview of previous research International. J. Behav. Dev. 2015, 39, 445–457. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Σακελλαρίου, Μ.Ι. Εισαγωγή στη διδακτική της παιδαγωγικής εργασίας του νηπιαγωγείου: θεωρητικές προσεγγίσεις και διδακτικές εφαρμογές; Εκδόσεις Γιαχούδη: Θεσσαλονίκη, Ελλάδα, 2012; [Sakellariou, M.I. Introduction in the Pedagogical Teaching of the Kindergarten: Theoretical Approaches and Didactic Applications; Yahoudi Publications: Thessaloniki, Greece, 2012.]. [Google Scholar]
- Roorda, D.L.; Koomen, H.M.Y.; Spilt, J.L.; Oort, F.J. The influence of affective teacher-student relationships on students’ school engagement and achievement: A meta-analytic approach. Rev. Edu. Res. 2011, 81, 493–529. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Pakarinen, E.; Kiuru, N.; Lerkkanen, M.; Poikkeus, A.; Ahonen, T.; Nurmi, J. Instructional Support Predicts Children’s Task Avoidance in Kindergarten. Early Child. Res. Q. 2011, 26, 376–386. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Dogan, U. Student Engagement, Academic Self-efficacy, and Academic Motivation as Predictors of Academic Performance. Anthropologist 2015, 20, 553–561. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Willms, J.D.; Friesen, S.; Milton, P. What Did You Do in School Today? Transforming Classrooms through Social, Academic and Intellectual Engagement (First National Report); Canadian Education Association: Toronto, ON, Canada, 2009. [Google Scholar]
- Vitiello, V.E.; Booren, L.M.; Downer, J.T.; Williford, A. Variation in children’s classroom engagement throughout a day in preschool: Relations to classroom and child factors. Early Child. Res. Q. 2012, 27, 210–220. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed][Green Version]
- Bryman, A. Social Research Methods, 4th ed.; Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 2012. [Google Scholar]
- Creswell, J.W. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches; SAGE Publications: London, UK, 2009. [Google Scholar]
- Bayram-Jacobs, D.; Henze, I.; Evagorou, M.; Shwartz, Y.; Aschim, E.L.; Alcaraz-Dominguez, S.; Barajas, M.; Dagan, E. Science teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge development during enactment of socioscientific curriculum materials. J. Res. Sci. Teach. 2019, 56, 1207–1233. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Sakellariou, M.; Tsiara, E. Teachers’ Perspectives on Constructivist Teaching Strategies that Enhance Student Engagement in Preschool Settings. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Academic Conference on Humanities and Social Science, Rome, Italy, 17–19 February 2019. [Google Scholar]
- Sakellariou, M.; Tsiara, E. Greek Teachers’ Perceptions of Their Role as a Key Factor in Preschoolers’ Engagement. In Proceedings of the 69 World Assembly and International Conference “Early Childhood Relationships: The Foundation for a Sustainable Future”, Opatija, Croatia, 19–24 June 2017; Available online: http://omep.hr/assets/zbornik.pdf#page=315 (accessed on 29 January 2020).
- Evens, M.; Elen, J.; Larmuseau, C.; Depaepe, F. Promoting the development of teacher professional knowledge: Integrating content and pedagogy in teacher education. Teach. Teach. Educ. 2018, 75, 244–258. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
|Participants’ Working Post||Teaching Experience||Total||Qualifications||Total|
|1–10 Years||>10 Years||Without Extra Qualifications||With Extra Qualifications|
|General education teacher||4||42||46||25||21||46|
|Special education teacher||6||6||12||3||9||12|
|Head of the School||3||19||22||9||13||22|
|Frequency||Percent||Valid Percent||Cumulative Percent||N||Valid||80|
|Valid||I absolutely disagree||15||18.75||18.75||18.75||Missing||0|
|I do not even disagree||10||12.5||12.5||57.5||Median||3.00|
|I totally agree||11||13.75||13.75||100||Std. Deviation||1.367|
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Share and Cite
Sakellariou, M.; Tsiara, E. Student Disaffection: The Contribution of Greek In-service Kindergarten Teachers in Engaging Each Preschooler in Learning. Behav. Sci. 2020, 10, 51. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10020051
Sakellariou M, Tsiara E. Student Disaffection: The Contribution of Greek In-service Kindergarten Teachers in Engaging Each Preschooler in Learning. Behavioral Sciences. 2020; 10(2):51. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10020051Chicago/Turabian Style
Sakellariou, Maria, and Efthymia Tsiara. 2020. "Student Disaffection: The Contribution of Greek In-service Kindergarten Teachers in Engaging Each Preschooler in Learning" Behavioral Sciences 10, no. 2: 51. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10020051