University Of Tasmania

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Engagement at sorell: report on the first year of action research

posted on 2023-05-25, 19:57 authored by Jeffrey ThomasJeffrey Thomas, Manoj NairManoj Nair

This report describes the first year of the Engagement at Sorell Project. The main aim of the project is to understand and maximise student engagement, with the end objective of increasing educational outcomes such as attendance, conduct and belonging at Sorell School. This first year was primarily focused on understanding the nature of engagement at Sorell, and the specific teaching context. It is difficult to conclude anything from the first year of the study, however data indicates that for years sevens, after one year of this approach.

  • Attendance has increased
  • Suspensions have decreased
  • Problematic behaviour was referred less
  • In addition, what is also important is the clear affirmation from this first year that what teachers did in their classrooms demonstrably impacted student affective and cognitive engagement. The types of practices that teachers used that were most effective were consistency in routines and structure, regular parent engagement, relational pedagogies and humanistic behaviour management.

    Notably, there appears to be no correlation between student engagement and the “more easily-available and readily-used” high-level student behavioural data such as student attendance, suspensions, and office referrals. However, the cognitive and affective engagement of students did seem to influence their classroom behaviour and to an extent their unexplained absences from school.

    Knowing these connections, we are confident going into the second year of the study knowing that the teacher practices that increase and maintain student engagement will continue to be explored and documented in 2022. Furthermore, we will also attempt to investigate the utility in continuing the current use of certain student behavioural data in shaping school policy.


    Commissioning body

    Jenny Cowling, Principal Sorell District School




    Faculty of Education


    Jenny Cowling, Principal Sorell District School

    Place of publication

    Tasmania, Australia

    Repository Status

    • Restricted

    Socio-economic Objectives

    Secondary education

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