It’s not just Check & Connect—“engagement” has been an educational buzzword since the ‘90s. It even has its own Wikipedia entry. Despite ubiquitous use of the term, researchers, educators, and intervention programs each have their own definition of “engagement” (we’ll dig deeper on Check & Connect’s definition in a future blog post).
Appleton, Christenson, and Furlong (2008) examined 19 extant definitions of engagement from articles and reports published from 1984-2007, including the definition used in Check & Connect. They summarized these definitions in a table; we thought it might be illuminating to examine those definitions using another approach.
So, below is a WordCloud generated from the definitions of engagement reviewed by Appleton et al. (2008). In WordClouds, the frequency with which words appear determines how large they appear—words that show up more frequently appear in larger text.
What do you notice?
What do you notice about the result of this “visual synthesis” of 19 definitions of engagement? Is there anything important about the nature of engagement at school and with learning that you think isn’t captured in this WordCloud? Comment on this post to share your thoughts.
Appleton, J. J., Christenson, S. L., & Furlong, M. J. (2008). Student engagement with school: Critical conceptual and methodological issues of the construct. Psychology in the Schools, 45(5), 369-386.
About the Author: Chris Opsal is a project coordinator at the Institute on Community Integration and member of the Check & Connect team.
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