M. Burget, L. Ränik

University of Tartu (ESTONIA)
Education is in constant motion. Besides traditional teaching, a newer approach - the contemporary approach to learning - is emerging. This approach focuses on the four Cs (Communication, Collaboration, Critical thinking, and Creativity), which are considered the 21st century skills. The development of these skills requires implementing more engaging and hands-on activities. The contemporary approach to learning includes students' self-regulation, collaboration, engagement, emotional satisfaction, intrinsic motivation, openness, and reflection. This study aimed to determine students' evaluations of engagement and motivation in the context of the contemporary approach to learning.

Methodologically, a quantitative approach was applied. The data was collected through questionnaires that focused on students' engagement and motivation. The sample consisted of 208 students from one basic school in Estonia (n = 72 in grades 1-3; n = 67 in grades 4-6; n = 69 in grades 7-9). 108 boys and 100 girls responded to the questionnaire. The school in which the study was conducted, started using the contemporary approach to learning after the data was collected.

Firstly, during the data analysis, the self-assessments of students' engagement and motivation were described and analyzed independently. Secondly, differences in boys' and girls' self-assessment of engagement and motivation were found.

The results of the study reflect the starting point of progress towards using the contemporary approach to learning in the researched school. The evaluations of students in grades 1-3 imply that they feel more engaged than the students in grades 4-6 and 7-9. The students in grades 1-3 also have higher motivation. Girls' evaluations indicate higher engagement and, therefore, also higher motivation. Overall, the study highlights the importance of engagement towards maintaining students' motivation during their studies.