STUDENT’S ENGAGEMENT IN SCHOOL: A LITERATURE REVIEW

F.H. Veiga1, D. Galvão1, T. Pereira2, S. Caldeira3, S. Bahia1, M. Melo2, J. Conboy1, J. Nogueira4, I. Janeiro5, M.I. Festas6, M.C. Taveira7, C. Carvalho1, A. Almeida7

1Instituto de Educação, Universidade de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
2Universidade de Évora (PORTUGAL)
3Universidade dos Açores (PORTUGAL)
4Universidade Nova de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
5Faculdade de Psicologia, Universidade de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
6Universidade de Coimbra (PORTUGAL)
7Universidade do Minho (PORTUGAL)
Student’s Engagement in School has been the focus of debate concerning academic success and school dropout, and pointed out as a mean to address the problems affecting our schools and their students, not only for having value in itself, but also for being an important mediator between several academic variables. This is a transdisciplinary concept, which we define as the experience of binding the student to the school, in specific dimensions, such as cognitive, affective, behavioral and agential (the student as an agent of action). This paper reviews the research and literature on this concept and its relations with personal and contextual variables, as well as with academic performance, with the aim to summarize the main relationships found. Literature presents a significant number of studies which sustain that personal variables, such as self-efficacy and self-concept, as well as contextual - peers, school, family- are related with school engagement. The adoption of mastery goals, for instance, has a positive impact on school, as they are related with the use of cognitive and self-regulatory strategies by students. Positive relationships with peers, teachers support and the quality of family relations are associated with higher levels of engagement and academic performance, while negative experiences, such as bullying, are related with educational difficulties. Following this, we reflect about the relevance of studying engagement in school, in the context of widespread financial crisis, and emphasize the need to rethink educational institutions considering the paradigmatic changes that currently occur.