The importance of emotional engagement of students enrolled in intermediate VET .
Questions and Theoretical Approach (600 words)
In this paper we analyze the emotional engagement of students in their first course of Intermediate VET in Spain.
This analysis is done in the context of a longitudinal study on itineraries of success and abandonment of pupils enrolled in intermediate VET programs in the education system in Spain, which aims to provide evidence on a scientific basis and intervention, that contribute to improving knowledge of the Vocational Training Spanish educational system, and, more specifically, to prevent and correct the serious problem of school dropouts at these levels.
The following analysis is a first phase of the longitudinal study. At this phase, we analyze the emotional engagement of all students coursing their first year; and in the subsequent phases, we will analyze the relationship between emotional engagement at the beginning of the vocational intermediate year and the characteristics of the itineraries carried out (success-dropout).
In this study the global model used for understanding the abandonment and educational success in vocational training lies in the concept of “Student Engagement”. According to Reschly & Christenson (2012), the concept of "student engagement" is divided into four areas of study: emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and academic.
In this case, our goal is to present what variables determine the dimension of emotional engagement, and what results are expected, according to the theory.
The construct of emotional engagement " is of great importance in the investigation according to different studies confirming its decisive role in the prevention of dropout, risk behavior dampers (Li, Lynch, Kalvin, Liu, & Lerner, 2011), flattering and school activity participation, perseverance in the task (Goodenow, 1993), school motivation (Roeser, Eccles, & Sameroff, 1998) and ultimately, academic linkage (Anderson, Christeson, Sinclair, & Lehr, 2004).
The emotional engagement concept is defined from diverse perspectives: positive affective reactions in the classroom, such as enjoyment and interest and personal identification and belonging (González, 2010).
Some scales are not always appropriate to measure the emotional dimension. Firstly, items that tap behavioural engagement and emotional engagement are often combined in a single scale, as in the case of The Rochester Assessment Package for School (RAPS, Wellborn & Connell, 1987). Secondly, the survey items do not specify the source of the emotions. Thirdly, the measures of emotional engagement tend to be more general than related constructs such as interest and value (Frederick, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004).
A reference tool for the development of our questionnaire to evaluate the emotional dimension is the SEI; Student Engagement Instrument (Appleton, Christenson, Kim, & Reschly, 2006). In addition, we have completed measures of parental support through TEDP (Janosz; Archambault; Lacroix & Lévesque, 2007), measuring the perception of parental control that the student has.
The SEI is an instrument that serves the theoretical model presented, and recent studies provide validity and psychometric reliability when applied to a sample of primary and secondary or higher education (Appleton, et al, 2006; Betts, Appleton, Reschly, Christenson, & Huebner, 2010).
Methodology (400 words)
- Questionnaire and sample
The study will use a representative sample of students who started their training in the education intermediate VET, during the course 2015-16 in Palma de Mallorca. The participants are 828 students from this level.
The SEI; Student Engagement Instrument used (Appleton, Christenson, Kim, & Reschly, 2006), adapted to the Spanish context, specifies the variables: relationships with teachers (9 items) such as “My teachers are there for me when I need them” or “ Adults at my school listen to the students”; peer relationships (5 items) such as “I have some friends at school” or “Other students here care about me” and family support for learning (4 items) such as “My family/guardians are there for me when I need them” or “When something good happens at school, my family/guardians want to know about it”. Also, we have used the TEDP (Janosz, et al., 2007) to understand how the students perceive parental control with nine items that faced students with issues such as “My parents would agree if I left school” or “If I have a problem at school, I would tend to talk about it with my parents”.
The students indicate their level of agreement with each item, using a 4-point scale, from 1 = strongly agree to 4 = strongly disagree. Previous research presented internal consistency of the SEI through estimates ranging between .72 -.88 in the four subtypes of scales (Appleton et al., 2006). And the internal consistency of the subscale perception of parental control (Janosz et al., 2007) through estimates ranging between .70 -.74.
The questionnaire included sociodemographic characteristics of the participating students and their families
Expected outcomes (300 words)
Our analysis suggests that the dimension of emotional engagement such as social support from teachers, parents and peers play an important role in reducing the declines in school compliance, encouraging a sense of school identification, as well as the subjective valuing of learning at school, and also, a lot of indicators in relation to behavioural and cognitive engagement.
More specifically, students who perceive social support of teachers tend to respond to these expectations, and exhibit less undisciplined behaviour; focusing towards academic achievements and tasks of school participation with low stress (Stipek, 2002).
Social support from peers promotes the feeling of acceptance within the group and within the school community, while enmities characterized by negative feelings favor rivalry, aggressive or defensive behaviour, and increase disengagement from the school context (Kurdek & Sinclair, 2000).
Finally, family support regarding homework favours greater involvement of students in the school context and a decrease in problematic behavior by the latter. (Wang, Dishion, Stormshak, & Willett, 2011).
Our analysis will allow us to study what relationships exists between the social support from peers, teachers and parents. Furthermore, to get acquainted with how parental control and support is involved with the social support from peers and teachers, completing the analysis with the variables taken into consideration such as gender, professional families, and cultural background of students enrolled in intermediate VET in Spain.
This longitudinal study will allow to analyze, more late, the relationships between emotional engagement and other dimensions as cognitive engagement and behavior engagement.
References (400 words)
Anderson, A. R., Christenson, S. L., Sinclair, M. F., & Lehr, C. a. (2004). Check & Connect: The importance of relationships for promoting engagement with school. Journal of School Psychology, 42(2), 95–113.
Appleton, J. J., Christenson, S. L., Kim, D., & Reschly, A. L. (2006). Measuring cognitive and psychological engagement: Validation of the Student Engagement Instrument. Journal of School Psychology, 44(5), 427–445.
Betts, J; Appleton, J; Reschly, A; Christenson, S; Huebner, E.S. (2010). A study of the factorial invariance of the student engagement instrument (SEI): Results from middle and high school students. School Psychology Quarterly, 25(2), 84-93.
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