Declan Douglas

English

Brannock High

  • Digital Learning: Pupil Engagement

To what extent do informal drop-in sessions help to improve student engagement across digital learning?

Rationale

The reasoning behind this enquiry was that there was a big belief amongst the probationers that engagement would be a factor which could sharply decline in a digital learning environment as they are no longer in school and thus do not have the same access to their support network. Therefore, it is important that we make sure their educational needs are met in the most fulfilling way possible. The most optimum way to do this is to look at two factors: the functions of education and the importance of engagement and growth mindsets. How we focused on these two main ideas and measured them will be discussed more thoroughly in later sections of this report.

There was a large amount of academic theory supporting the premise that these are vastly contributing factors that improve a student’s education in a vast way. Looking specifically at the ‘socialisation’ function of education (Biesta, 2010) (in line with Biesta’s 3 functions) we can draw clear links with critics like Bruner (Bruner, 1976) and Vygotsky (Vygotsky, 2020) in constructivist approaches which are things that have sadly already been somewhat impeded by COVID-19(specifically social constructivism).

Regarding the engagement and growth mindset focus, there is similarly a plethora of theory that support this presupposition that these are hugely important factors in education. You need only look at the works of Dweck (Dweck, 2014), Hattie (Hattie, 2018) to have a more modern take on the ideas of education and self-efficacy. This is by no means a new trend however as we can see similar themes running in Plato’s philosophy of education some 2500 years ago in his drive to reach eudaimonia or the state of fulfilment reached through desired education; similarly, Plato held the system of belief that education’s function was not just to teach us how to learn but also how to live and educated on life skills in similar measure as academia. This to me draws links with Dweck and Hattie’s assertations that education is best done in a manner that is not only continual but encouraging and widely focused. I am of the personal belief that all education should be multi-functional and applicable out with the classroom.

Aims

The aims of this enquiry were to figure out whether these informal drop-ins would have on the learning of the pupils across digital learning. As well as this, there was a secondary goal that would influence our methodology of attempting to monitor and help sustain the positive mental health of all students involved within the enquiry itself. Therefore, the primary concern was to chart the effect of these sessions on student engagement and work. This served as the foundations on which this enquiry was constructed.

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