Pupil engagement can be defined as a pupil’s own psychological investment in their learning (Muir et al, 2020). As a result of the COVID pandemic and the return to home learning, pupil engagement has become a cause for concern amongst many teachers. A recent study found that on average less than half of the pupils in English primary schools returned their last piece of set work (Lucas, Nelson and Sims, 2020). In order to address this issue, teachers had to look for ways to increase pupil motivation and confidence which in turn would help to boost engagement. Bubb and Jones (2020) argue that children need a purpose to remain motivated and engaged in an online setting. Stewart (2020) agrees with this, arguing the importance of live meetings with pupils, suggesting they help to build connections and rapport which in turn increases pupil engagement. Various research suggests that many pupils feel isolated and unsupported in an online environment and therefore find it difficult to remain engaged. An increase in teacher contact with pupils through online communications can reduce this feeling of isolation and make learning a more positive experience for pupils (The Open University, online). Wang & Degoi (2014: 140) corroborate this, highlighting that “When students have positive learning experiences, supportive relationships with adults and peers, and reaffirmations of their developmental needs in learning contexts, they are more likely to remain actively engaged in school”.
Through discussions with my enquiry group we collectively agreed that pupil engagement was a cause for concern amongst all classes. York (2020) suggests that activities such as clicking, typing or talking increases pupils’ engagement. With this in mind an enquiry was established to determine the impact of live meetings on pupil engagement. This enquiry will explore and monitor the relationship between the level of pupil engagement and online teacher contact.
The aim of this enquiry was to investigate if teacher-pupil contact through live meetings would increase pupil engagement in an online learning environment.