Student Engagement Technique _ Barkley’s Book

Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student Engagement Technique. A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Brief Summary of Chapters 1 to 4

“Learning begins with tudent engagement.” (p.4)

Student engagement = Motivation X Active Learning

Motivation and Active Learning work synergistically and, at the far end of the continuum are the transformative peak experiences.


Motivation = Expectancy X Value

Expectancy = the degree to which students expect to be able to perform the task successfully

Value = the degree to which they value the rewards as well as the opportunity to engage in performing the task itself


Self-Efficacy Theory

If a student is confident in her ability to perform a task successfully, she will be motivated to engage in it.

Attribution Theory

Students’ belief is shaped by their perceptions of why they have succedeed or failed in the past.

Self-Worth Models

When students don’t succeed they would prefer to question their efforts rather than their ability.

Four Typical Student Patterns
  1. Success-oriented student: accustomed to success, accept occasional failure
  2. Overstrivers: successful student but anxious
  3. Failure-avoiders: avoid too challenging tasks
  4. Failure-accepting: feel hopeless


Extrinsic rewards = quick fixes but counterproductive to have a student truly engaged

“Flow” = deep intrisic motivation _ may be helped by instructor if:

  • Goals are clear
  • Feedback is immediate
  • the challenge is balanced

Teacher can increase motivation by taking steps to increase the value of the learning to student and helping student hold optimistic expectations about their ability to succeed.

Active Learning

The mind is actively engaged. WHen new learning in readily comprehensible (it makes sense) and can be connected to past experiences (it has meaning) retention is dramatically improved.

Learning is a dynamic process.

Promoting Synergy between Motivation and Active Learning

  1. By creating a sense of classroom community
  2. By helping students work at their optimal level of challenge.
    • Tasks must be sufficently difficult to pose a challenge, but not so difficult as to destroy the willingness to try (p.27)
    • Three broad approaches to helping student work in their optimal challenge zones.
      1. Assessment and feedback
      2. Teaching metacognitive skills
      3. Empowering students as partners in the learning process. (When st have the power to make decisions regarding their own learning, they can take steps to ensure they are working in their optimal challenge zone).
  3. By teaching so that students learn holistically (We cannot seperate emotion, cognition, and the physical body).

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