Increasing student engagement in the classroom: A design development study of implementing proactive relationship building strategies and increasing teacher efficacy in a major suburban middle school



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This study sought to examine the possibility of increasing student engagement in the classroom by including proactive relationship building strategies and coaching educators within a major suburban middle school. Zero-tolerance discipline policies have been researched and have been found to contribute to escalated misbehaviors, as students seek exclusionary consequences. Thus, it was discovered that the campus included in this study had high levels of student discipline that occurred in the classroom. To increase student engagement in the classroom, it is necessary to focus on adult behaviors in the classroom and give them tools to include a safe, connected culture in the classroom. Through individualized and targeted coaching embedded within observation and feedback cycles, this study focused on building upon teachers' self-awareness and use of proactive relationship building strategies. This study was conducted using an insider action research model, while utilizing a design-based approach to develop the intervention based on the needs of the campus in the study. This action-research utilized classroom observations, and pre- and post- conference sessions with teachers to identify specific targeted areas of instruction to focus on, while also building knowledge of cultural responsiveness through discussion and targeting student-specific needs. The findings of the study show that individualized coaching of teachers can help to build teacher knowledge, confidence, and ability to implement proactive relationship building strategies within their classroom.



Learner Engagement, Restorative Practices