Academic journal article Review of European Studies

How Teacher Moderates the Relationship between Democratic Classroom Environment and Student Engagement

Academic journal article Review of European Studies

How Teacher Moderates the Relationship between Democratic Classroom Environment and Student Engagement

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between democratic classroom environment and student engagement and its three dimensions: cognitive engagement, emotional engagement and behavioral engagement. Previous research has extensively reported about the positive relationship between democratic classroom environment and student engagement. However, these studies have evaluated only the relationship between democratic classroom environment and student engagement neglecting the three dimensions. This study contributes to this gap by examining the three dimensions as well. Thus, the paper had two aims: First to investigate the relationship between democratic classroom and the three dimensions of classroom engagement: behavioral engagement, emotional engagement and cognitive engagement and second, to examine the moderating role of teacher between democratic classroom and student engagement. A survey questionnaire was utilized to collect data from secondary school teachers. Since the study was based on correlation method, therefore, regression analysis were conducted to test the hypotheses of the study and to analyze the relationship between the variables. The findings of the study showed that there is a strong positive correlation between democratic classroom environment and student engagement and its three dimensions: behavioral, emotional and cognitive. The study also discovered that teacher moderates the relationship between democratic classroom environment and student engagement. On the basis of the results, the paper concludes that teacher plays an important role in the behavioral, emotional and cognitive engagement of students in the teaching and learning process.

Keywords: democratic classroom environment, role of teacher, behavioral engagement, emotional engagement, cognitive engagement

1. Introduction

In the present democratic age, schools should prepare young people for democratic living. To achieve this, schools should not only transmit knowledge to students about democratic life but, they should also be provided with such a learning environment where they can learn and practice democracy. For this purpose, students can be better engaged for learning in a democratic classroom which is characterized by encouragement, support, guidance and trust (Patrick, 2004). Classroom is a miniature community of learners (Khurram, 2003). It is the epicenter where the future citizens are prepared. The nature and structure of classroom environment decides the quality of learning environment. Researchers have suggested that for students' citizenship development, teachers must try to engage students in learning opportunities in such a way, where they can learn and practice their newly gained knowledge and skills. This aim can be achieved by creating an open, democratic and engaging classroom environment where students are able to learn and practice citizenship. Teachers may help the students to reconstruct their learning by being engaged in learning experiences (Johnson & McClure, 2004).

Schools of today are laboratories of democracy where students receive training for their future life and responsibilities. It is one of the essential roles of teachers to transfer democratic values to the future citizens. For this purpose, they may create democratic learning environment where students may interact openly and learn from each other (Patrick, 2004). Democratic classroom education environment is a place which is characterized by tolerance, cooperation, and participation. These values could only be transferred in friendly and supportive learning environment that allows students to acquire new knowledge through critical investigation, reflection and cooperation (Imran, 2006). This diversity provides practical opportunities for students to socialize and grow. In a democratic classroom, there is a formal and informal interaction among the students during the learning process.

Students learn cooperation and trust through working and learning together. …

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