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Author(s): Cynthia S. Johns | Shannon Delawsky

Journal: Academic Research International
ISSN 2223-9944

Volume: 4;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 560;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Project based learning | student | engagement

The purpose of this study was to determine how Project-based Learning (PBL) influenced students’ behavioural, cognitive, and emotional engagement in a secondary Chemistry class. Most previous research studies refer to behavioural engagement when speaking of student engagement. This research was an attempt to distinguish between the various types of engagement and the use of different teaching pedagogies. This study compared twenty-five students’ behavioural, cognitive, and emotional engagement during two different chemistry units: one using PBL and the other without PBL. Levels of engagement were determined using checklists, surveys,attendance records, and test results from both units. Two of three instruments indicated a slight decrease in behavioural engagement during the PBL unit as compared with the non-PBL unit. Results were inconclusive in displaying an effect of PBL on cognitive engagement. Three instruments all showed different cognitive effects produced by using PBL. Emotional engagement remained high during both units. There was no indication that the use of PBL affected students’ emotional engagement. Recommendations are provided for both classroom teachers and school departments to improve PBL teaching pedagogy and complete future research as PBL becomes more widely used in our schools. Suggestions are also made to consider different types of engagement and not solely behavioural engagement whenreflecting upon student engagement levels.
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