PHD Nurturing cognitive talent: Understanding the role of classroom social experiences in high-ability students’ academic engagement

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 12 May 2021

High-ability students have been found to show lower levels of learning goal orientation and intrinsic motivation for learning (e.g., Lavrijsen, Preckel, Verachtert, Vansteenkiste, & Verschueren, 2020; Ramos, De Fraine, & Verschueren, 2021). This is surprising, given that their higher academic skills are assumed to be conducive to more favorable motivational and educational outcomes.

This project aims to shed light on how classroom social and learning experiences (i.e., peer norms, teacher-student interactions, teacher emotions, and cognitively challenging learning tasks) shape high-ability students’ academic motivation and engagement. Integrating giftedness models with general expectancy/control-value models, effects on students’ value and competence beliefs and academic emotions (i.e., boredom) will be investigated. This project combines data for the large-scale longitudinal Talent study in secondary school (N = 3,409 students in 166 classrooms in 27 schools), with an experience sampling method (ESM) study in real-life classrooms. 

Social and motivational processes among students with different cognitive ability levels will be compared. The PhD-student will lead the data-collection in the ESM-study. About 30 Grade 11 classes from the Talent study will be selected to participate. Classroom engagement will be assessed in situ using mobile phones and will be related to situational variations in the social classroom environment (i.e., perceived teacher support/conflict, teacher engagement, perceived peer engagement) and learning task characteristics (i.e., degree of cognitive challenge).

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