Beyond Classroom Academics: A School-Wide and Multi-Contextual Perspective on Student Engagement in School

School engagement researchers have historically focused on academic engagement or academic-related activities. Although academic engagement is vital to adolescents’ educational success, school is a complex developmental context in which adolescents also engage in social interactions while exploring their interests and developing competencies. In this article, school engagement is re-conceptualized as a multi-contextual construct that includes both academic and social contexts of school. The authors begin by describing how the characteristics of these contexts provide the opportunities and resources for adolescents to engage in academic learning and social interactions throughout school. Motivational theories are then used as an operational framework for understanding how adolescents become engaged in school, which is followed by a discussion about how adolescents’ academic and social engagement interact to shape their academic achievement. The article concludes with implications for practice and future research.

Wang, M. T., & Hofkens, T. L. (2019). Beyond classroom academics: A school-wide and multi-contextual perspective on student engagement in school. Adolescent Research Review, 1, 1-15.