To determine how secondary, Math I teachers understand student engagement in the classroom setting by exploring their lived experiences, the researcher utilized a constructivist paradigm to frame the phenomenological multiple case studies of one
southwestern North Carolina school district. The intent of the researcher was to describe the understanding of the phenomenon of classroom engagement from the perspectives of high school Math 1 teachers. The researcher engaged in conversations with a purpose
which is characterized by Burgess (1984) as a conversational dialogue that is achieved through active engagement by the interviewer and interviewee around a relevant issue.
Research regarding engagement began in the early 1980’s. The topic of engagement has become increasingly popular in education and psychological research due to its emphasis on explaining student behaviors (van Uden, Ritzen, & Pieters, 2013). Multiple definitions and variables within the research have emerged in attempts to articulate a single definition of classroom engagement (Azevado, 2015). Yet, a widely agreed upon definition and measurement of engagement still does not exist.
The findings presented emphasize participants’ understanding of the importance of Cooper’s (2011) Classroom Engagement Framework’s “Connective Teaching” as the foundational point of entry to engaging students within the Math 1 classroom setting.
Furthermore, the findings present the unique challenges faced by Math 1 teachers as they teach primarily freshmen who need to learn content as well as skills for success within the Math 1 classroom and in high school.