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  • Publication
    Student Engagement & Social Disadvantage: The Importance of Supportive Relationships
    (University College Dublin. School of Education, 2022)
    This thesis examines the impact of social disadvantage on student engagement with respect to supportive relationships. Social disadvantage is when it is challenging for people to access resources due to physical, psychological, social or economic barriers. Student engagement is the active participation of students in academic tasks, involving a combination of cognitive, emotional, and behavioural functioning. The first paper of this thesis, a narrative systematic literature review, examines the impact of socioeconomic disadvantage on schoolwork engagement in adolescence. The second paper, an empirical journal article, investigates the impact of social disadvantage on school engagement in children and explores the role of supportive relationships with parents, teachers and peers within this context. In the empirical journal article I used structural equation modelling with data from the Children School Lives study (a large, national representative sample of primary school children). Results suggest that social disadvantage has both positive and negative impacts on school engagement and that student-teacher relationships predicts all types of school engagement. The findings identify opportunities for practitioners to offer interventions within the educational domain to increase levels of school engagement in children. Limitations and implications of both papers are discussed.
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