Capstone/Dissertation Title

Exploring autonomy, belongingness and goal orientation in an urban school

Term

2009

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAT

Abstract

The question investigated in this study is, how do students in an urban school describe their academic experience in terms of autonomy, belongingness and goal orientation and how do these influence their level of engagement and overall hope? The author explores the concepts of autonomy, belongingness and goal orientation as described by leading educational researchers and examines how these areas affect engagement and hope for a sample of students in an urban school. Findings include significant correlations between support (both teacher and peer) and engagement, as well as between teacher support and dispositional hope. In addition, T-tests for equality of means reveal gender differences for emotional engagement and disaffection for learning. The author reflects on the implications of this study for educational settings, including her individual classroom.

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