Comparing Teachers’ and Students’ Perspectives of Student Engagement in Higher Education: Between Performativity and Invisibility

  •  Paulo Padilla-Petry    
  •  Sara Pérez-Hernando    
  •  Julio Rodríguez-Rodríguez    
  •  Cristina Vidal-Martí    


Student engagement in higher education has been studied from various perspectives, but few studies have compared teachers’ and students’ perspectives on the subject. Considering that student engagement may be reduced to a performativity scarcely related to learning outcomes and that a good deal of it may be invisible to teachers, further studies are needed to contrast teachers’ and students’ views of student engagement in higher education. This article presents the results of a quantitative study about definitions and indicators of student engagement carried out with 118 students and 45 teachers of Law, Education and Nursing from two Catalan public universities (Spain). The results confirm the performativity associated with the concept by both teachers and students, and reveal that students may appreciate silent and invisible engagement more than teachers. The results also show that teachers may conflate signs of student engagement with good academic results and learning, risking an oversimplification of both student engagement and learning.

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