New Insights on Student Engagement: The Roles of Motivation, Emotion and Well-being. Symposium presented at the European Association for Learning and Instruction, Tampere, Finland, August 29th – September 2nd, 2017.

In this symposium we presented a lively collection of papers from Ireland, the United States and Finland with the aim of explicating how student engagement links to motivation, emotion and well-being. First, we launched a novel model of student engagement: focusing on how situational engagement operates within individuals in real time and drawing on the research from neuroscience, cognitive psychology and social developmental psychology. We then presented new evidence on the role that anxiety plays when students are in a state of optimal engagement, referring to data gathered using experience sampling. We also discussed the types of emotions that students perceive in classroom and school recess settings, when they are given pictorial vignettes of ambiguous behaviours. Finally, we examined how enhancing emotional regulation and attachment impacts students’ social, emotional, and academic development, in a quasi-experimental setting. Together these papers provided fresh insights into how educators can prospectively enhance student engagement by attending to students’ motivation, positive emotion and well-being.  

Chair: Jennifer Symonds, University College Dublin
Discussant: Janne Pietarinen, University of Eastern Finland

Jennifer Symonds, University College Dublin
Seaneen Sloan, University College Dublin
Henrika Anttila, University of Eastern Finland
Julia Moeller, Yale University


  • Symonds, Jennifer; Upadyaya, Katja; Torsney, Benjamin; Salmela-Aro, Katariina (2017). Student engagement as a dynamic biopsychosocial process: implications for measurement and intervention
  • Moeller, Julia; Ivcevic, Zorana; Brackett, Marc & White, Arielle (2017). States of flow and situational engagement: not beyond anxiety, but right at the heart of it
  • Anttila, Henrika; Pyhältö, Kirsi; Soini, Tiina & Pietarinen, Janne (2017). Sixth and eighth graders’ socially embedded emotions in formal and informal school situations
  • Sloan, Seaneen; Winter, Karen; Lynn, Fiona; Gildea, Aideen & Connolly, Paul (2017). Early intervention for pupils at risk of underachievement and educational disengagement: evaluation of nurture groups in Northern Ireland