Literacy blocks: student engagement in grade 7 and 8 classrooms

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Hill, Carol J. A.
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This case study of two combined grade 7 and 8 classrooms investigated the qualities of student engagement during a modified Four Blocks (Cunningham, Hall & Defee, 1998) literacy blocks intervention. The teachers’ experiences with implementing and engaging their students in literacy blocks were also examined. Qualities of student engagement were described across four domains: affective, behavioural, cognitive and social. Participant interviews, professional development meetings and classroom observations were analyzed to describe instructional context and teacher experiences during the implementation of literacy blocks. Teacher involvement and opportunities for choice seemed to positively impact student engagement. Findings suggest that student engagement may be increased through the effective use of collaborative learning strategies and the explicit teaching of strategies and skills leading to the gradual release of responsibility. Data provided insight into the teacher experiences of implementing literacy blocks and suggests that further research into teacher professional development to support implementation is needed.
literacy blocks, student engagement