The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Positive Interactions and Supportive Learning Environments: Keys to Enhanced Student Engagement

Arnfrid Farbu Pinto, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway)

Duarte Nuno Farbu Pinto, Nord Universitet (Norway)

Odd Morten Mjøen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway)

Nina Petersen Reed, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway)


This project, based on alarming statistics about mental health among young people and students from both national and international studies, aims to investigate how a supportive learning environment can improve the mental well-being and quality of life for students facing challenges. We aim to examine how social rituals and interactions affect student engagement and well-being in the university context, primarily through the lens of Randall Collins’ interaction ritual theory. Furthermore, we aim to integrate concepts from Carl Rogers’ theory of personal development, focusing on his perspectives on the social aspects of learning, to enhance our understanding of factors contributing to student well-being. In this study, we base our research on the premise that students who are doing well tend to be more engaged, and conversely, those who are engaged often experience better well-being. Drawing on narratives from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), as part of the “In My Experience” project, this study focuses on student narratives that describe the teacher’s role in facilitating well-being. Based on a small number of informants, we have conducted a preliminary study that will lay the groundwork for a more comprehensive study in the future. The preliminary findings suggest that social rituals, cultivated within the learning environment, can act as catalysts for fostering strong bonds and a sense of community among students. These rituals, reflecting Collins' framework, appear to have a notable impact on students' well-being, although these conclusions are still tentative. Furthermore, the initial results indicate that these rituals could contribute to identity development, which seems to resonate with Rogers' views on learning as social processes. These early outcomes hint at the possibility that focusing on interaction rituals in university strategies could promote student engagement and play a key role in supporting students' overall well-being. 

KeywordsStudent Engagement, Social Rituals, Interaction Dynamics, Personal Development


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