Date of Award



© 2021 Amanda Romey

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Ella Benson

Second Advisor

Michelle Collay

Third Advisor

Pete Hall


Student engagement, including behavior, academic, cognitive, and social/emotional engagement is a complex multidimensional element of students’ overall well-being and success in school. As dropout rates continue to increase along with students feeling disenfranchised from the current educational system, there is a deep need to improve students’ experience in school by having them engaged in their learning. The purpose of this qualitative study is to identify the influence, if any, of concept-based curriculum and instruction on student academic engagement. This study examined the multiple elements of student academic engagement by addressing the concept-based learning construct, and student ownership of their learning and inquiry while simultaneously unpacking the connection between these elements of learning and brain-based learning.

The research was conducted through one-on-one semi-structured interviews with a global network of international teachers who provided feedback from a variety of school settings and geographical locations on student engagement and concept-based instructional practices. The findings of the study uncovered the following six emerging themes, student-ownership of their learning, student choice, inquiry, positive relationships and rapport, monitoring student learning, and assessment practices. The recommendations for action in the study include providing training for teachers and administrators on how the brain learns new information and instructional strategies to support how the brain learns, balancing content and standards coverage with meaningful learning experiences, and allowing teachers the needed time to build strong relationships and rapport with their students.


Ed.D. Dissertation