TME(2022) Vol 3, No. 2, pp 133-153

The Effect of Constructivist Instruction on Learning Engagement in Mathematics Lessons: A Flow Theory Perspective

Ngan Hoe LEE, Zi Yang WONG, June LEE, and Lu Pien CHENG

National Institute of Education
Nanyang Technological University

Published in The Mathematician Educator, 2022, Vol 3, No. 2, pp 133-153.


The aim of this study is to examine the effect of constructivist instruction on secondary school students’ learning engagement, measured as the psychological state of flow, in mathematics lessons. Ninth grade students (n = 144) from two Singapore secondary schools were assigned to receive either constructivist or traditional direct instruction for the learning of a unit on angle properties of circles. Mixed analyses of variance revealed that students who received constructivist instruction reported higher levels of engagement compared to their direct instruction counterparts. In addition, the results showed that students’ learning engagement decreased over the course of the instructional unit, and that constructivist instruction could potentially offset this negative trend. Overall, the findings suggest that instruction that is founded on constructivist principles may be promising in mitigating engagement issues, thus promoting the joy of learning mathematics among secondary school students.

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