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Session Overview
PAP-03: Self-Determined Teaching
Time: Tuesday, 28/Aug/2012: 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Session Chair: Bodil Stokke Olaussen, University of Oslo
Location: 311


Teachers' motivational orientations and instructional behaviors: The moderating role of the school context

Doris Förster, Anja Philipp, Mareike Kunter

Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

In the present study we examine the relationship between teachers’ motivational orientations and their instructional behavior under a contextual perspective. According to the self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) contexts that support people’s psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness foster beneficial motivational orientations which in turn lead to effective behaviors. In addition to a direct relationship between contextual variables and teachers’ motivational orientations, indirect relations are also likely. Following a person-context interaction approach, the role of the context is not generic but may be dependent on individual characteristics. Therefore, the interaction between teachers’ motivational orientations and their school context might be decisive for teachers’ instructional behavior. We hypothesize that motivational orientations are positively related to instructional behavior only when the school context fits teachers’ needs. In a cross-sectional questionnaire study, 155 teachers rated their self-efficacy and enthusiasm and to what degree their school contexts supported their basic needs. As indicators of teachers’ instructional behavior students rated the quality of the teacher-student relationship. Bivariate correlation analyses between teachers’ need support, their motivational orientations and the teacher-student relationship show small or non-significant positive correlations. Moderated regression analyses, however, yielded significant interactions between the perceived need support and motivational orientations. Teachers who feel supported by the school context and at the same time have high self-efficacy beliefs or high enthusiasm show positive teacher-student relationships. Teachers with high motivation but with a negative perception of the school context interact less positively with their students. The educational significance of the findings will be discussed.

Teachers’ intrinsic motivation and basic psychological need satisfaction: the influence of transformational leadership and participative decision making

Andrea Klaeijsen, Marjan Vermeulen, Rob Martens

Open University, Netherlands, The

Within the Self Determination Theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985), three basic psychological needs are considered to be essential to all people in all stages of life. Environments that support these three basic needs – the need for competence, for autonomy and for relatedness – stimulate intrinsic motivation for an activity.

Research based on SDT has been done in several domains, including in the context of education and of work. However, relatively little is known about the degree in which teachers consider the environment they’re working in to support their basic psychological needs and about how this effects their intrinsic motivation for their profession.

In this paper we present the results of a quantitative study in which two aspects of the working environment of teachers were taken into account: transformational leadership and participative decision making. The aim of this study was to gain more insight in the way transformational leadership and participative decision making influence the fulfillment of the basic psychological needs and the intrinsic motivation teachers experience in their job. In the Netherlands 2385 teachers have successfully completed an online questionnaire, partly based on SDT instruments.

Based on a first analysis of the results, it seems that this study confirms that basic need satisfaction contributes to intrinsic motivation. It also appears that transformational leadership and participative decision making each relate to the three basic psychological needs. Further analysis is necessary to find any significant interactions between the scales used in this study.

Teachers' motivation style: A possible transmission to their students?

Bodil Stokke Olaussen

University of Oslo, Norway

The aim of this study was to explore if students taught by autonomy-supportive teachers, were more supportive in dialogs with their peers during group work, than students taught by a controlling teacher. The study is based on self-determination theory.

This study is part of a larger classroom research project designed as a multiple case study with embedded units of analysis (Yin, 2009). It is a qualitative, video-based observational study conducted in seven classrooms in the early grades. The classroom teachers are defined as the cases and the students’ dialogs during group work as embedded units of analyses. Two contrastive cases, one autonomy-supportive and one controlling teacher, were selected for in depth analysis of their students’ dialogs. The soft-ware Videograph (Rimmele, 2002) and transcriptions of students’ communication were used in the analyses of five randomly selected group work dialogs in each context. Replication was used to strengthen external validity.

The results show that only 15 % of the coded time between students in the controlling context is characterized as autonomy-supportive. In contrast, 39 % of the students’ communication during group work in the supportive classroom context is characterized as supporting autonomy. The trends in these results are replicated using two other contrastive cases.

To conclude, it seems as the students are modeling their teachers’ motivation style. To understand a possible transmission from teacher-student to student –student support is important for capturing what really fosters a supportive dialectic classroom context for motivation and learning. Further replication of these results is needed.

Effects of Teachers’ Autonomy Support on Early Adolescents Motivation: A Review of the Literature

Kim Stroet, Marie-Christine Opdenakker, Alexander Minnaert

University of Groningen, Netherlands, The

In the current review we analyze the corpus of research on the relationship of teachers’ autonomy support with early adolescent students’ motivation and engagement. We focus our paper on the period just after the transition towards secondary education, because this is known to be a period in which for many students motivation for school declines. We investigate to what extent the theoretical claim that teachers’ autonomy support is especially important in this period, is supported by empirical evidence. Based on a systematic search of the literature we selected 12 empirical studies that were conducted since 1990. The results unambiguously indicate a positive association between teachers’ general level of autonomy support and students’ motivation and engagement. Evidence concerning the importance of specific dimensions of teachers’ autonomy support is, however, not as conclusive. Specifically, evidence concerning the association between teachers offering choice versus being controlling is mixed, whereas studies concerning the dimensions of fostering relevance versus forcing meaningless activities and showing respect versus disrespect are scarce. In conclusion, the results are promising in showing a positive association of teachers’ autonomy support with students’ motivation and engagement. Further research remains necessary however.

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