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Session Overview
SYM-11: Further Explorations into the Antecedents and Structure of Controlled and Autonomous Student Motivations
Time: Wednesday, 29/Aug/2012: 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Session Chair: Kenneth Whaley, Mercer University
Discussant: Hyungshim Jang, Hanyang University
Organizer: Avi Assor, Ben Gurion University
Organizer: Haya Kaplan, Kaye Academic College of Education
Location: 251

Session Abstract

Self-determination theory (SDT, Ryan & Deci, 2009) posits that there are different types of student motivation which can be ordered along a continuum extending from highly controlling to highly autonomous motivation, and that autonomous motivation is promoted by practices termed autonomy-supportive. However, there are still important issues to be explored. For example: (1) Do autonomy-supportive educator- and parent- practices promote student motivation in non-academic domains also in hierarchical-collectivist cultures? (2) How do parents' responses to different siblings relate to the development of internally controlling student motivation? (3) How is each type of academic motivation posited by SDT organized across different school-subjects? Researchers from Switzerland, Israel, and South Korea will describe and discuss research pertaining to the above three questions. Study 1 shows that autonomy supportive practices promote autonomous motivation to enact pro-environmental behaviors (PEB) and consequent PEB, also among Bedouin students belonging to a hierarchical-collectivist society. Study 2 suggests that parents’ may foster internally controlling academic motivation and consequent maladaptive self-evaluative dynamics in their children not only by directly linking their regard to their children’s achievements, but also indirectly by showing too much admiration for siblings' academic achievements. Study 3 tests the structure of students’ academic self-determined motivation across different school-subjects, finding that the more autonomous motivations have a more complex and less global cross school-subject structure than controlled motivation. Together, this body of research further extends our understanding of the nature and structure of students' motivation, and uncovers some little-explored possible antecedents and consequences of these motivations.


What Will Promote Pro-Environmental Behaviors Among Bedouin Students? A Self Determination Theory Perspective

Haya Kaplan1, Nir Madjar2

1Kaye Academic College of Education, Israel; 2Monash University, Australia

Promoting pro-environmental behaviors (PEB) among students is a major concern for educators. The major aim of the study was to test a model based on Self-Determination Theory (SDT), according to which, supporting students' autonomy with regard to the internalization and enactment of PEB is associated with autonomous motivation to enact PER, which in turn leads to PEB (activism and recycling behaviors, cleaning behaviors and conserving behaviors). 102 Bedouin-Israeli high school students, who participated in a large-scale intervention program, completed questionnaires assessing perceptions regarding project moderators’ and parents’ autonomy support and autonomy suppression, autonomous motivation, self-perceived competence and relatedness, and PEB. Results supported the hypothesized model suggesting mediation effect for autonomous motivation. The study suggests that SDT can serve as a framework for educational programs aimed at improving students’ self-determined PEB also in fairly hierarchical and collectivist societies. Implications, limitations and future direction will be discussed.

From Dyads to Triads: Mothers' Valuation of Sibling's Academic Achievements and Direct Conditional Regard as Predictors of Introjected Academic Motivation

Marina Shapira, Ohad Ezran, Pazit Gabay, Dotan Shapira, Avi Assor

Ben Gurion University, Israel

Past research has shown that the academic socializing practice of parental conditional positive regard (PCPR) is associated with a stressful type of academic motivation termed introjected motivation and a fragile sense of self worth, vacillating between self aggrandizement following success and self-devaluation following failure. The present study examined the hypothesis that mothers promote introjected motivation, and consequent self-aggrandizement and self-devaluation, also via a less direct process involving parents' valuation of others' academic achievements. It was further hypothesized that valuation of others' achievements may have a particularly strong and unique negative impact on offspring when it focuses on their sibling. Results from two studies with college students (Total n = 258) supported the hypotheses. Importantly, SEM and mediation analyses showed that both mothers' PCPR and their valuation of a sibling's achievements predict introjected academic motivation, which then predicts self-aggrandizement and self-devaluation. The studies suggest that parents' may foster stressful academic motivation and a maladaptive self-evaluative dynamics in offspring not only by directly linking their regard to their children academic achievements, but also by an indirect process of openly valuing siblings' academic achievements. If this pattern is replicated in future studies, it appears that parents' may do well not only to minimize the use of direct conditional positive regard but also to be less demonstrative in their valuation of siblings' achievements. More generally, the findings highlight the potential contribution of research extending the study of controlling and autonomy supportive processes beyond dyads to more complex relational systems such as families.

The Structure of Academic Self-Determined Motivation

Julien Chanal, Frédéric Guay

University of Geneva, Switzerland

Many studies show that autonomous and controlled forms of motivation lead (respectively) to adaptive or maladaptive outcomes in the school domain (e.g., Guay, Ratelle, & Chanal, 2008) depending on the level of self-determination. Most extant studies focusing on the academic domain have considered both autonomous and controlled forms of motivation either at a global level (i.e., academic) or at a specific level (i.e., a school subject like math or science). However, more recent studies have examined motivation toward clusters of specific school subjects instead of only one subject (e.g., Guay, Chanal, Ratelle, Marsh, Larose, & Boivin, 2010). This new approach addresses the question of the structure of academic self-determined motivation in ways similar to those already employed in past investigations of the structure of academic self-concept (e.g., Marsh, Byrne, & Shavelson, 1988). The problem of the structure of self-determined motivation is particularly interesting in view of results from Guay et al. (2010) showing that students differentiate between autonomous and controlled forms of motivation in some school subjects more than in others. This paper examines the hierarchical structure of self-determined motivations in four subjects among 252 fourth-grade students. Results suggest that the more autonomous motivations (identified and intrinsic) have a more complex structure. The more complex and less global organization of the autonomous motivations (relative to controlled motivation) is consistent with the SDT view that more autonomous motivations are associated with less stereotypic and more complex processing of information (e.g., Hodgins & Knee, 2002).

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