Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 251–269

Enhancing autonomy-supportive I–Thou dialogue in schools: conceptualization and socio-emotional effects of an intervention program


DOI: 10.1007/s11218-012-9178-2

Cite this article as:
Kaplan, H. & Assor, A. Soc Psychol Educ (2012) 15: 251. doi:10.1007/s11218-012-9178-2


We present a conceptualization and a 2 year program of autonomy-supportive I–Thou dialogue among teachers and students that is based on self-determination theory (Deci and Ryan in Psychol Inq 11(4):227–268, 2000) and Buber’s (1960) philosophy. The program was applied in 18 seventh grade classes (420 students). Findings showed: (a) increases in positive emotions and in perceptions of teachers as conducting more dialogue on the relevance of studies to students’ lives, and (b) decreases in negative emotions and in classroom violence. The findings highlight the importance of autonomy-supportive I–Thou dialogue and suggest that such dialogue might help adolescents to experience studying and school as more pleasant and secure.


Autonomy supportI–Thou dialogueIntervention programSchool violenceStudents’ feelingsChoiceRelevance

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kaye Academic College of EducationBeer-shevaIsrael
  2. 2.Ben Gurion University of the NegevBeer-shevaIsrael