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Aloha teachers: teacher autonomy support promotes Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students’ motivation, school belonging, course-taking and math achievement


Among 110 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, teacher autonomy support in 9th grade significantly predicted intrinsic motivation for math in 9th grade as well as math course-taking over the next 2 years, both of which in turn significantly predicted math achievement by 11th grade. In a second model, teacher autonomy support was positively associated with sense of school belonging; however, school belonging did not predict math achievement. Because of the Hawaiian cultural concept of Aloha and the effect of teacher autonomy support on intrinsic motivation, school belonging, math course-taking, and math achievement, researchers may wish to develop interventions for Hawaiian students that focus on elevating intrinsic motivation and belonging via increasing teacher autonomy support. Because Native Hawaiians and most other Pacific Islanders are involuntary minorities, this research may have implications for other involuntary minorities across the world, such as the Buraku in Japan, and the Maori people of New Zealand.

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Froiland, J.M., Davison, M.L. & Worrell, F.C. Aloha teachers: teacher autonomy support promotes Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students’ motivation, school belonging, course-taking and math achievement. Soc Psychol Educ 19, 879–894 (2016).

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  • Interest
  • Adolescence
  • Hawaii
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Achievement
  • High school students
  • Teachers
  • School belonging
  • Autonomy support
  • Involuntary minorities