Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 147–169 | Cite as

Enhancing Students' Engagement by Increasing Teachers' Autonomy Support

  • Johnmarshall Reeve
  • Hyungshim Jang
  • Dan Carrell
  • Soohyun Jeon
  • Jon Barch


Engagement refers to the behavioral intensity and emotional quality of a person's active involvement during a task. Recognizing the benefits highly engaged people experience, we tested whether classroom teachers could incorporate the relatively foreign concept of autonomy support into their motivating styles as a way to promote their students' engagement during instruction. Teachers in an experimental group and teachers in a delayed-treatment control group received information and guidance consistent with self-determination theory on how to support students' autonomy. Over a series of 3 classroom observations, trained raters scored each teacher's autonomy support and 2 measures of their students' engagement–task involvement and influence attempts. Trained teachers displayed significantly more autonomy-supportive behaviors than did nontrained teachers. Further, the more teachers used autonomy support during instruction, the more engaged were their students. This was true on both measures of engagement.

autonomy autonomy support engagement high school teachers self-determination 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johnmarshall Reeve
    • 1
  • Hyungshim Jang
    • 2
  • Dan Carrell
    • 3
  • Soohyun Jeon
    • 1
  • Jon Barch
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IowaIowa City
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukee
  3. 3.American College TestingIowa City

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