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Enhancing Students' Engagement by Increasing Teachers' Autonomy Support

Abstract

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.

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Reeve, J., Jang, H., Carrell, D. et al. Enhancing Students' Engagement by Increasing Teachers' Autonomy Support. Motivation and Emotion 28, 147–169 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:MOEM.0000032312.95499.6f

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/B:MOEM.0000032312.95499.6f

  • autonomy
  • autonomy support
  • engagement
  • high school teachers
  • self-determination