Conditions and effects of teachers’ motivation: Perspectives on self-determination theory  

Müller F. H., Hanfstingl B., Andreitz I.
First author's affiliation: University of Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria

The theoretical basis of the study is a multidimensional perspective of motivation, the so-called self-determination theory (SDT) of Deci and Ryan (2002). The theory proposes that perceived support of basic psychological needs (support of autonomy, support of competence, and social relatedness) are associated with intrinsic motivation or self-determined forms of extrinsic motivation. Accordingly, SDT proposes taxonomy of types of regulation for extrinsic motivation that differ in the degree to which they represent self-determination (continuum of regulation from controlled to autonomous, from amotivated to intrinsically motivated). Following this theoretical approach and taking the study of Pelletier and his colleagues (2002) into account the following research questions for our study can be formulated: (1) If teachers perceive their working conditions as supportive and feel free from pressure, will they be highly motivated (self-determined) and will they create supportive learning environments for their students?(2) If students’ basic needs in the classroom are satisfied, will they perceive themselves as self-determined?(3) Do self-determined students show more interest, a higher content-related self-concept, and less fear in classroom? The study was performed in mathematics and science classes. The sample includes about 1400 students and 60 teachers from Austrian secondary schools. The results of a structural equation model show that perceived pressure/support from the school system as well as from the single school is directly and indirectly associated with teachers’ self-determination, classroom instruction and students self-determined learning motivation. The study seeks to make both a theoretical and practical contribution.