Autonomous Motivation in University Instructors: What Drives Our Choice to Be Autonomy Supportive

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Paper presented at the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education (NAKHE) Conference.

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Work environments that foster basic psychological needs satisfaction of school teachers lead to teachers who feel more autonomous in their jobs. Furthermore, teachers who feel more autonomously motivated tend to also, in turn, be more autonomy-supportive to students. However, this work has not extended into post-secondary education. Given the importance of autonomous motivation amongst students for academic engagement and performance it is critical to better understand the contextual factors that engender autonomy-supportive teachers. Here we assessed how work-place basic psychological needs satisfaction influenced autonomy-supportive teaching at the post-secondary level. Similar to results in schools, our study found that teachers who were more autonomously motivated to teach tended to also be more autonomy-supportive and less controlling instructors. However in contrast to expectation, in general, basic psychological needs satisfaction did not lead to more autonomously-motivated instructors. Instead only one component of basic psychological needs satisfaction at work (autonomy with respect to pedagogical decisions) was negatively correlated to control motivation in teaching. Further data analysis is pending.


National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education Conference (NAKHE)


Savannah, GA

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