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Instructors´ motivation for teaching predicts teaching style

In a recent mixed-method study by Maï Yasué, Lucas M. Jeno, and Jody L. Langdon published in the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, it was found that instructors that experienced freedom to make pedagogical decisions reported less extrinsic motivation for teaching. Further, extrinsic motivation for teaching was in turn related to a more controlling teaching style (i.e., use coercive language, rely on rewards and punishment). In contrast, self-determined motivation for teaching was related to a more autonomy-supportive teaching style (i.e., provide meaningful explanations, explain class policies, frame class material to students´ personal goals), and less extrinsic motivation for teaching. Text analyses revealed that large class sizes, high teaching loads along with publication pressure, and cultures that under evaluate effective teaching undermine instructors´ sense of autonomy and student learning.



We extended the research on autonomy-supportive teaching to universities and examined the relationships between autonomous motivation to teach and autonomy-supportive teaching. Autonomously motivated university instructors were more autonomy-supportive instructors. The freedom to make pedagogical decisions was negatively correlated with external motivation towards teaching. Participants indicated that large class sizes, high teaching loads, publication pressures, and a culture that undervalues effective undergraduate teaching undermined both student learning and their feelings of autonomy. Together these results presents a picture of a subset of university instructors who remained autonomously motivated to teach, irrespective of barriers they experienced from university administrators or policies.

Keywords: Self-Determination Theory, Intrinsic Motivation, Undergraduate, Mixed-methods.


Reference and link to the article

Yasué, M., Jeno, L. M., and Langdon, J. L. (2019). Are Autonomously Motivated University Instructors More Autonomy-Supportive Teachers? IJ-SoTL, Vol. 13 [2019], No. 2, Art. 2


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