Engaged Origins in the Classroom:

The Facilitating Role of Autonomy-Supportive Teachers

Date: 15 February 2011
Time: 2.30pm to 5.30pm
Venue: NIE, LT2

Conducted by:
Professor Johnmarshall Reeve
Korea University
South Korea

Associate Professor Hyungshim Jang
Inha University
South Korea


Jointly organized by:
Motivation in Educational Research Lab
Office of Graduate Studies & Professional Learning, NIE

Course Introduction:

When engaged origins manifest in the classroom, students tend to be proactive in their own learning and discovery. This seminar focuses on helping teachers encourage and nurture their students' natural motivation, by elucidating the links between engaged origins in the classroom and the facilitative role of being autonomously supportive.

Course Content:

The seminar begins by defining and highlighting the interrelations among several key motivational constructs, including student autonomy, student engagement, and teachers’ motivating styles. We summarize several recent classroom-based, longitudinal research studies to document the classroom relevance of these constructs. This first part of the seminar relies heavily on the self-determination theory of motivation and focuses on students, and on their motivation, engagement, and positive functioning in particular.

The second part of the seminar will focus on teachers, and on their motivating style during instruction in particular. Motivating style represents the interpersonal sentiment and behavior teachers enact during instruction to enhance students’ motivation and engagement. It exists on a bipolar continuum that ranges from a highly controlling to a highly autonomy-supportive style. We will review and organize the now-large literature on the benefits of a teacher’s autonomy-supportive style and the costs of a controlling style. This second part concludes with a discussion on why teachers’ naturally-occurring motivating styles tend to be autonomy-supportive, neutral, or controlling.

The third part of the seminar introduces the implementation of autonomy-supportive training intervention programs designed to help teachers become more autonomy-supportive toward students. We review empirical research showing that these teacher training programs are effective, and we identify the conditions under which these interventions have been most successful. Most importantly, we introduce the following seven empirically-validated autonomy-supportive acts of instructions: taking and monitoring the students’ perspective; nurturing inner motivational resources; providing explanatory rationales; using informational language; displaying patience to allow time for self-paced learning to occur; monitoring and acting on students’ engagement signals; and acknowledging and accepting students’ expressions of negative affect and resistance. The third part of the seminar affirms two empirically-based truisms—namely that (1) teachers can learn how to be more autonomy supportive and (2) teachers learn such skill in varying degrees of expertise. That is, practically all teachers who participate in autonomy-supportive intervention training programs learn how to become less controlling and how to promote students’ autonomous extrinsic motivation. Relatively few teachers, however, learn the advanced skill of how to promote psychological need satisfaction and intrinsic motivation in their students. Recognizing this, we devote special attention to the effort to help teachers learn such advanced skill, which is the emphasis of the final part of the seminar.

The fourth part of the seminar adds an interactive, workshop-like feature designed around the goal of helping teachers become significantly more autonomy supportive than they might already be. The goal is to help teachers fundamentally improve the way they motivate and engage students during classroom instruction to the point that it transforms the way they relate to students. The two-fold emphasis of the workshop experience will be on skill development and on solving a range of concerns and problems that work against supporting students’ autonomy. Specifically, experience has taught us that teachers benefit particularly well when we (1) offer extended examples, modeling, and scaffolding of the “how to” that underlies the instructional effort to nurture students’ inner motivational resources and (2) make clear that the provision of autonomy support and the provision of structure are complementary aspects of a teacher’s motivating style to the point that teachers provide not autonomy support or structure but, rather, autonomy support and structure.

Course Fee:

All participants - S$150.00 (incl. of 7% GST)


About the Trainers

Johnmarshall Reeve is a WCU Professor in the Department of Education at Korea University, Seoul, South Korea. He received his PhD from Texas Christian University and completed postdoctoral work at the University of Rochester. Professor Reeve’s research interests center on the empirical study of all aspects of human motivation and emotion, though he particularly emphasize student motivation, student engagement, and teachers’ motivating styles. He has published 50 journal articles and book chapters in outlets such as the Journal of Educational Psychology and 3 books including Understanding Motivation and Emotion. He sits on two editorial boards and serves as the Associate Editor for Motivation and Emotion.

Hyungshim Jang is an Associate Professor at Inha University in South Korea. She has been an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, USA for the last 7 years. Professor Jang earned her PhD at the University of Iowa, USA. Professor Jang ’s research interests revolve around understanding motivational processes inherent in social contexts. She studies how teachers' motivating styles affect students' classroom functioning such as their intrinsic motivation, internalization, engagement, and achievement. She is currently investigating how teachers can motivate and engage students during relatively uninteresting lessons by providing both autonomy support and structure. She has published several articles in journals such as the Journal of Educational Psychology.



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