Perceived Autonomy-Supportive Teaching, Academic Self-Perceptions and Engagement in Learning: Toward a Process Model of Academic Achievement

By Mih, Viorel; Mih, Codruta | Cognitie, Creier, Comportament, December 2013 | Go to article overview

Perceived Autonomy-Supportive Teaching, Academic Self-Perceptions and Engagement in Learning: Toward a Process Model of Academic Achievement


Mih, Viorel, Mih, Codruta, Cognitie, Creier, Comportament


ABSTRACT

Self-determination theory was used to determine the impact of perceived autonomy - supportive teaching and academic self-perception on engagement in learning and school performance of 174 10th graders. Multilevel structural equation modeling tested the model in which teacher-provided autonomy support perception first nurtures students' academic self perception; the extent of self perception then predicts the extent of classroom engagement. Findings reveal that provision of autonomy support within classrooms predicted students' self-efficacy and academic self concept. The conceptualization of engagement includes behavioral (effort, task persistence) and emotional components. These components were assessed and their antecedents and consequences examined. Results indicated that behavioral engagement was grounded in expectancy for success and academic self efficacy and emotional engagement in academic self-concept, expectancy for success and academic self-efficacy. Both behavioral and emotional engagement facilitated academic performance. Implications for the achievement and adjustment of adolescents in school are discussed. The conceptual model and subsequent findings established in this study provide clues for further theoretical development and practical applications concerning the mediating mechanism between perceived autonomy-supportive teaching and academic performance.

KEYWORDS: autonomy support perception, academic self-perception, academic self-concept, school engagement

Understanding how particular aspects of the high-school environment perceptions relate to both adaptive patterns of academic self-perception and school adjustment of students has become an increasingly important topic in the field of educational psychology (Eccles, Wigfield, Midgley, Maehr, & Anderman, 1993; Midgley, 1993; Reuman, Maclver, Feldlaufer, & 1993; Roeser, Midgley, & Urdan, 1996; Urdan, Midgley, & Wood, 1995). For instance, there is evidence that perception of academic autonomy support and self perception increase during the early adolescent period (Eccles & Wigfield, 1995). In this study, we focus on how perceived autonomy-supportive teaching, adolescents' self-perceptions which are emphasized in their school (self-efficacy, expectancy for success and academic self-concept) and their school engagement affect academic performance during tenth grade. Research on the autonomy support suggests that students' sense of autonomy increases when teachers minimize coercion and interference, show understanding for students' perspective and feelings, provide a relevant rationale for the task, and offer choice by allowing students to participate in task and goal selection (Katz & Assor, 2007). Instead, close surveillance and frequent intrusions undermine feelings of autonomy (Assor, Kaplan, & Roth, 2002; Assor, Kaplan, Roth, & Kanat-Maymon, 2005). Support for autonomy can be manifested in the classroom in at least three ways: procedurally (encouraging student ownership of form, e.g., letting students select the media in which to present ideas), organizationally (encouraging student ownership of the environment - e.g., letting students select due dates for assignments), and cognitively (encouraging student ownership of learning, e.g., asking students to generate their own paths to a solution) (Stefanou, Perencevich, DiCinto, & Turner, 2004, as cited in, Katz & Assor, 2007).

A large corpus of empirical evidence based on self-determination theory (SDT) suggests that perceived autonomy-supportive teaching is conducive to engagement and optimal learning in educational contexts (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Reeve, 2012; Su & Reeve, 2011). Autonomy support is the interpersonal behavior one person provides to involve another person's intentions to act, such as when a teacher supports a student's psychological needs (e.g., autonomy, competence), self-efficacy, expectancy for success, school valuating and academic self-concept (Reeve & Jang, 2006). …

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