The social context as a determinant of teacher motivational strategies in physical education

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Objectives:The purpose of the study was to provide an in-depth analysis of how the Physical Education (PE) teaching context influences teachers’ motivational strategies towards students.Design:Qualitative semi-structured interviewsMethods:Using Self-determination theory (Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). Psychological Enquiry, 11, 227-268) as a guiding framework, semi-structured interviews of 22 PE teachers were examined using categorical content analysis.Results:The teachers perceived that an emphasis on student assessment and the time constraints associated with PE lessons often compelled them to use teaching strategies which conflicted with their beliefs about the most appropriate ways to motivate students. The teachers’ own performance evaluations and pressure to conform to other teachers’ methods also influenced the teachers’ motivational strategies, but these influences were often congruent with their teaching beliefs. Additionally, the teachers discussed how perceived cultural norms associated with the teacher-student relationship impacted upon their chosen motivational strategies. These cultural norms were reported by different teachers as either in line, or in conflict with their teaching beliefs. Finally, the influence of the teachers’ perceptions of their students helped produce strategies that were congruent with their beliefs, but often different to empirically suggested strategies.Conclusions:It is important that teacher beliefs are targeted in education programs and that the teaching context aid in facilitating adaptive motivational strategies.

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