Volume 92, Issue 3 p. 1086-1108
Original Article

No aspect of structure should be left behind in relation to student autonomous motivation

Athanasios Mouratidis

Corresponding Author

Athanasios Mouratidis

School of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece

Correspondence should be addressed to Athanasios Mouratidis, School of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 17237, Dafni, Athens, Greece (email: [email protected]).

Contribution: Conceptualization (equal), Data curation (equal), Formal analysis (equal), ​Investigation (equal), Writing - original draft (equal), Writing - review & editing (equal)

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Aikaterini Michou

Aikaterini Michou

Graduate School of Education, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

Contribution: Conceptualization (equal), Data curation (equal), Formal analysis (equal), Writing - original draft (equal)

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Sibel Telli

Sibel Telli

Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Education Facult, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University (COMU), Turkey

Institute for Science Education and Communication (ISEC), University of Groningen, The Netherlands

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Ridwan Maulana

Ridwan Maulana

Department of Teacher Education, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Contribution: Funding acquisition (equal), Project administration (equal), Resources (equal), Writing - original draft (equal)

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Michelle Helms-Lorenz

Michelle Helms-Lorenz

Department of Teacher Education, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Contribution: Funding acquisition (equal), Project administration (equal), Resources (equal), Writing - original draft (equal)

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First published: 15 February 2022
Citations: 1

Abstract

Background

Provision of structure in classroom settings constitutes one of the pillars of conducive learning environments. However, little is known whether the particular elements of provided structure—namely, contingency, clear expectations, help and support, and monitoring—are equally important for student learning and motivation.

Aims

In this cross-sectional study, we aimed to investigate to what extent students’ autonomous motivation is linearly and curvilinearly related to their perceptions of their teachers’ contingency, clear expectations, help and support, and monitoring.

Sample

Participants were 12,036 Turkish adolescent students (age range: 15–19 years; 54.4% males) from 446 classes, nested into 24 public schools.

Methods

Cross-sectional, based on student ratings of their self-determined motivation and their teacher structure provision and autonomy support.

Results

Multilevel and ordinary least-squares polynomial regression analyses showed all the four perceived structure elements to predict autonomous motivation, with expectations and contingency (especially when coupled with monitoring) being even more important predictors than the other elements. Response surface analyses also showed strong positive relation between autonomous motivation and all the possible pairs of the four elements of perceived structure along the line of congruence, suggesting an additive effect when teachers are thought to be contingent and helpful and supportive (or monitor their students, or clearly communicate their expectations).

Conclusions

These findings imply the key role that teachers could play in enhancing their students’ autonomous motivation by providing all the elements of structure.

Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflict of interest.

Data availability statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author. The data are not publicly available due to privacy or ethical restrictions.