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The different faces of controlling teaching : implications of a distinction between externally and internally controlling teaching for students' motivation in physical education

Jotie De Meyer (UGent) , Bart Soenens (UGent) , Nathalie Aelterman (UGent) , Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij (UGent) and Leen Haerens (UGent)
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Abstract
Background: In Self-Determination Theory (SDT), a well-validated macro-theory on human motivation, a distinction is made between internally controlling teaching practices (e.g. guilt-induction and shaming) and externally controlling practices (e.g. threats and punishments, commands). While both practices are said to undermine students' motivation, they would do so through somewhat differential motivational processes. Unfortunately, the relevance of the conceptual distinction between internally and externally controlling strategies has not been examined systematically. In the context of sport and physical education (PE), most studies on controlling teaching have either measured controlling teaching in an undifferentiated way or have focused on one particular feature of controlling teaching. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to provide a more fine-grained picture on the differential de-motivational effects of internally and externally controlling teaching strategies in the domain of PE. Participants: A total of 925 students with an average age of 15.80 years (1.99) coming out of 92 classes taught by 22 different PE teachers participated in the present study. Data analysis: Data on perceived controlling teaching style and students' motivation were analyzed within a multilevel framework from both a variable-centered (regression analyses) and person-centered approach (cluster analyses). Results: We found evidence for a distinction between perceived internally and externally controlling teaching. Both teaching styles were strongly related to each other (r=.54). At the level of zero-order correlations, both internally and externally controlling teaching related negatively to students' intrinsic motivation and identified regulation and related positively to introjected regulation, external regulation, and amotivation. However, when both teaching styles were included simultaneously as predictors of motivation in the regression analyses, only internally controlling teaching predicted poor quality and low quantity of motivation. A cluster analysis revealed different profiles of perceived controlling teaching style, with two profiles being characterized by either high or low levels of the two types of controlling teaching and other profiles displaying elevated or reduced levels of one of the types of controlling teaching. This person-centered analysis confirmed that particularly students who perceive their PE teacher as internally controlling are likely to report poor-quality motivation. Conclusion: Controlling teaching (and internally controlling teaching in particular) is related to maladaptive motivational outcomes. As such, it can be advised to PE-practitioners to refrain from using controlling strategies when teaching students. More research is needed to identify the conditions under which teachers' behavior is perceived as externally and/or internally controlling.
Keywords
teaching style, controlling, Self-Determination Theory, person-centered approach, motivation, physical education, SELF-DETERMINATION THEORY, PARENTAL PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTROL, CONDITIONAL REGARD, AUTONOMY, TEACHERS, BEHAVIORS, STYLE, GOAL, ANTECEDENTS, ACHIEVEMENT

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Chicago
De Meyer, Jotie, Bart Soenens, Nathalie Aelterman, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, and Leen Haerens. 2016. “The Different Faces of Controlling Teaching : Implications of a Distinction Between Externally and Internally Controlling Teaching for Students’ Motivation in Physical Education.” Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy 21 (6): 632–652.
APA
De Meyer, Jotie, Soenens, B., Aelterman, N., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., & Haerens, L. (2016). The different faces of controlling teaching : implications of a distinction between externally and internally controlling teaching for students’ motivation in physical education. PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SPORT PEDAGOGY, 21(6), 632–652.
Vancouver
1.
De Meyer J, Soenens B, Aelterman N, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Haerens L. The different faces of controlling teaching : implications of a distinction between externally and internally controlling teaching for students’ motivation in physical education. PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SPORT PEDAGOGY. 2016;21(6):632–52.
MLA
De Meyer, Jotie, Bart Soenens, Nathalie Aelterman, et al. “The Different Faces of Controlling Teaching : Implications of a Distinction Between Externally and Internally Controlling Teaching for Students’ Motivation in Physical Education.” PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SPORT PEDAGOGY 21.6 (2016): 632–652. Print.
@article{7157024,
  abstract     = {Background: In Self-Determination Theory (SDT), a well-validated macro-theory on human motivation, a distinction is made between internally controlling teaching practices (e.g. guilt-induction and shaming) and externally controlling practices (e.g. threats and punishments, commands). While both practices are said to undermine students' motivation, they would do so through somewhat differential motivational processes. Unfortunately, the relevance of the conceptual distinction between internally and externally controlling strategies has not been examined systematically. In the context of sport and physical education (PE), most studies on controlling teaching have either measured controlling teaching in an undifferentiated way or have focused on one particular feature of controlling teaching.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to provide a more fine-grained picture on the differential de-motivational effects of internally and externally controlling teaching strategies in the domain of PE.
Participants: A total of 925 students with an average age of 15.80 years (1.99) coming out of 92 classes taught by 22 different PE teachers participated in the present study.
Data analysis: Data on perceived controlling teaching style and students' motivation were analyzed within a multilevel framework from both a variable-centered (regression analyses) and person-centered approach (cluster analyses).
Results: We found evidence for a distinction between perceived internally and externally controlling teaching. Both teaching styles were strongly related to each other (r=.54). At the level of zero-order correlations, both internally and externally controlling teaching related negatively to students' intrinsic motivation and identified regulation and related positively to introjected regulation, external regulation, and amotivation. However, when both teaching styles were included simultaneously as predictors of motivation in the regression analyses, only internally controlling teaching predicted poor quality and low quantity of motivation. A cluster analysis revealed different profiles of perceived controlling teaching style, with two profiles being characterized by either high or low levels of the two types of controlling teaching and other profiles displaying elevated or reduced levels of one of the types of controlling teaching. This person-centered analysis confirmed that particularly students who perceive their PE teacher as internally controlling are likely to report poor-quality motivation.
Conclusion: Controlling teaching (and internally controlling teaching in particular) is related to maladaptive motivational outcomes. As such, it can be advised to PE-practitioners to refrain from using controlling strategies when teaching students. More research is needed to identify the conditions under which teachers' behavior is perceived as externally and/or internally controlling.},
  author       = {De Meyer, Jotie and Soenens, Bart and Aelterman, Nathalie and De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse and Haerens, Leen},
  issn         = {1740-8989},
  journal      = {PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SPORT PEDAGOGY},
  keyword      = {teaching style,controlling,Self-Determination Theory,person-centered approach,motivation,physical education,SELF-DETERMINATION THEORY,PARENTAL PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTROL,CONDITIONAL REGARD,AUTONOMY,TEACHERS,BEHAVIORS,STYLE,GOAL,ANTECEDENTS,ACHIEVEMENT},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {632--652},
  title        = {The different faces of controlling teaching : implications of a distinction between externally and internally controlling teaching for students' motivation in physical education},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17408989.2015.1112777},
  volume       = {21},
  year         = {2016},
}

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