10 SES 04 A, Research in Teacher Education: Cultures and Methodologies
Self - determination theory (SDT) recognizes autonomy, competence and relatedness as three psychological basic needs which need to be satisfied during one person’s life and which allow people reach an effective internalization of social rules and values, develop a good psychological growth and healthy personal well – being (Niemiec et al., 2006).In the school context, teachers need to promote and support the satisfaction of autonomy, competence and relatedness as they serve as enhancing factor to stimulate students’ self – determined motivation (Wellborn, Connell, Skinner & Pierson, 1988).
Skinner & Belmont (1993) stablished that children’s need for autonomy in learning, is experienced when their self-sufficiency is encouraged. To reach this purpose teachers need to give students freedom, avoid the use of external pressures/awards and connect students’ life with their school experiences. Teacher’s autonomy supportive or controlling behavior is associated with their children’s motivation style (Sosic-Vasic, Keis, Lau, Spitzer&Streb, 2015). Evidence also shows a positive association among students’ autonomous motivation and their engagement (for more detailed information also see Stroet, et al., 2013).
The second category of teacher behavior, derived from children’s need for competence is fostered according to Skinner & Belmont (1993) when they experience their classrooms as optimal in structure, referring to the “amount of information in the context about how to effectively achieve desired outcomes” (p. 572). Teachers can provide structure using several teaching skills like offering support to their students or being clear and consistent in their answers. Structure includes contingency (consistency and predictability of responses), clarity of expectations, instrumental help/support, encouragement, informational feedback and adjustment of teaching strategies. Structure is usually the dimension in which teachers and students report higher levels (Skinner & Belmont, 1993). Children in well – structured environments have a clearer sense of the actions needed to acquire certain outcomes, so they are more capable to direct their efforts (Grolnick& Ryan, 1989).
Students’ need for relatedness, can be fulfilled by teachers in the form of their interpersonal involvement with the classroom, their interest and the emotional support they provide to students (Ryan & Deci, 2000; Connel & Wellborn, 1991). This dimension includes the quality of the relationship between students and teachers and is opposite to rejection or neglect (Skinner & Belmont, 1993). Teachers’ interpersonal involvement, serves as an enhancing factor for students’ sense of belonging which has an impact in self – determined motivation growth and academic engagement (Furrer& Skinner, 2003; Maulana et al., 2016; Maulana & Opdenakker, 2014; Ryan & Deci, 2000). According to Skinner & Belmont (1993) teacher involvement included teachers’ affection (e.g. liking, appreciation), attunement (understanding, knowledge about the student), dedication of resources (e.g. energy, time) and dependability (availability in case of need) and is a consistent predictor of students’ perception: children whose teachers show high levels of involvement, also experienced their teachers as more structured and autonomy supportive. Several studies (Skinner & Belmont, 1993; Skinner, Wellborn & Connell, 1990; Maulana, Helms - Lorenz & Van de Grift, 2015; Stroet et al., 2013) have studied the relationship between teachers’ behaviour, students’ perception of them and children’s engagement, finding strong evidence about the fact that teachers’ interaction with students predicted students’ engagement in school, both directly and through their effects on students’ perceptions of their interactions with teachers.
The goal of the present study is to shed further light in the degree of teacher involvement in a sample of Secondary Education teachers in Spain. We will also test if teacher involvement can be affected by gender (male/female), ownership of the school (public/private), subject (languages, STEM o Vocational Education subjects) or kind of school (general, vocational or multitrack school).
Sample and procedure The current study included a sample of 410 Spanish Secondary Education teachers. The teachers sample comprised 166 (40.5%) men and 244 (59.5%) women. Regarding the school type, 46.1% of the teachers were from general schools, 4.1% from vocational schools and 49.8% from multitrack schools. The majority of the teachers (69%) developed their professional activity in public schools whereas 31% in private ones. The data involved 62% of language and social science teachers, 20.7% of math and science subjects and 17.3% of Vocational Education and Training subjects. Teachers participated on a voluntary basis. Participants were not compensated for participating in the study. Researcher – school agreement was made prior to conducting the survey in schools. Measure To measure teachers’ opinions about their group of students, the Teacher as Social Context (TASC) Questionnaire (Wellborn et al., 1988) has been used. The original questionnaire was translated and back-translated for use in the Spanish context. The questionnaire included 41 items in three dimensions: teachers’ autonomy support (12 items), structure (15 items) and involvement (14 items), providing a 4 – Likert type response format from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 4 (Strongly Agree). The reliability of the original instrument was .90 for autonomy support, .70 for structure and .83 for involvement. Our questionnaire presented a global reliability of α = .89. The reliability coefficient (Cronbach's alpha) obtained in the three factors (.79, .79 and .80, respectively) was in all cases above .70, acceptable and respectable. Global rates in teacher involvement and in the 14 items included in the involvement dimension have been analysed. Several analyses have been applied: descriptive analysis (mean and standard deviation) for continuous variables. Student's t-test for independent samples was employed to determine differences according to the variables gender and ownership of the school. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) test was used to compare the results according to the variables subject and type of school, followed by Scheffe's post-hoc test.
In general we can affirm that teachers degree of involvement is acceptable (mean 2,43; standard deviation .27). The sample is outstanding in items such us knowing the students well, dedicating time to them, talking with them or enjoy time with them. Teachers’ involvement is quite similar in women (mean 2.42, standard deviation .28) and in men (mean 2.43, standard deviation .27). No significant statistical differences were obtained except for some specific items such as knowing what do students do outside the school, item in which women seem to show higher significant statistical ratings than men. Teachers involvement is higher in private schools (mean 2.50, standard deviation .16) than in public ones (mean 2.39, standard deviation .27), being the differences statistically significant (t = -3.836, p = .000). In 7 items private schools private school teachers show higher statistically significant ratings: “ I know a lot about what goes on for this student”, “I know these students well”, “ I spend time with these students”, “ I talk with these students”, “When these students do not do as well as they can, I can make time to help them find ways to do better”, “These students can count on me to be there for him/her”, “ Sometimes I feel like I can’t be there for this students when they needs me”. The other two variables (subject and type of school) do not affect the degree of teacher involvement, although it has been observed that maths and science teachers tend to desire spending more time with students with difficulties. It should be taken into account that specific Vocational schools are few in the Spanish context and also in our sample, so this fact may be affecting the results, as long as they constitute a minority in the sample.
Furrer, C. & Skinner, E. (2003). Sense of relatedness as a factor in children’s academic engagement and performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95 (1), 148 - 162. Grolnick, W.S., & Ryan, R.M. (1989). Parent styles associated with children’s self-regulation and competence in school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 143–154. Maulana, R., Helms – Lorenz, M. & Van de Grift, W. (2015). Development and evaluation of a questionnaire measuring pre – service teachers’ teaching behaviour: a Rasch modelling approach. School effectiveness and school improvement; an International Journal of Research, Policy and Practice, 26(2), 169-194. Maulana, R.; Helms – Lorenz, M., Irnidayanti, Y. & Van de Grift, W. (2016). Autonomous motivation in the Indonesian classroom: relationship with teacher support through the lens of Self – Determination Theory. The Asia – Pacific Education Researcher 25(3), 441 – 451. Maulana, R. &Opdenakker, M.C. (2014). Teachers’ interpersonal involvement as a predictor of students’ academic motivation among Indonesian Secondary school students: a multilevel growth curve analysis. The Asia – Pacific Education Researcher, 23(3), 591 – 603. Niemiec C.P., Lynch M.F., Vansteenkiste M., Bernstein J., Deci, E.L. & Ryan, R.M. (2006). The antecedents and consequences of autonomous self-regulation for college: a self-determination theory perspective on socialization. Journal of Adolescence, 29(5), 761 – 775. Ryan, R. & Deci, E. (2000). Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68 – 78. Skinner, E.A. & Belmont, M. (1993). Motivation in the classroom: reciprocal effects of teacher behavior and student engagement across the school year. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(4), 571 – 581. Skinner, E.A., Wellborn, J.G. & Connell, J.P. (1990). What it takes to do well in school and whether I’ve got it: a process model of perceived control and children’s engagement and achievement in school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(1), 22 – 32. Sosic-Vasic,Z., Keis, O., Lau, M. , Spitzer, M. &Streb. J. (2015). The impact of motivation and teachers’ autonomy support on children’s executive functions. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1 – 12. Stroet, K., Opdenakker, M.C. &Minnaert, A. (2013). Effects of need supportive teaching on early adolescents¡ motivation and engagement: a review of the literature. Educational Research Review, 9, 65 - 87. Wellborn, J., Connell, J., Skinner, E.A. & Pierson, L.H. (1988). Teacher as social context: a measure of teacher provision of involvement, structure and autonomy support (Tech. Rep. No. 102). Rochester, NY: University of Rochester.
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