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

Ian Taylor, Nikolaos Ntoumanis, B Smith

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83 Citations (Scopus)
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The purpose of the study was to provide an in-depth analysis of how Physical Education (PE) teachers perceive the social context to influence the motivational strategies that they use towards students. Semi-structured interviews of 22 PE teachers were examined using categorical content analysis. The teachers perceived that an emphasis on student assessment and the time constraints associated with PE lessons influenced their motivational strategies towards students; however, these strategies often conflicted with the teachers’ beliefs about the most appropriate motivational strategies. 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. Consequently, it is important that teacher beliefs are targeted in education programs and that the teaching context aid in facilitating adaptive motivational strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-243
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009


  • Competence
  • Categorical-content analysis
  • Teaching context
  • Relatedness
  • Autonomy


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