Motivation in physical education classes: A self-determination theory perspective

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Colleges, School and Institutes


This paper presents a brief overview of empirical studies in school physical education (PE) that have employed SDT and, where relevant, proposes ideas for future research in this area. First, we review research on teachers’ interpersonal style and its relation to students’ motivation. Second, we discuss intervention studies aimed at optimizing teachers’ interactions with students. Third, we present an overview of findings suggesting that basic psychological needs and motivational regulations predict various cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes in PE. Finally, we provide practical recommendations for PE teachers drawing from initial intervention studies in PE.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-202
Number of pages9
JournalTheory and Research in Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009