Teachers’ Instructional Behaviors and Students’ Self-Determination

Fatemeh Kabi Rahnama, Amir Mahdavi Zafarghandi, Jaleh hassaskhah


Within SDT framework, many investigations have been done in the field of language learning showing teachers’ instructional behaviors can affect students’ perceived self-determination and learning outcomes (Noels, Clément, & Pelletier, 1999). In this paper, not only Iranian English teachers’ instructional behaviors, but also the relationship between students’ perceived instructional behaviors and their perceived self-determination were explored in a sample of 210 university students by means of questionnaires. The results indicated that the students agreed their teachers’ instructional behaviors were autonomy supportive, whereas they agreed that their teachers’ behaviors were controlling. They also indicated a significantly positive relationship between the students’ perceived teachers’ autonomy-supportive instructional behaviors and their perceived self-determination on the one hand, and on the other a non significant correlation between teachers’ controlling behaviors and students’ perceived self-determination. The findings of this study have implications for teachers to develop their autonomy-supportive behaviors to promote students’ autonomy in learning English.   



Autonomy, self determination, teacher’s autonomy-supportive behaviors, teachers’ controlling behaviors

Full Text:



Ajideh, P. (2009). Autonomous Learning and Metacognitive Strategies Essential in ESP Class. Journal of English language teaching, 2, 162-168.

Assor, A., Kaplan, H., & Roth, G. (2002). Choice is good, but relevance is excellent: Autonomy-enhancing and suppressing teacher behaviors predicting students’ engagement in schoolwork. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 72, 261-278.

Benson, P. (1991). Autonomy and Social Interaction. Teaching Philosophy, 14(3), 329-332.

Benson, P. (2001). Teaching and researching autonomy in language learning. London: Longman.

Benson, P. (2006). Autonomy in language teaching and learning. Language Teaching, 40, 21-40.

Boggiano, A. K., Flink, C., Shields, A., Seelbach, A., & Barrett, M. (1993). Use of techniques promoting students' self-determination: Effects on students' analytic problem-solving skills. Motivation and Emotion, 17, 319-336.

Chirkov, V. I. (2009). A cross-cultural analysis of autonomy in education. A self-determination theory perspective. Journal of Theory and Research in Education, 7, 253-262. doi:10.1177/1477878509104330

Deci, E. L., & Flaste, R. (1995). Why we do what we do: Understanding self-motivation. New York: Penguin Books.

Deci, E. L., Egheari, H., Patrick, B. C., & Leone, D. R. (1994). Facilitating internalization: The self-determination theory perspective. Journal of personality, 62, 119-142.

Deci, E. L. & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior. New York: Plenum Press.

Deci, E. L. & Ryan, R. M. (1987). The support of autonomy and the control of behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 1024-1037.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1991). A motivational approach to self: Integration in personality. In R. Dienstbier (Ed.), Nebraska symposium on motivation: Perspectives on motivation, Vol. 38 (pp. 237-288). Lincoln, NE: University Of Nebraska Press.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2002). Self-determination research: Reflections and future directions. In E. L. Deci & R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of self-determination research (pp. 431-441). Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The "what" and "why" of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268.

Deci, E. L., Vallerand, R. J., Pelletier, L. G., & Ryan, R. M. (1991). Motivation in education: The self-determination perspective. The Educational Psychologist, 26, 325-346.

Graves, N. & Vye, S. (2007). Self Reflection for teacher autonomy: what's in it for us and why do we give valuable time?. In Proceeding of the independent learning association 2007 Japan conference: Exploring theory, enhancing practice: Autonomy across the discipline, Chiba, Japan. Retrieved from


Grolnick, W. S., Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (1991). The inner resources for school performance: Motivational mediators of children's perceptions of their parents. Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 508-517.

Hiromori, T. 2004. Motivation and language learning strategies of EFL high school students: A preliminary study through the use of panel data. JACET Bulletin, 39, 31-42.

Holec, H. (1980). Autonomy and foreign language learning. Nancy: Centre de Recherches et d'Applications Pedagogiques en Langues. Council of Europe.

Holec, H. (1981). Autonomy and foreign language learning. Oxford, England: Pergamon Press.

Helwig, C. C. (2006). The development of personal autonomy throughout cultures, Cognitive Development, 21, 458– 473.

Hsu, Y. T. (2008). Perceived instructional behaviors and students’ self determination in English learning. Unpublished master’s thesis for master’s degree. Ming Chuan university college of Applied languages. Taiwan.

Kohonen, V. (1992). Experiential language learning in foreign language education. London: Longman.

Little, D. (1991). Learner autonomy 1: Definitions, issues and problems. Dublin: Authentik.

Littlewood, W. (1999). Defining and developing autonomy in East Asian contexts. Applied Linguistics, 20/1, 71-94.

Markus, H. R., Kitayama, S. (2003). "Culture, Self, and the Reality of the Social". Psychological Inquiry 14 (3), 277–83.

Neimic, C. P. & Ryan, R. M. (2009). Autonomy, competence, and relatedness in the classroom, Applying self-determination theory to educational practice. Theory and Research in Education, 7 (2), 133-144.

Nguyen, N. T., (2012). “Let students take control!” Fostering learner autonomy in language learning: An experiment. International Conference on Education and Management Innovation IPEDR . 30, 318-320.

Noels, K. A., Clément, R., & Pelletier, L. G. (1999). Perceptions of teachers’ communicative style and students’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The Modern Language Journal, 83, 23-34.

Noels, K., Cle ́ment, R., & Pelletier, L. (2001). Intrinsic, extrinsic, and integrative orientations of French Canadian learners of English. Canadian Modern Language Review, 57, 424–444.

Pelletier, L. G., & Sharp, E. C. (2009). Administrative pressures and teachers' interpersonal behaviour in the classroom. Theory and Research in Education, 7, 174-183.

Pintrich, P. R., & De Groot, E. (1990) Motivational and self-regulated learning components of classroom academic performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 33- 40.

Reeve, J. (2002). Self-determination theory applied to educational settings. In E. L. Deci & R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of self-determination research (pp. 183–203). New York: University of Rochester Press.

Reeve, J., Bolt, E., & Cai, Y. (1999). Autonomy-supportive teachers: how they teach and motivate students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 537-548.

Reeve, J., Halusic, M. (2009). How K-12 teachers can put self-determination theory principles into practice. Journal of Theory and Research in Education, 7(2), 145-154.

Reeve, J., & Jang, H. (2006). What Teachers Say and Do to Support Students’ Autonomy during a Learning Activity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 209-218.

Reeve, J., Jang, H., Carrell, D., Jeon, S., & Barch, J. (2004). Enhancing Students’ Engagement by Increasing Teachers’ Autonomy Support. Motivation and Education, 28(2), 147.169.

Reeve, J., Jang, H., Hardre, P., & Omura, M. (2002). Providing a Rationale in an Autonomy-Supportive Way as a Strategy to Motivate Others during an Uninteresting Activity. Motivation and Emotion, 26, 183-207.

Riley, P., & Zoppis, C. (1985). The sound and video library. In P. Riley (Ed.), Discourse and Learning (pp. 114-131). London: Longman.

Ryan, R. M., & Stiller, J. (1991). The social contexts of internalization: Parent and teacher influences on autonomy, motivation and learning. In P. R. Pintrich & M. L. Maehr (Eds.), Advances in motivation and achievement: Vol. 7, goals and self-regulatory processes (pp. 115-149). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.

Sarrazin, P. G., Tessier, D. P., Pelletiere, L. G., Trouillod, D. O., Chanal, J. P., (2006). The effects of teachers’ expectations about students’ motivation on teachers’ autonomy-supportive and controlling behaviors. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 4, 283-301.

Sheldon, K., & Deci, E., (1993). The Self-Determination Scale. Unpublished manuscript, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

Smith, R. C. (2003). Teacher education for teacher-learner autonomy. In J. Gollin, G. Ferguson & H. Trappes-Lomax (Eds.), Symposium for language teacher educators: Papers from three IALS Symposia (CR-ROM). Edinburgh: IALS, University of Edinburgh.

Tamjid, N., Birjandi, P. (2011). Fostering learner autonomy through self and peer assessment. International Journal of Academic Research. 3, 245-254.

Voller, P. (1997) Does the teacher have a role in autonomous language learning? In P. Benson and P. Voller (eds.) Autonomy and independence in language learning. London: Longman. 98-113.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.2n.3p.100


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2019 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.