The influence of teachers’ need-support profiles on students’ collective engagement in science classes: An observational study based on self-determination theory

Abstract views: 127 / PDF downloads: 81




Teachers’ autonomy support, Teachers’ involvement, Teachers’ structure support, Students’ collective engagement, Science education


This study aims to reveal the need-support profiles of science teachers by using three variables (teachers’ autonomy support, involvement, and structure support), as well as the role of the teachers with such profiles in students’ collective engagement. Within the scope of the study, first of all, the observation form developed by Reeve, Jang, Carrell, Jeon, and Barch (2004) was adapted into Turkish. Then, 41 science lessons taught by different teachers were observed using the form during a class hour. Descriptive statistics, cluster analysis, and independent samples t-tests were performed using IBM SPSS Statistics 20 to analyze the data. The cluster analysis showed that teachers in most classes (n = 35) were highly need-supportive, while a few teachers (n = 6) were moderately need-supportive. The independent samples t-test analysis demonstrated that the collective engagement of the students in the classrooms where the teachers were highly need-supportive was more than those of the students in the classrooms where the teachers were moderately need-supportive. Students’ collective engagement varied according to the teachers’ need-supportive profiles. In other words, it can be assumed that teacher behaviors play a crucial role in students’ collective engagement.



Akçil, M., & Oğuz, A. (2015). Investigation of the relationship between the science teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs and their learner autonomy support behaviours. International Periodical for the Languages, Literature and History of Turkish or Turkic, 10(11), 1-16.

Appleton, J. J., Christenson, S. L., & Furlong, M. J. (2008). Student engagement with school: Critical conceptual and methodological issues of the constrcut. Psychology in the Schools, 45(5), 369–386.

Archambault, I., Pascal, S., Tardif-Grenier, K., Dupéré, V., Janosz, M., Parent, S., & Pagani, L. S. (2020). The contribution of teacher structure, involvement, and autonomy support on student engagement in low-income elementary schools. Teachers and Teaching, 26(5-6), 428-445.

Assor, A., Kaplan, H., Kanat-Maymon, Y., & Roth, G. (2005). Directly controlling teacher behaviors as predictors of poor motivation and engagement in girls and boys: The role of anger and anxiety. Learning and Instruction, 15(5), 397-413.

Barkley, E. F., & Major, C. H. (2020). Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. John Wiley & Sons.

Beghetto, R. A. (2007). Factors associated with middle and secondary students’ perceived science competence. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44, 800–814.

Benlahcene, A., Awang-Hashim, R., & Kaur, A. (2020). Personal best goals: Do they mediate the relationship between teacher autonomy support and student engagement? Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction, 17(1), 25-49.

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

Bond, M., Buntins, K., Bedenlier, S., Zawacki-Richter, O., & Kerres, M. (2020). Mapping research in student engagement and educational technology in higher education: A systematic evidence map. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 17(1), 1-30.

Burns, E. C., Martin, A. J., & Collie, R. J. (2019). Examining the yields of growth feedback from science teachers and students’ intrinsic valuing of science: Implications for student- and school-level science achievement. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 56, 1060–1082

Burns, E. C., Martin, A. J., Collie, R. J., & Mainhard, T. (2021). Perceived classroom disruption undermines the positive educational effects of perceived need-supportive teaching in science. Learning and Instruction, 75, 101498.

Carpentier, J., & Mageau, G. A. (2013). When change-oriented feedback enhances motivation, well-being and performance: A look at autonomy-supportive feedback in sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14(3), 423-435.

Cents-Boonstra, M., Lichtwarck-Aschoff, A., Denessen, E., Aelterman, N., & Haerens, L. (2021). Fostering student engagement with motivating teaching: An observation study of teacher and student behaviours. Research Papers in Education, 36(6), 754-779.

Cheon, S. H., Reeve, J., Yu, T. H., & Jang, H. R. (2014). The teacher benefits from giving autonomy support during physical education instruction. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 36(4), 331-346.

Cheon, S. H., Reeve, J., & Song, Y. G. (2016). A teacher-focused intervention to decrease PE students’ amotivation by increasing need satisfaction and decreasing need frustration. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 38(3), 217-235.

Cheon, S. H., Reeve, J., & Vansteenkiste, M. (2020). When teachers learn how to provide classroom structure in an autonomy-supportive way: Benefits to teachers and their students. Teaching and teacher education, 90, 103004.

Coates, H. (2005). The value of student engagement for higher education quality assurance. Quality in higher education, 11(1), 25-36.

Cohen, J. W. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd edn). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Connell, J. P., & Wellborn, J. G. (1991). Competence, autonomy and relatedness: A motivational analysis of self-system processes. In M. Gunnar & L. A. Sroufe (Eds.), Minnesota Symposium on Child Psychology: Vol. 23. Self processes in development (pp. 43-77). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Costa, S., Soenens, B., Gugliandolo, M. C., Cuzzocrea, F., & Larcan, R. (2015). The mediating role of experiences of need satisfaction in associations between parental psychological control and internalizing problems: A study among Italian college students. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(4), 1106-1116.

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, 319–338.

Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74(1), 59-109.

Furtak, E. M., & Kunter, M. (2012). Effects of autonomy-supportive teaching on student learning and motivation. The Journal of Experimental Education, 80(3), 284–316.

Guzey, S. S., & Li, W. (2022). Engagement and science achievement in the context of ıntegrated STEM education: A longitudinal study. Journal of Science Education and Technology.

Haerens, L., Aelterman, N., Vansteenkiste, M., Soenens, B., & Van Petegem, S. (2015). Do perceived autonomy-supportive and controlling teaching relate to physical education students' motivational experiences through unique pathways? Distinguishing between the bright and dark side of motivation. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 16, 26-36.

Hıdıroğlu, F. M. (2014). The role of perceived classroom goal structures, self-efficacy, and the student engagement in seventh grade students’ science achievement. Unpublished Master Thesis, Middle East Technical University, Turkey.

Hornstra, L., Stroet, K., & Weijers, D. (2021). Profiles of teachers’ need-support: How do autonomy support, structure, and involvement cohere and predict motivation and learning outcomes? Teaching and Teacher Education, 99, 103257.

Jang, H., Kim, E. J., & Reeve, J. (2012). Longitudinal test of self-determination theory's motivation mediation model in a naturally occurring classroom context. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104(4), 1175–1188.

Jang, H., Kim, E. J., & Reeve, J. (2016). Why students become more engaged or more disengaged during the semester: A self-determination theory dual-process model. Learning and Instruction, 43, 27-38.

Jang, H., Reeve, J., & Deci, E. L. (2010). Engaging students in learning activities: It is not autonomy support or structure but autonomy support and structure. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(3), 588-600.

Jungert, T., & Koestner, R. (2015). Science adjustment, parental and teacher autonomy support and the cognitive orientation of science students. Educational Psychology, 35(3), 361-376.

Kahu, E. R. (2013). Framing student engagement in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 38(5), 758–773.

Kiefer, S. M., Alley, K. M., & Ellerbrock, C. R. (2015). Teacher and peer support for young adolescents’ motivation, engagement, and school belonging. RMLE Online, 38(8), 1-18.

Klassen, R. M., Al-Dhafri, S., Mansfield, C. F., Purwanto, E., Siu, A., Wong, M. W., & Woods-McConney, A. (2012). Teachers’ engagement at work: An international validation study. Journal of Experimental Education, 80, 1-20.

Kocoglu, A., & Kanadlı, S. (2019). An investigation of secondary school students’ perceived autonomy support, critical thinking tendencies and problem solving skills. Trakya Journal of Education, 9(1), 61-77.

Kuh, G., Kinzie, J., Buckley, J., Bridges, B., & Hayek, J. (2006). What matters to student success: A review of the literature. Retrived from,

Lam, S.-F., Jimerson, S., Kikas, E., Cefai, C., Veiga, F. H., Nelson, B., . . . Zollneritsch, J. (2012). Do girls and boys perceive themselves as equally engaged in school? The results of an international study from 12 countries. Journal of School Psychology, 50(1), 77–94.

Lawson, M. A., & Lawson, H. A. (2013). New conceptual frameworks for student engagement research, policy, and practice. Review of Educational Research, 83(3), 432-479.

Li, W., Gao, W., & Sha, J. (2020). Perceived teacher autonomy support and school engagement of tibetan students in elementary and middle schools: mediating effect of self-efficacy and academic emotions. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 50.

Lietaert, S., Roorda, D., Laevers, F., Verschueren, K., & De Fraine, B. (2015). The gender gap in student engagement: The role of teachers’ autonomy support, structure, and involvement. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(4), 498-518.

Marks, H. M. (2000). Student engagement in instructional activity: Patterns in the elementary, middle, and high school years. American Educational Research Journal, 37(1), 153-184.

Martin, A. J., & Collie, R. J. (2019). Teacher–student relationships and students’ engagement in high school: Does the number of negative and positive relationships with teachers matter?. Journal of Educational Psychology, 111(5), 861-876.

Mouratidis, A., Michou, A., Aelterman, N., Haerens, L., & Vansteenkiste, M. (2018). Begin-of-school-year perceived autonomy-support and structure as predictors of end-of-school-year study efforts and procrastination: the mediating role of autonomous and controlled motivation. Educational Psychology, 38(4), 435-450.

Mouratidis, A., Vansteenkiste, M., Lens, W., & Sideridis, G. (2008). The motivating role of positive feedback in sport and physical education: Evidence for a motivational model. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 30(2), 240-268.

Miles, M. B.,& Huberman, A. M. (2015). Nitel veri analizi: [Qualitative Data Analysis]. S. Akbaba Altun ve A. Ersoy (Çev. Eds). Ankara: Pagem Akademi.

Oguz, A. (2013). Developing a scale for learner autonomy support. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 13(4), 2177-2194.

Patall, E. A., Dent, A. L., Oyer, M., & Wynn, S. R. (2013). Student autonomy and course value: The unique and cumulative roles of various teacher practices. Motivation and Emotion, 37(1), 14-32.

Patall, E. A., Steingut, R. R., Vasquez, A. C., Trimble, S. S., Pituch, K. A., & Freeman, J. L. (2018). Daily autonomy supporting or thwarting and students’ motivation and engagement in the high school science classroom. Journal of Educational Psychology, 110(2), 269–288.

Patrick, H., Knee, C. R., Canevello, A., & Lonsbary, C. (2007). The role of need fulfillment in relationship functioning and well-being: A self-determination theory perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(3), 434.

Raes, A., Vanneste, P., Pieters, M., Windey, I., Van Den Noortgate, W., & Depaepe, F. (2020). Learning and instruction in the hybrid virtual classroom: An investigation of students’ engagement and the effect of quizzes. Computers & Education, 143, 103682.

Reeve, J. (2009). Why teachers adopt a controlling motivating style toward students and how they can become more autonomy supportive. Educational psychologist, 44(3), 159-175.

Reeve, J. (2012). A self-determination theory perspective on student engagement. In S. J. Christenson, A. L. Reschly, & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 149–172). NY: Springer.

Reeve, J. (2013). How students create motivationally supportive learning environments for themselves: The concept of agentic engagement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 579.

Reeve, J., Cheon, S. H., & Jang, H. (2020). How and why students make academic progress: Reconceptualizing the student engagement construct to increase its explanatory power. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 62, 101899.

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 Emotion, 28(2), 147-169.

Reeve, J., & Shin, S. H. (2020). How teachers can support students’ agentic engagement. Theory into Practice, 59(2), 150-161.

Reeve, J., & Tseng, C. M. (2011). Agency as a fourth aspect of students’ engagement during learning activities. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36(4), 257-267.

Reis, H. T., Sheldon, K. M., Gable, S. L., Roscoe, J., & Ryan, R. M. (2018). Daily well-being: The role of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. In Relationships, well-being and behaviour (pp. 317-349). Routledge. Retrieved from

Rolland, R. G. (2012). Synthesizing the evidence on classroom goal structures in middle and secondary schools: A meta-analysis and narrative review. Review of Educational Research, 82(4), 396-435.

Roorda, D. L., Koomen, H. M. Y., Spilt, J. L., & Oort, F. J. (2011). The influence of affective teacher– student relationships on students’ school engagement and achievement: A meta-analytic approach. Review of Educational Research, 81(4), 493–529.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68–78.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2020). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation from a self-determination theory perspective: Definitions, theory, practices, and future directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 61, 101860.

Ryu, S., & Lombardi, D. (2015). Coding classroom interactions for collective and individual engagement. Educational Psychologist, 50(1), 70-83.

Sierens, E., Vansteenkiste, M., Goossens, L., Soenens, B., & Dochy, F. (2009). The synergistic relationship of perceived autonomy support and structure in the prediction of self‐regulated learning. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 79(1), 57-68.

Sinatra, G. M., Heddy, B. C., & Lombardi, D. (2015). The challenges of defining and measuring student engagement in science, Educational Psychologist, 50(1), 1-13.

Skinner, E. A., & Belmont, M. J. (1993). Motivation in the classroom: Reciprocal effects of teacher behavior and student engagement across the school year. Journal of Educational Psychology 85, 571–581.

Skinner, E., Furrer, C., Marchand, G., & Kindermann, T. (2008). Engagement and disaffection in the classroom: Part of a larger motivational dynamic?, Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(4), 765.

Skinner, E. A., Kindermann, T. A., Connell, J. P., & Wellborn, J. G. (2009). Engagement and disaffection as organizational constructs in the dynamics of motivational development. Handbook of motivation at school (pp. 223-245).

Stornes, T., Bru, E., & Idsoe, T. (2008). Classroom social structure and motivational climates: On the influence of teachers' involvement, teachers' autonomy support and regulation in relation to motivational climates in school classrooms. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 52(3), 315-329.

Tas, Y. (2016). The contribution of perceived classroom learning environment and motivation to student engagement in science. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 31(4), 557-577.

Thijs, J., & Verkuyten, M. (2009). Students’ anticipated situational engagement: The roles of teacher behavior, personal engagement, and gender. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 170(3), 268-286.

Tsai, Y.-M., Kunter, M., Lüdtke, O., Trautwein, U., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). What makes lessons interesting? The role of situational and individual factors in three school subjects. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(2), 460–472.

Tucker, C. M., Zayco, R. A., Herman, K. C., Reinke, W. M., Trujillo, M., Carraway, K., ... & Ivery, P. D. (2002). Teacher and child variables as predictors of academic engagement among low‐income African American children. Psychology in the Schools, 39(4), 477-488.

Ucar, F. M., & Sungur, S. (2017). The role of perceived classroom goal structures, self-efficacy, and engagement in student science achievement. Research in Science & Technological Education, 35(2), 149-168.

Valdes, O. M., Denner, J., Dickson, D. J., & Laursen, B. (2021). Teacher expectations and perceived teacher involvement anticipate changes in Latino/a middle school students’ expectations of math success. Educational Psychology, 41(6), 786-805.

Van Uden, J. M., Ritzen, H., & Pieters, J. M. (2014). Engaging students: The role of teacher beliefs and interpersonal teacher behavior in fostering student engagement in vocational education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 37, 21-32.

Vansteenkiste, M., Sierens, E., Goossens, L., Soenens, B., Dochy, F., Mouratidis, A., ... & Beyers, W. (2012). Identifying configurations of perceived teacher autonomy support and structure: Associations with self-regulated learning, motivation and problem behavior. Learning and Instruction, 22(6), 431-439.

Vollet, J. W., Kindermann, T. A., & Skinner, E. A. (2017). In peer matters, teachers matter: Peer group influences on students’ engagement depend on teacher involvement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(5), 635–652.

Walker, C. O., Greene, B. A., & Mansell, R. A. (2006). Identification with academics, intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, and self-efficacy as predictors of cognitive engagement. Learning and Individual Differences 16(1), 1–12.

Watt, H. M. G., Bucich, M., & Dacosta, L. (2019). Adolescents’ motivational profiles in mathematics and science: Associations with achievement striving, career aspirations and psychological wellbeing. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1–23.

Wekullo, C. S. (2019). International undergraduate student engagement: Implications for higher education administrators. Journal of International Students, 9(1), 320–337.

Wellborn, J. G. (1991). Engaged and disaffected action: The conceptualization and measurement of motivation in the academic domain. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Rochester.

Xu, B., Chen, N. S., & Chen, G. (2020). Effects of teacher role on student engagement in WeChat-Based online discussion learning. Computers & Education, 157, 103956.

Yuan, J., & Kim, C. (2018). The effects of autonomy support on student engagement in peer assessment. Educational Technology Research and Development, 66(1), 25-52.

Zepke, N. (2018). Student engagement in neo-liberal times: What is missing? Higher Education Research and Development, 37(2), 433–446.

Zepke, N., Leach, L., & Butler, P. (2014). Student engagement: students' and teachers' perceptions. Higher Education Research & Development, 33(2), 386-398.

Zhou, M., Ma, W. J., & Deci, E. L. (2009). The importance of autonomy for rural Chinese children's motivation for learning. Learning and Individual Differences, 19(4), 492-498.




How to Cite

Subaşı Çolak, M., Koçak, G., Taş, Y., & Yerdelen, S. (2023). The influence of teachers’ need-support profiles on students’ collective engagement in science classes: An observational study based on self-determination theory. International Journal of Contemporary Educational Research, 10(1), 25–41.