Autonomy Support and Motivation in Physical Education: A Comparison of Teacher and Student Perspectives

Abstract views: 243 / PDF downloads: 124




Autonomy support, Motivation, Physical education, Teacher and student perceptions


The aim in this study was to identify predictors of teachers’ and students’ motivation and autonomy support in physical education. Ninety-four physical education teachers (26 female, 68 male) and 2127 students (1093 boys, 1026 girls, and 8 no gender specified) from 56 (42 public, 14 private) high schools all voluntarily participated in the study. The students' perceived autonomy support, the intrinsic motivation for physical education and teachers' perceptions of their own autonomy support in lessons and their motivations to teach were assessed. Pearson correlation analysis showed no relationship between teachers’ perceptions of autonomy support and the students’ perceptions of autonomy support. Regression analysis showed that a) the students' perceptions of autonomy support were positive predictors of the students’ intrinsic motivations, b) the assessment support sub-dimension of autonomy support was positive predictor of teachers’ intrinsic motivations to teach in physical education. Given these findings, it becomes critical that PE teachers learn about the value of autonomy support and how to provide it during pre-service and in-service teacher education.

Author Biography

Ayşe Gökçe Erturan, Pamukkale University

Ayşe Gökçe Erturan is a professor of Physical Education and Sports at Pamukkale University. Her work focuses specifically on the motivation, autonomy support and motivational climate in physical education. 


Aelterman, N., Vansteenkiste, M., Soenens, B., & Haerens, L. (2016). A dimensional and person-centered perspective on controlled reasons for non-participation in physical education. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 23, 142-154. DOI:

Akdemir, E. (2020). The Determination of Teachers' Motivation Based on Herzberg's Motivation Theory. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology-TOJET, 19(4), 89-101.

Assor, A., Kaplan, H., & Roth, G. (2002). Choice is good, but relevance is excellent: Autonomy‐enhancing and suppressing teacher behaviours predicting students' engagement in schoolwork. British journal of educational psychology, 72(2), 261-278. DOI:

Baard, P. P., Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2004). Intrinsic need satisfaction: a motivational basis of performance and weil‐being in two work settings. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 34(10), 2045-2068. DOI:

Benson, P. (2010). Teacher education and teacher autonomy: Creating spaces for experimentation in secondary school English language teaching. Language Teaching Research, 14(3), 259-275. DOI:

Blömeke, S., & Klein, P. (2013). When is a school environment perceived as supportive by beginning mathematics teachers? Effects of leadership, trust, autonomy and appraisal on teaching quality. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 11(4), 1029-1048. Carlson, M. D., & Morrison, R. S. (2009). Study design, precision, and validity in observational studies. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 12(1), 77-82. DOI:

Cross, S. E., & Markus, H. R. (1999). The cultural constitution of personality. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp. 378–396). Guilford Press.

Daşdan, A. E. N., Aşçı, F. H., Kazak, Z Ç. F., & Altıparmak, M. E. (2012). Durumsal Güdülenme Ölçeği’nin (DGÖ) beden eğitimi ders ortamı için geçerlik ve güvenirliği.[ The validity and reliability of the Situational Motivation Scale (SIS) for the physical education classroom environment.] Spormetre Physical Education and Sport Sciences Spormetre Beden Eğitimi ve Spor Bilimleri Dergisi, 10(1), 7-12. DOI:

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). The general causality orientations scale: Self-determination in personality. Journal of Research in Personality, 19(2), 109-134. DOI:

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1991). A motivational approach to self: Integration in personality. In R. A. Dienstbier (Ed.), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, 1990: Perspectives on motivation (pp. 237–288). University of Nebraska 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(4): 227-268. DOI:

Deci, E. L., and Ryan R. M. (2002) Handbook of self-determination research. University Rochester Press.

Deci, E. L., Vallerand R. J., Pelletier L. G., and Ryan R. M. (1991) Motivation and education: The self-determination perspective. Educational psychologist 26(3-4): 325-346. DOI:

Diseth, Å., Breidablik, H. J., & Meland, E. (2018). Longitudinal relations between perceived autonomy support and basic need satisfaction in two student cohorts. Educational Psychology, 38(1), 99-115. DOI:

Engin, G. (2020). An Examination of Primary School Students' Academic Achievements and Motivation in Terms of Parents' Attitudes, Teacher Motivation, Teacher Self-Efficacy and Leadership Approach. International journal of progressive education, 16(1), 257-276. DOI:

Escriva-Boulley, G., Tessier, D., Ntoumanis, N., & Sarrazin, P. (2018). Need-supportive professional development in elementary school physical education: Effects of a cluster-randomized control trial on teachers’ motivating style and student physical activity. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 7(2), 218–234. DOI:

Ergür, D. O. (2010, November). Öğrenen özerkliğinin kazandırılmasında öğretmenin rolü. [The role of the teacher in gaining learner autonomy.] In International Conference on New Trends in Education and Their Implications (Vol. 354, p. 359).

Fin, G., Moreno-Murcia, J. A., León, J., Baretta, E., & Júnior, R. J. N. (2019). Interpersonal autonomy support style and its consequences in physical education classes. PloS one, 14(5), e0216609. DOI:

Flunger, B., Hollmann, L., Hornstra, L., & Murayama, K. (2022). It's more about a lesson than a domain: Lesson-specific autonomy support, motivation, and engagement in math and a second language. Learning and Instruction, 77, 101500. DOI:

Gil-Arias, A., Harvey, S., García-Herreros, F., González-Víllora, S., Práxedes, A., & Moreno, A. (2021). Effect of a hybrid teaching games for understanding/sport education unit on elementary students’ self-determined motivation in physical education. European Physical Education Review, 27(2), 366-383. DOI:

Guay, F., Vallerand, R. J., and Blanchard, C. (2000) On the assessment of situational intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The Situational Motivation Scale (SIMS). Motivation and emotion 24(3): 175-213. DOI:

Haerens, L., Vansteenkiste, M., De Meester, A., Delrue, J., Tallir, I., Vande Broek, G., ... & Aelterman, N. (2018). Different combinations of perceived autonomy support and control: Identifying the most optimal motivating style. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 23(1), 16-36. DOI:

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. DOI:

Hagger, M. S., Chatzisarantis, N. L., Hein, V., Pihu, M., Soos, I., & Karsai, I. (2007). The perceived autonomy support scale for exercise settings (PASSES): Development, validity, and cross-cultural invariance in young people. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 8(5), 632-653. DOI:

Han, J., & Yin, H. (2016). Teacher motivation: Definition, research development and implications for teachers. Cogent education, 3(1), 1217819. DOI:

Hinkin, T. R. (1995). A review of scale development practices in the study of organizations. Journal of management, 21(5), 967-988. DOI:

Kauffman, D. F., Soylu, M. Y., & Bryan, D. U. K. E. (2011). Validation of the motivation to teach scale. Hacettepe Üniversitesi Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, 40(40), 279-290

Kılınç, A. Ç., Bozkurt, E., & İlhan, H. (2018). Öğretmen özerkliğine ilişkin öğretmen görüşlerinin incelenmesi. [Examination of teachers' views on teacher autonomy.] Eğitim ve İnsani Bilimler Dergisi: Teori ve Uygulama, 9(18), 77-98.

Kızıltepe, Z. (2008) Motivation and demotivation of university teachers. Teachers and Teaching 14(5-6): 515-530. DOI:

Knowles A, Wallhead T and Readdy T (2018) Exploring the synergy between Sport Education and in-school sport participation. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education 37(2): 113–122. DOI:

Lim, B. C., & Wang, C. J. (2009). Perceived autonomy support, behavioural regulations in physical education and physical activity intention. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 10(1), 52-60. DOI:

Lozano-Jiménez, J. E., Huéscar, E., & Moreno-Murcia, J. A. (2021). Effects of an autonomy support intervention on the involvement of higher education students. Sustainability, 13(9), 5006. DOI:

Maulana, R., Opdenakker, M. C., & Bosker, R. (2016). Teachers' instructional behaviors as important predictors of academic motivation: Changes and links across the school year. Learning and Individual Differences, 50, 147-156. DOI:

Muftuler, M. (2016). Perceived Autonomy Support Scale for Exercise Settings: Validity and reliability study for Turkish Egzersizde Algılanan Özerklik Desteği Ölçeği: Türkçe geçerlik ve güvenirlik çalışması. Journal of Human Sciences, 13(1), 2158-2169. DOI:

Muftuler, M., & İnce, M. L. (2015). Use of trans-contextual model-based physical activity course in developing leisure-time physical activity behavior of university students. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 121(1), 31-55. DOI:

Muñoz-Restrepo, A., Ramirez, M., & Gaviria, S. (2020). Strategies to enhance or maintain motivation in learning a foreign language. Profile Issues in Teachers Professional Development, 22(1), 175-188. DOI:

Nagovitsyn, R. S., Vaganova, O. I., Kutepov, M. M., Martyanova, L. N., Kosenovich, O. V., Moeseev, Y. V., ... & Osipov, A. Y. (2020). Interactive technologies in developing student's motivation in physical education and sport. International Journal of Applied Exercise Physiology, 9(6), 72-79.

Nie, Y., Chua, B. L., Yeung, A. S., Ryan, R. M., & Chan, W. Y. (2015). The importance of autonomy support and the mediating role of work motivation for well‐being: Testing self‐determination theory in a Chinese work organisation. International Journal of Psychology, 50(4), 245-255. DOI:

Nunnally, J. C. (1978). An overview of psychological measurement. Clinical diagnosis of mental disorders, 97-146. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4684-2490-4_4 DOI:

Oğuz, A. (2013). Teacher’s views about supporting learner autonomy Öğretmenlerin öğrenen özerkliğinin desteklenmesine ilişkin görüşleri. Journal of Human Sciences, 10(1), 1273-1297.

Öqvist, A., & Malmström, M. (2016). Teachers’ leadership: A maker or a breaker of students’ educational motivation. School Leadership & Management, 36(4), 365-380.

Plotnick, R. D. (2007). Adolescent expectations and desires about marriage and parenthood. DOI:

Journal of adolescence, 30(6), 943-963. DOI:

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. DOI:

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). University of Rochester Press.

Reeve J, Bolt E and Cai Y (1999) Autonomy-supportive teachers: How they teach and motivate students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(3): 537. DOI:

Reeve J, Jang H, Carrell D, Jeon S and Barch J (2004) Enhancing students' engagement by increasing teachers' autonomy support. Motivation and emotion 28(2): 147-169. DOI:

Sert, N., Adamson, J., & Büyüköztürk, Ş. (2012). Autonomy and European Language Portfolio Use among Turkish Adolescents Türk Ergenlerde Özerklik ve Avrupa Dil Gelişim Dosyası Kullanımı. Education, 37(166).

Sheldon, K. M., Elliot, A.J., Kim, Y. ve Kasser, T. (2001). What is satisfying about satisfying events? Testing 10 candidate psychological needs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 325-33. DOI:

Shen, B., McCaughtry, N., Martin, J., & Fahlman, M. (2009). Effects of teacher autonomy support and students' autonomous motivation on learning in physical education. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 80(1), 44-53. DOI: 10.1080/02701367.2009.10599528 DOI:

Shen, B. (2010). How can perceived autonomy support influence enrollment in elective physical education? A prospective study. Research quarterly for exercise and sport, 81(4), 456-465. DOI: 10.1080/02701367.2010.10599706 DOI:

Shen, B., McCaughtry, N., Martin, J., Garn, A., Kulik, N., & Fahlman, M. (2015). The relationship between teacher burnout and student motivation. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(4), 519-532. DOI:

Sinclair C (2008) Initial and changing student teacher motivation and commitment to teaching. Asia‐Pacific Journal of Teacher Education 36(2): 79-104. DOI:

Slemp, G. R., Field, J. G., & Cho, A. S. (2020). A meta-analysis of autonomous and controlled forms of teacher motivation. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 121, 103459. DOI:

Smith, N., Tessier, D., Tzioumakis, Y., Fabra, P., Quested, E., Appleton, P., ... & Duda, J. L. (2016). The relationship between observed and perceived assessments of the coach-created motivational environment and links to athlete motivation. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 23, 51-63. DOI:

Stefanou, C. R., Perencevich, K. C., DiCintio, M., & Turner, J. C. (2004). Supporting autonomy in the classroom: Ways teachers encourage student decision making and ownership. Educational psychologist, 39(2), 97-110. DOI:

Su, Y. L., & Reeve, J. (2011). A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of intervention programs designed to support autonomy. Educational psychology review, 23(1), 159-188. DOI:

Taşmektepligil, Y., Yilmaz, Ç., İmamoğlu, O., & Kılcıgil E. (2006). İlköğretim okullarinda beden eğitimi ders hedeflerinin gerçekleşme düzeyi. Spormetre Beden Eğitimi ve Spor Bilimleri Dergisi, 4(4), 139-147. DOI:

Tessier D, Sarrazin P and Ntoumanis N (2010) The effect of an intervention to improve newly qualified teachers’ interpersonal style, students motivation and psychological need satisfaction in sport-based physical education. Contemporary Educational Psychology 35(4): 242-253. DOI:

Ushioda, E. (2006). Language motivation in a reconfigured Europe: Access, identity, autonomy. Journal of multilingual and multicultural development, 27(2), 148-161. DOI:

Yetim, E., Demir, Y., & Erturan, İ. G. (2014). Beden eğitimi derslerinde motivasyon: tutum ve motivasyonel sratejilerin tahmin edici etkisi. SPORMETRE Beden Eğitimi ve Spor Bilimleri Dergisi, 12(2), 139-146. DOI:

Vansteenkiste, M., Ryan, R. M., & Soenens, B. (2020). Basic psychological need theory: Advancements, critical themes, and future directions. Motivation and emotion, 44(1), 1-31. DOI:




How to Cite

Arık, A., & Erturan, A. G. (2023). Autonomy Support and Motivation in Physical Education: A Comparison of Teacher and Student Perspectives. International Journal of Contemporary Educational Research, 10(3), 649–657.