Student (Dis)Engagement and Need-Supportive Teaching Behavior: A Multi-Informant and Multilevel Approach

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Lynn Van den BergheGhent University

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Isabel B. TallirGhent University

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Greet CardonGhent University

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Nathalie AeltermanGhent University

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Leen HaerensGhent University

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Starting from self-determination theory, we explored whether student engagement/disengagement relates to teachers’ need support and whether this relationship is moderated by teachers’ causality orientations. A sample of 2004 students situated in 127 classes taught by 33 physical education teachers participated in the study. Both teachers and students reported on students’ (dis)engagement, allowing investigation of the proposed relationships both at the student and teacher level. Most of the variance in need support was at the student level, but there was also between-teacher and between-class variance in need support. Engagement related to more need support, but only at the student level. In total, few moderation effects were found. Teachers with a relatively low controlled orientation were more need supportive when perceiving their students as emotionally and behaviorally engaged. By making teachers aware of these dynamics, automatic responses to student engagement can be better thought out. Recommendations for future research are discussed.

Lynn Van den Berghe, Isabel B. Tallir, Greet Cardon, and Leen Haerens are with the Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. Nathalie Aelterman is with the Department of Movement and Sports Sciences and with the Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

Address author correspondence to Lynn Van den Berghe at L.vandenberghe@ugent.be.
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