Developing and evaluating an online tailored tool to optimize the motivating style of physical education teachers.

01 February 2021 → 31 January 2025
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Other medical and health sciences not elsewhere classified
motivation Self-Determination Theory professional development for teachers physical education
Project description

Regular and sufficient exercise and physical activity has many physical and mental health benefits for youngsters. Still, the majority of youth is not adhering to the health-related physical activity guidelines. Physical education teachers and especially their motivating style plays a significant role in engaging youngsters in an active and healthy lifestyle in and outside school. Therefore, the aim of this project is to develop and evaluate an online tool to optimize the motivating style of physical education teachers.

With this project, we aim to train physical education teachers to adapt a motivating style based on the principles of the Self-Determination Theory (SDT), i.e. supporting students’ basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness. The use of an online tool providing tailored advice on the teachers’ motivating style, in combination with the ability to upload videos of their lessons to code and self-evaluate their teaching practices might be effective in adopting a motivating style. In this project, we will develop (Phase I) and evaluate (Phase II) such a tool.

During the development (Phase I), we will conduct a cross-sectional study (Study 1) and use a participative study design (Study 2) among physical education teachers in secondary schools. In Study 1 we will investigate which antecedents are associated with a certain teaching style in order to maximally focus on these determinants in the tool. To do this, the Situation-in-School questionnaire (self-reported measure) and observations of videos of lessons (objective measure) will be used to assess the motivating style of teachers. In addition, questionnaires will be used to assess the antecedents (including ability beliefs, motivation to teach) of the motivating style. The aim of Study 2 is to examine the needs of teachers in relation to the use of an online tool. As such, interviews, focus groups and questionnaires will be used to assess the perception of the tool in terms of innovation, user-friendliness, and feasibility.

To evaluate the tool (Phase II), we will conduct a randomized-controlled-trial to examine the effect on teacher-related outcomes (Study 3a: motivating style and other variables including beliefs, motivation, job satisfaction, stress, burn-out) and student-related outcomes (Study 3b: needs satisfaction, motivation and physical activity levels). The instruments will include questionnaires (both among teachers and students), observations of videos of lessons (teaching style of teachers) and accelerometers (physical activity of students).

This research project will significantly address the current methodological limitations of previous research, as existing SDT-based research on the motivating style of teachers is mainly questionnaire-based and cross-sectional. In addition, this project is innovative as previous interventions only focussed on autonomy-supportive teaching, while the need for competence and relatedness were not taking into consideration. Further, instead of offering traditional workshop-like trainings, we will examine the impact of online tailored advice. Finally, the results of this project will make a significant contribution to the educational practice and be of particular interest for professional development programs for teachers and teacher education students.