Adolescents’ Motivational Support in School: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective

Joëlle Gaudreau

Abstract


Presently, many issues question the capacity of Québec’s educational institutions to wholly fulfill their social mission. Those challenges include a relatively high school dropout rate, a low literacy level among the adult population, and a constant increase in the number of students with disabilities, social maladjustments or learning difficulties. Sustaining adolescents’ academic motivation is a concern relating to each of the mentioned issues affecting Québec’s high schools nowadays. This paper addresses the following question: how can school agents and educational policies best support the adolescents’ motivation in school? To answer this question, I use the theoretical framework of the self-determination theory (SDT), a macrotheory of the human motivation which stipulates that the respect of basic psychological needs (autonomy, competence and relatedness) nourish students’ intrinsic motivation, to analyze a research-based intervention program that aim to enhance students’ academic motivation, and Québec Education Program (QEP) recommendations on this point. The conclusions of this article invites scholars and governments to investigate educational models prioritizing the fulfillment of the youths’ basic psychological needs according to SDT.

Keywords


Academic Motivation, Education Policy, School Environments, Self-Determination Theory, Student Engagement

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Update April 2017