British Journal of Educational Psychology

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Volume 79 Issue 4 (December 2009), Pages 599-782

Regulatory mode preferences for autonomy supporting versus controlling instructional styles (pages 599-615)

Background Three studies carried out in educational settings examined determinants of teacher's instructional styles and students' degree of satisfaction with the learning climates created by such styles.

Aims Based upon regulatory mode theory, Studies 1 and 2 tested the hypotheses that teachers' locomotion orientation will be positively related, and their assessment orientation will be negatively related, to autonomy supportive (vs. controlling) instructional styles. Study 3 tested the hypothesis that students' regulatory mode will exhibit a fit effect with the prevalent learning climate in their school.

Samples Participants for Study 1 were 378 teachers (278 females); for Study 2 were 96 teachers (65 females); and for Study 3 were 190 students (all males).

Method Participants completed questionnaires that included measures of teaching styles (Studies 1 and 2), perceived learning climate and satisfaction (Study 3), and regulatory mode orientations (Studies 1 and 3). In Study 2 regulatory mode orientations were experimentally induced.

Results Results confirmed that teachers' autonomy supportive versus controlling styles were positively related to their locomotion orientations and negatively related to their assessment orientation, and that students with a stronger locomotion (vs. assessment) orientation reported a higher level of satisfaction when the learning climate was perceived as autonomy supportive (vs. controlling).

Conclusions The present studies show that teachers' preference for adopting an instructional style is influenced by their regulatory mode orientations, and that the effects of a learning climate on students' satisfaction are contingent on a fit between type of learning climate and students' regulatory mode orientations.

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