By Clare Roden
Professional Learning Officer

Where do your students sit on the motivation continuum when it comes to physical activity and education?

As PDHPE teachers, it is vital to reflect on our role in motivating all students to engage in physical activity and live physically active lives outside of school. The recent 2022 Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance Australian Report Card affirms this.

In a previous blog, we explored Self Determination Theory (SDT) and the importance of understanding how to satisfy students’ basic psychological needs and support intrinsic motivation,  in order to reduce amotivated students in your classroom.

Looking at physical education lessons through a SDT lens allows us to examine the multiple reasons students choose to participate in physical activity or not. Understanding what motivates students to participate in lessons requires consideration of whether the social environment supports or thwarts the satisfaction of the innate psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness (Deci & Ryan, 2000). 

Recognising how the satisfaction, or frustration, of basic psychological needs impacts motivation, helps us plan toward having all students internally motivated to engage in physical education.  

Source: Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000)

Think about where you would place your students on this continuum. Ask yourself what are you doing to support or thwart their basic psychological needs?   

In reflecting on your students/school context, you may notice many students in the amotivated to extrinsic identification regulation categories. To better understand what the current evidence-based research is saying in relation to motivating students to move along this continuum and become intrinsically motivated to engage in physical activity, join us at the next PDHPE Masterclass:

Helping low motivated students 
26th May 3.45-5.15pm, live online
with Dr Dana Perlman from the University of Wollongong who has co-authored over 70 research articles using SDT including research in a Physical Education setting. 

ACHPER NSW also offers a variety of workshops that provide a range of practical strategies to engage and motivate ALL students to your Physical Education lessons.

Reference List 

Active Healthy Kids Australia (2022). Reboot! Reimagining Physically Active Lives: 2022 Australian Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Young People. Melbourne, Victoria: Active Healthy Kids Australia  

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. 

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions  and New Directions. Contemporary educational psychology, 25(1), 54-67. 

Scroll to Top