Influence of autonomy-supporting teaching strategies on intrinsic motivation in relation to pro-social behaviors in a Montessori primary classroom
When students behave pro-socially for extrinsic reasons, the results tend to be short-term and likely in need of constant reinforcement. However, teachers struggle with developing practical alternative strategies to effectively intrinsically motivate students. In this study, autonomy-supporting interventions such as acknowledging feelings, giving intrinsic rationales, using a peace table, conducting class meetings, and practicing teacher mindulness were implemented in a Montessori primary classroom to observe how they can promote intrinsically motivated pro-social behaviors. Measures were taken before and after interventions in order to detect changes in interest, independence, and intrinsic motivation with these behaviors: rug/art mat use, clean up, self-control, and problem solving. These changes were analyzed using parent and teacher surveys, child interviews, observational checklists, a teacher journal, and observations. The results showed general increases in interest and independence, however not all were significant. Self-control and intrinsic motivation had the most significant improvements. The results suggest that the interventions could potentially provide teachers with ways to intrinsically motivate behaviors. It is concluded that more time, experience, strategies, and teacher internalization may be needed.